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Title: A History of the British Army Vol. 2 (of 2)
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. 2 (of 2)" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


  This book is Vol. ii. The first volume can be found in Project

  This volume covers the period from 1713 to 1763. The Julian calendar
  was still in use in England for much of this time. The change to the
  Gregorian calendar took place in Europe beginning in 1582, but in
  Britain not until 1752, producing a difference of eleven days between
  the Julian Old Style (OS) and the modern Gregorian New Style (NS)
  dates. Many Sidenotes and some Footnotes for the years before 1753
  give both dates since contemporary English reference documents of
  that period used the OS date.

  The OS/NS dates are shown for example as [Sidenote: Sept. 20/Oct. 1.]
  or [Sidenote: Mar. 2/13.].

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  A superscript is denoted by ^{xx}, for example 30^{th} or 2^{nd}.

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

  The Index in this book covers both volumes. References in the Index to
  Vol. i or Vol. ii pages are indicated for example by "i. 123, 456" or
  "ii. 234".

  Some minor changes to this volume are noted at the end of the book.


[Illustration: (Publisher's colophon)]

  A History of

  The British Army





  _Quæ caret ora cruore nostro_





  _All rights reserved_




  The Reduction of the Army                                        3

  Mischievous influence of Bolingbroke and Ormonde                 3

  Death of Queen Anne; Return of Marlborough                       4

  King George I.; the New Ministry                                 4

  The Jacobite Rebellion of 1715                                   5

  Increase of the Army; Ninth to Fourteenth Dragoons raised        6

  Chelsea Pensioners recalled; Forty-first Foot raised             6

  Sheriffmuir and Preston                                          7

  Reduction of the Army, 1717-1718                                 8

  War with Spain                                                   8

  Invasion of Scotland; Action of Glenshiel                        9

  Attack on Vigo                                                  10

  Death of Marlborough                                            10

  His Funeral                                                     11

  The Condition of England under George I.                        14

  The Army the only force for Maintenance of Order                15

  The cry of No Standing Army                                     15

  The British Establishment Fixed by Walpole                      17

  Attacks on the Army in Parliament                               17

  Opposition to the Mutiny Act                                    18

  Parliament asks for the Articles of War                         19

  Officers cashiered for Political Disobligations                 20

  Omnipotence of the irresponsible Secretary-at-War               21

  Hostility of Civilians against Soldiers                         24

  Discipline ruined by the Secretary-at-War's Supremacy           26


  King George's efforts to arrest Indiscipline and Peculation     29

  His dislike of Purchase                                         30

  General Apathy of Officers                                      31

  Bad Standard of Character among Recruits                        32

  Desertion and Fraudulent Enlistment                             32

  Other Scandals                                                  34

  System of Imperial Defence                                      36

  The Colonies; "White Servants"                                  37

  Gradual necessity for Increasing the Regular Garrisons in
    the Colonies                                                  42

  Helplessness of the War Office in face of the problem           42

  Unpopularity of Garrison Service Abroad                         45

  Technical Improvements in the Army                              48

  Royal Regiment of Artillery formed                              49

  Rise of the Forty-second Highlanders                            49

  Contemporary Reforms in Prussia                                 51

  Their Evil Influence in England                                 51

  The Officers of the Past and of the Future                      53


  Waning of Walpole's Popularity                                  55

  The Quarrel with Spain                                          55

  Popularity of a Spanish War                                     57

  An Expedition to the Spanish Main resolved on                   58

  The Preparations; Cathcart and Wentworth                        59

  Incredible Mismanagement of the War Office                      60

  Death of Cathcart                                               62

  The British and American Contingents meet at Jamaica            62

  Decision to Attack Carthagena                                   63

  The Operations begun; Vernon and Wentworth                      64

  The Attack on Fort St. Lazar                                    68

  Frightful Condition of the Troops                               72

  The Enterprise against Carthagena abandoned                     73

  Descent upon Cuba                                               74

  The Descent abandoned; continued Mortality among the Troops     75

  The Spanish War ended by Yellow Fever                           76

  Anson's Voyage                                                  77

  Wentworth's responsibility for the disasters of Carthagena      77

  The blame due also to the War Office and Ordnance Office        78

  Faction in Parliament the true secret of the catastrophe        79


  Dispute over the Austrian Succession                            80

  Aggression of Frederick the Great                               81

  Ambitious Projects of France                                    81

  England sends aid to Queen Maria Theresa                        81

  Army increased; Forty-third to Forty-eighth Regiments raised      82

  John, Earl of Stair                                             83

  His Advice and his Plans                                        84

  The Campaign of 1742                                            86

  Stair's Plans for the winter rejected                           87

  The British Army marches to the Main                            88

  Fresh Projects of Stair rejected                                89

  He forms new Plans                                              90

  He disobeys Orders to prove their soundness                     91

  Desperate Peril of the Allies owing to disregard of his
    counsel                                                       92

  Battle of Dettingen                                             92

  Stair resigns the Command                                      102


  Insufficiency of the British Preparations for 1744             103

  Saxe's Operations                                              104

  Wade paralysed by the Dutch and Austrians                      105

  Stair's Plan of Campaign                                       106

  Inactivity of Dutch and Austrians; Wade Resigns                107

  Ligonier's proposals for a great effort in 1745                108

  Cumberland appointed to the Command                            109

  The French Position at Fontenoy                                110

  Battle of Fontenoy                                             111

  Cumberland's False Movements after Fontenoy                    121

  Extreme Peril of his situation                                 122

  Recall of the Army to England                                  123


  Designs of Charles Stuart                                      124

  His Landing in Scotland                                        125

  General Cope marches northward                                 126

  He Retires by Sea; Advance of the Rebels                       127

  The "Canter of Coltbrigg"                                      128

  Cope Lands at Dunbar; Action of Prestonpans                    129

  Charles enters Edinburgh; the Castle holds out                 131

  Preparations in England                                        132

  Charles invades England                                        133

  He out-manœuvres Cumberland and enters Derby                   136

  He retreats northward and besieges Stirling                    137

  Hawley appointed to Command in Scotland                        138

  Action of Falkirk                                              139

  Cumberland assumes Command in Scotland                         141

  He advances northward; Charles retreats                        142

  Battle of Culloden                                             144

  Good service rendered by Cumberland                            146


  French Capture Antwerp; British base shifted                   149

  Saxe's Plan of Campaign and Operations                         150

  Battle of Roucoux                                              153

  Futile Expedition to L'Orient                                  156

  The Campaign of 1747                                           156

  Battle of Lauffeld                                             159

  Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle                                       164



  The Mohammedan Conquest of India                               167

  The Mahrattas                                                  168

  European Voyages to India                                      168

  The English East India Company                                 169

  First British Troops sent to India                             171

  The first Military Establishment in Bombay                     171

  The French East India Company                                  172

  Settlements of the Rival Companies in 1701                     173

  Skill of the French in handling natives                        174

  Death of Aurungzebe; virtual Independence of the Deccan        175

  Joseph François Dupleix                                        175

  La Bourdonnais; Dumas                                          176

  Native Disputes in the Carnatic                                176

  Dumas raised to rank of Nabob                                  178

  War between France and England declared                        179

  Siege and Capture of Madras                                    180

  Quarrel of Dupleix and La Bourdonnais                          181

  Paradis at St. Thomé                                           183

  French invest Fort St. David                                   185

  Stringer Lawrence at Cuddalore                                 187

  Boscawen arrives and besieges Pondicherry                      188

  Misconduct of the Siege                                        189

  The Siege raised; Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle                     190


  British Interference at Tanjore                                192

  Dupleix's Schemes for French Predominance in the Deccan        193

  Bussy installed at Aurungabad                                  197

  Zenith of French Rule in India                                 197

  The British resolve to Oppose the French                       198

  The Contest centres about Trichinopoly                         198

  The British shut up in Trichinopoly                            199

  Clive proposes a diversion against Arcot                       200

  His Operations                                                 200

  Action of Covrepauk                                            204

  Lawrence Marches to relieve Trichinopoly                       209

  The French retire to Seringham                                 210

  Surprise of Clive's Force at Samiaveram                        211

  Surrender of the French Force                                  214


  Intrigues of Dupleix; British Successes Neutralised            215

  Defeat of Major Kinnear                                        216

  Lawrence's Victory at Bahoor                                   217

  Clive at Chingleput and Covelong                               218

  Contest for Trichinopoly renewed                               221

  Perilous Situation of the British                              223

  Lawrence's First Victory before Trichinopoly                   224

  His Second Victory                                             226

  His Third Victory                                              230

  Dupleix's attempt to surprise Trichinopoly fails               233

  His Proposals for Peace rejected                               233

  Lawrence's situation at Trichinopoly still critical            234

  Suspension of Arms; Recall of Dupleix                          236



  French Explorers in North America                              241

  The English Settlements                                        243

  Predominance of Massachusetts in the North                     244

  New York Captured by the British                               245

  French Explorations in the West                                246

  Their Design to confine the British to a strip of the
    Sea-board                                                    246

  Governor Dongan; the Iroquois                                  248

  French and English Settlers and Military Systems               249

  English Regular Troops in America                              251

  The War of 1689; Peril of New York                             251

  Failure of the Colonial Counterstroke on Canada                252

  Massachusetts appeals to England for help                      252

  War of the Spanish Succession; Colonial Operations             254

  Capture of Nova Scotia; British failure before Quebec          255

  The Building of Louisburg                                      256

  French Forts at Crown Point and Niagara                        257

  Colonial Apathy                                                257

  War of the Austrian Succession; Colonists Capture Louisburg    257

  Projected Operations for 1746                                  259

  Neglect of America by Newcastle's Government                   260


  Reduction of the Army at Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle              261

  Foundation of Halifax                                          262

  British and French on the Ohio                                 263

  Obstinacy of the Virginian Assembly                            264

  Washington's Mission; Apathy of the Colonies                   265

  Washington's First Skirmish with the French                    266

  Continued Apathy of the Colonies                               267

  General Braddock sent from England                             268

  His difficulties and their Causes                              270

  Boscawen's Action with French Ships; War inevitable            272

  Braddock's March to the Monongahela                            273

  Dispositions of the French                                     274

  Action of the Monongahela                                      275

  Braddock and the School of Cumberland                          278


  Monckton's Capture of Fort Beauséjour                          282

  Johnson's Advance against Crown Point                          283

  Shirley's failure against Niagara                              284

  Close of the Campaign                                          285

  Feebleness of the English Administration                       286

  New Treaties and New Ministers                                 287

  Fiftieth to Fifty-ninth Regiments raised                       288

  The Sixtieth Regiment                                          289

  Ill faith of the Government towards Soldiers                   290

  Germans imported to defend Britain                             290

  The French besiege Minorca                                     291

  Fall of Minorca                                                294

  Rage of the Nation; Byng; Newcastle                            295

  Lord Loudoun sent to Command in America                        296

  Inadequacy of his Force                                        296

  Montcalm Captures Oswego                                       297

  Close of American Campaign of 1756                             298

  Outbreak of the Seven Years' War                               298

  Pitt made Secretary-of-State                                   299

  His Measures; Highland Regiments                               300

  The Militia Bill                                               301

  Cumberland sent to Command in Hanover                          303

  Dismissal of Pitt                                              303

  Restoration of Pitt                                            304

  Loudoun's Campaign of 1757                                     304

  Montcalm Captures Fort William Henry                           305

  Defeat of Cumberland at Hastenbeck                             307

  The Expedition against Rochefort                               307



  Ligonier made Commander-in-Chief                               313

  Preparations for 1758; Amherst                                 314

  The Plan of Campaign for America                               315

  The Expedition against Louisburg                               316

  The Siege opened                                               319

  Fall of Louisburg                                              321

  The Operations of General Abercromby                           322

  Lord Howe; New Views as to Equipment of Troops                 323

  Embarkation of Abercromby's Army                               324

  The Skirmish by Lake Champlain; Death of Howe                  326

  Montcalm's Plan of Defence                                     327

  Action of Ticonderoga                                          328

  Retreat of Abercromby                                          331

  Bradstreet's Capture of Fort Frontenac                         332

  Forbes's Operations on the Ohio                                333

  Defeat of Major Grant                                          335

  French evacuate Fort Duquêsne                                  336

  Burial of Braddock's dead                                      337


  The Allied Army in Germany                                     339

  Ferdinand of Brunswick                                         339

  Expedition to Cancalle Bay                                     340

  British Troops sent to Germany                                 341

  Expedition against Cherbourg                                   342

  The Reverse of St. Cast                                        344

  Observations on Raids on the French Coasts                     345

  The Expedition to Senegal                                      346

  The Expedition to Martinique                                   347

  The Army leaves Martinique for Guadeloupe                      349

  Sickness among the Troops                                      350

  Death of General Hopson                                        351

  Barrington resolves on Active Operations                       351

  His Plan of Campaign                                           352

  Successes of Crump and Clavering                               353

  Surrender of Guadeloupe                                        356


  Establishment of the Army for 1759                             358

  Pitt's Designs against America; Wolfe                          359

  Strength of Wolfe's Army                                       361

  The Defences of Quebec                                         362

  The British arrive before the City                             363

  Wolfe's Difficulties                                           364

  His Abortive Attack                                            366

  He shifts Operations to west of the City                       368

  Amherst's Designs against Canada                               368

  Prideaux and Johnson at Niagara                                369

  Fall of Niagara                                                370

  Amherst's Advance to Ticonderoga and Crown Point               371

  His Operations closed                                          371

  Discouragement of the British before Quebec                    372

  Wolfe's Brigadiers suggest New Plans                           373

  The Operations undertaken in consequence                       373

  The British climb to the Heights of Abraham                    375

  Wolfe's Order of Battle                                        377

  Distraction of Montcalm                                        378

  His Order of Battle                                            379

  Battle of Quebec                                               380

  Death of Wolfe                                                 383

  Energetic Operations of Townsend                               383

  Capitulation of Quebec                                         384

  General Survey of the Operations in Canada                     385


  Sufferings of the British in Quebec                            389

  French Preparations for Recapture of Quebec                    390

  Advance of Lévis                                               391

  Action of Sainte Foy                                           392

  The Siege of Quebec                                            394

  Relief of Quebec                                               395

  Amherst's Designs on Canada                                    395

  Advance of Murray and Haviland                                 397

  Advance of Amherst                                             398

  Surrender of Montreal                                          400

  Expedition against the Cherokee Indians                        400

  Occupation of Canada                                           401

  Amherst                                                        402


  India: Hollowness of the Truce of 1755                         406

  It is infringed by both sides                                  407

  Bussy                                                          408

  Surajah Dowlah                                                 409

  His Advance against Calcutta; the Black Hole                   410

  Madras sends aid to Bengal                                     411

  Clive surprised at Budge Budge                                 412

  Surajah Dowlah again Advances on Calcutta                      413

  Clive surprises his Camp                                       414

  Alliance of Surajah Dowlah and the British                     415

  Capture of Chandernagore                                       415

  Conspiracy against Surajah Dowlah                              415

  Clive Advances on Moorshedabad                                 416

  Anxiety of his position; he Advances to Plassey                417

  Battle of Plassey                                              418

  Death of Surajah Dowlah; Meer Jaffier installed in his place   424


  Southern India                                                 426

  Arrival of French Reinforcements under Lally                   428

  Admiral Pocock's First Action with d'Aché                      429

  Lally besieges Fort St. David                                  430

  Fall of Fort St. David; Capture of Devicotah                   431

  Lally's disastrous March to Tanjore                            432

  Pocock's Second Action against d'Aché                          434

  Lally's Preparations against Madras                            435

  Counter-preparations of the British                            435

  Bussy recalled from Hyderabad                                  436

  Lally Advances upon Madras                                     437

  Abortive Sortie of the British                                 438

  Lally's difficulties during the Siege                          439

  The Siege raised                                               440

  Clive's counter-stroke against the Northern Sirkars            441

  Forde's Advance against Conflans                               442

  Battle of Condore                                              442

  Forde delayed in his Advance on Masulipatam                    445

  He lays Siege to the Fort                                      447

  His desperate Position                                         447

  Storm of Masulipatam                                           449

  The Fruits of the Victory                                      453


  British Operations in the Carnatic                             454

  Lally's difficulties with his Troops                           455

  Alarm of Dutch Aggression in Bengal                            456

  Third Engagement of Pocock and d'Aché                          457

  Defeat of Brereton at Wandewash                                457

  Lally turns to the Court of the Deccan                         457

  His diversion in the South; British Operations in the
    Carnatic                                                     458

  The Dutch in Bengal                                            459

  Forde defeats them at Chandernagore                            460

  Battle of Badara                                               461

  Lally Advances upon Wandewash                                  462

  Coote follows him; the French position                         463

  Coote's Manœuvres                                              463

  Battle of Wandewash                                            464

  Coote's Movements after the Victory                            470

  Siege of Pondicherry                                           472

  Fall of Pondicherry                                            473


  The Establishment of the Army for 1759                         475

  Fifteenth Hussars raised                                       476

  Purport of Ferdinand's Operations in Germany                   477

  He opens the Campaign of 1759                                  480

  Movements of Contades and Broglie                              481

  Critical position of Ferdinand                                 482

  Continued success of the French                                483

  Ferdinand Occupies Bremen; Contades's position at Minden       484

  Ferdinand's Manœuvres before Minden                            485

  Their success; Battle of Minden                                487

  Sackville                                                      496

  Recovery of Cassel and Minden                                  497

  Subsequent Operations                                          497

  Close of the Campaign                                          498


  Increase of the Army for 1760                                  499

  Sixteenth and Seventeenth Lancers raised                       500

  Thurot's Descent on Carrickfergus                              501

  Reinforcements for Ferdinand                                   501

  Opening of the Campaign                                        502

  Imhoff's Disobedience mars Ferdinand's Plans                   502

  Defeat of the Hereditary Prince at Sachsenhausen               503

  The Prince's Counter-stroke; Action of Emsdorff                504

  Broglie sends De Muy to cut off Ferdinand from Westphalia      507

  Action of Warburg; Defeat of De Muy                            508

  Evacuation of Cassel by the Allies                             512

  Embarrassing position of Ferdinand                             513

  Ferdinand makes a Diversion against Wesel                      514

  Action of Kloster Kampen; Defeat of the Allies                 515

  The Hereditary Prince and British Troops                       518

  Close of the Campaign                                          519


  Accession of King George III                                   520

  Increase of the Army                                           521

  The Expedition to Belleisle                                    521

  The War in Germany                                             522

  Ferdinand's Fruitless Winter March through Hesse               523

  Great Preparations and Designs of the French                   524

  Supineness of Soubise                                          525

  The Campaign opens; Ferdinand's March round Soubise's rear     526

  Ferdinand's Position at Vellinghausen                          527

  Action of Vellinghausen                                        528

  Ferdinand's skilful Manœuvres from July to November            531

  Close of the Campaign                                          533


  Rise of Lord Bute to power                                     535

  Trouble with Spain; Pitt advocates War                         536

  Resignation of Pitt; Bute compelled to Declare War             536

  The Expedition against Martinique                              537

  Fall of Martinique, Grenada, St. Vincent and St. Lucia         541

  Expedition to Havanna                                          541

  Mortality among the Troops                                     543

  Expedition to Manilla                                          544

  The War in Portugal                                            545

  Burgoyne and the Sixteenth Light Dragoons                      546

  Ferdinand's Last Campaign                                      547

  The Position of Wilhelmsthal                                   548

  Action of Wilhelmsthal                                         549

  The Race for Cassel                                            553

  Position of the opposing Armies in the Ohm                     554

  Action of the Brückemühle                                      555

  Fall of Cassel; Conclusion of the War                          557

  Ferdinand of Brunswick                                         557

  His Difficulties with the British Troops                       558


  Decay of the Army's Unpopularity                               562

  Inefficiency of the War Office and Ordnance Office             563

  Defects in the Colonial Stations                               564

  Reformers in the Army; Cumberland                              566

  Pitt; the New School of Officer                                568

  The Recruiting of the Army                                     572

  Depots and Drafts                                              576

  Recruiting in America                                          578

  Condition of the Private Soldier                               579

  Nicknames; Bands; Medals                                       583

  Reforms in the Cavalry; Increase of Dragoons                   584

  Light Dragoons                                                 585

  Reforms in the Artillery                                       587

  Reforms in the Infantry                                        589

  German Models and British Experience                           592

  APPENDIX A.                                                    595

  APPENDIX B.                                                    598

  INDEX                                                          607


  Carthagena, 1741                                _To face page_  78

  Main Country: Campaign of 1743                         "       122

  Dettingen, 1743                                        "       122

  Fontenoy, 1745                                         "       122

  Roucoux, 1746                                          "       164

  Lauffeld, 1747                                         "       164

  Monongahela, 1755                                      "       338

  Region of Lake George, 1755                            "       338

  Ticonderoga                                            "       338

  Amherst's Flotilla, 1759                               "       338

  Covrepauk, 1752                                        "       474

  Trichinopoly                                           "       474

  Plassey, 1757                                          "       474

  Masulipatam, 1759                                      "       474

  Wandewash, 1760                                        "       474

  Minden, 1759                                           "       494

  Martinique, 1762                                       "       544

  Guadeloupe, 1759                                       "       544

  Belleisle, 1761                                        "       544

  Havanna, 1762                                          "       544

  Part of Hesse-Cassel                                   "       560

  Warburg, 1760                                          "       560

  Vellinghausen, 1761                                    "       560

  Wilhelmsthal, 1762                                     "       560

  Canada and the North American Colonies, 1680-1760
      (with Plans of Louisburg and Quebec): Map 1    _End of volume_

  Louisburg: _see_ Map 1

  Quebec: _see_ Map 1

  Siege of Quebec, 1759: _see_ Map 1

  Hindostan, the Deccan, and the Carnatic
      (with Plans of Calcutta and Madras): Map 2     _End of volume_

  Calcutta, 1757: _see_ Map 2

  Madras, 1758: _see_ Map 2

  Note.--Maps of the British Isles and Northern France for
  1745-1746; of the Low Countries for the Campaigns of 1743-1748;
  of Spain and Portugal; and of Germany for the Campaigns of
  1759-1762, will be found at the end of the First Volume.


    Page 160, line 4 _for_ "left" _read_ "right."
    Page 192, line 13, _delete_ the words "the capital of Tanjore."
    Page 195, line 10, _for_ "Deccan" _read_ "Southern India."
    Page 203, line 13, _for_ "southward" _read_ "westward."
    Page 247, line 29, _for_ "Erie" _read_ "Michigan."
    Page 463, line 34, _for_ "In advance of their left front was another
  smaller tank which had been turned into an entrenchment," etc.,
  _read_ "In advance of their left front were two smaller tanks, of
  which the foremost had been turned into an entrenchment," etc.



[Sidenote: 1713.]

[Sidenote: 1714.]

The work of disbanding the Army began some months before the final
conclusion of the Peace of Utrecht. By Christmas 1712 thirteen
regiments of dragoons, twenty-two of foot, and several companies of
invalids who had been called up to do duty owing to the depletion
of the regular garrisons, had been actually broken. The Treaty
was no sooner signed than several more were disbanded, making
thirty-three thousand men discharged in all. More could not be
reduced until the eight thousand men who were left in garrison in
Flanders could be withdrawn, but even so the total force on the
British Establishment, including all colonial garrisons, had sunk
in 1714 to less than thirty thousand men. The soldiers received
as usual a small bounty on discharge; and great inducements were
offered to persuade them to take service in the colonies, or, in
other words, to go into perpetual exile.

But this disbandment was by no means so commonplace and artless an
affair as might at first sight appear. One of the first measures
taken in hand by Bolingbroke and by his creature Ormonde was
the remodelling of the Army, by which term was signified the
elimination of officers and of whole corps that favoured the
Protestant succession, to make way for those attached to the
Jacobite interest. Prompted by such motives, and wholly careless
of the feelings of the troops, they violated the old rule that the
youngest regiments should always be the first to be disbanded,
and laid violent hands on several veteran corps. The Seventh and
Eighth Dragoons, the Thirty-fourth, Thirty-third, Thirty-second,
Thirtieth, Twenty-ninth, Twenty-eighth, Twenty-second, and
Fourteenth Foot were ruthlessly sacrificed; nay, even the Sixth,
one of the sacred six old regiments, and distinguished above all
others in the Spanish War, was handed over for dissolution like
a regiment of yesterday.[1] There were bitter words and stormy
scenes among regimental officers over such shameless, unjust, and
insulting procedure.

[Sidenote: Aug. 1/12.]

All these designs, however, were suddenly shattered by the death
of Queen Anne. The accession of the Elector of Hanover to the
throne was accomplished with a tranquillity which must have amazed
even those who desired it most. Before the new King could arrive
the country was gladdened by the return of the greatest of living
Englishmen. Landing at Dover on the very day of the Queen's death,
Marlborough was received with salutes of artillery and shouts of
delight from a joyful crowd. Proceeding towards London next day he
was met by the news that his name was excluded from the list of
Lords-Justices to whom the government of the country was committed
pending the King's arrival. Deeply chagrined, but preserving always
his invincible serenity, he pushed on to the capital, intending
to enter it with the same privacy that he had courted during his
banishment in the Low Countries. But the people had decided that
his entry must be one of triumph; and a tumultuous welcome from all
classes showed that the country could and would make amends for the
shameful treatment meted out to him two years before.

On the 18th of September King George landed at Greenwich, and
shortly afterwards the new ministry was nominated. Stanhope,
the brilliant soldier of the Peninsular War, became second
Secretary-of-State; William Pulteney, afterwards Earl of Bath,
Secretary-at-War; Robert Walpole, Paymaster of the Forces; while
Marlborough with some reluctance resumed his old appointments of
Captain-General, Master-General of the Ordnance, and Colonel of
the First Guards. He soon found, however, that though he held the
titles, he did not hold the authority of the offices, and that the
true control of the Army was transferred to the Secretary-at-War.

[Sidenote: 1715.]

[Sidenote: May 24.]

How weak that Army had become was presently realised at the
outbreak of the Jacobite rebellion in the autumn of 1715. The
estimates of 1714 had provided for a British establishment of
twenty-two thousand men, of which two-thirds were stationed in
Flanders and in colonial garrisons, leaving a dangerously small
force for the defence of the kingdom. Even this poor remnant the
Jacobite Lords had tried to weaken, by introducing a clause in the
Mutiny Act to confine all regiments to the particular districts
allotted to them in the British Isles. This insidious move, which
was designed to prevent the transfer of troops between Ireland and
England, was checked by the authority of Marlborough himself. The
King, it seems, had early perceived the perils of such a situation;
and accordingly, in January, the Seventh Dragoons were recreated
and restored under their old officers, together with four more of
the old regiments.[2] In July the prospect of a rising in Scotland
made further increase imperative, and orders were issued for the
raising of thirteen regiments of dragoons and eight of foot, some
few of which must for a brief moment detain us.

The first of the new regiments of dragoons was Pepper's, the
present Eighth Hussars, which for a time had shared the hard fate
of the Seventh, and was now, like the Seventh, restored to life.
The next six, Wynn's, Gore's, Honeywood's, Bowles's, Munden's, and
Dormer's, are now known respectively as the Ninth Lancers, the
Tenth and Eleventh Hussars, the Twelfth Lancers, and the Thirteenth
and Fourteenth Hussars, regiments which have made their mark on
many a field in the Peninsula and in India, while two of them bear
on their appointments the name of Balaclava. The remaining six were
disbanded in 1718.[3] Of the foot six regiments also perished after
a short life in 1718;[4] the remaining two were old regiments, the
Twenty-second and the Thirty-fourth, each of which was destined in
due time to add to its colours the name of a victory peculiar to

It may be asked whether no use was made of the hundreds of veterans
who had returned from the wars of Flanders. The answer gives us
a curious insight into the old conception of a reserve. On the
first alarm of a rising, the whole of the officers on half-pay
were called upon to hold themselves ready for service;[5] and
concurrently twenty-five companies of Chelsea pensioners were
formed to take over the duties of the garrisons and to release the
regular troops for work in the field. For many years after as well
as before this date the same system is found in force; and of this,
as of so many obsolete institutions, there is fortunately a living
relic still with us. In March 1719 ten of these veteran companies
were incorporated into a regiment under Colonel Fielding, and
having begun life with the name of Fielding's Invalids, survive to
this day as the Forty-first Foot.[6]

I shall not detain the reader with any detailed account of
the abortive insurrection of 1715. The operations entailed by
an invasion of England from the north are always the same. The
occupation of Stirling cuts off the Highlands from the Lowlands,
and bars any advance from the extreme north. An invasion from the
Lowlands may be checked on either flank of the Cheviots, on the
east coast at the lines of the Tweed or the Tyne, or, if headed
back from thence, on the west coast at the line of the Ribble.
If both Highlands and Lowlands are in revolt, there is the third
resource of a simultaneous attack from north and south upon
Stirling. This last course lay open to the insurgents on this
occasion but was not accepted. The two decisive engagements were
accordingly fought, one at Sheriffmuir, a little to the north of
Stirling, the other at Preston, whither the insurgents of the
Lowlands, checked by an insignificant force on the east coast, made
a hopeless and futile march to the west, and were enveloped by
English forces marching simultaneously from east, west, and south.
None the less the peril to England was great. The force at Stirling
was far too weak for the duty assigned to it; and Sheriffmuir was
one of those doubtful actions from which each army emerges with one
wing defeated and the other victorious. The English force on the
Tweed was made up of raw recruits, and was so weak in numbers that
General Carpenter, a veteran of Flanders and Spain, who commanded
it, accomplished his work chiefly by the bold face with which
he met a dangerous position. Such was the military impotence of
England after a bare two years of peace.[7]

[Sidenote: 1716.]

[Sidenote: 1717.]

The panic caused by the insurrection swelled the military estimates
of 1716 very considerably. Apart from the new regiments raised for
the occasion, the strength of every existing troop and company had
been augmented, while the addition of a battalion to each regiment
of Guards increased the brigade to the total of seven battalions,
which constituted its strength unaltered almost for the next two
centuries. The full establishment voted by Parliament for Great
Britain was thirty-six thousand men, exclusive of course of troops
in Ireland, and of six thousand Dutchmen, who had been sent over
by the States-General in fulfilment of obligations by treaty.
The very next year, however, saw the establishment diminished by
one-fourth, and in May the King announced that he had given orders
to reduce the army by ten thousand men more. The estimates for 1718
accordingly provided for but sixteen thousand men in Great Britain,
while those for 1719 diminished even that handful by one-fourth,
and brought the total down to the figure of twelve thousand men.

[Sidenote: 1718.]

[Sidenote: 1719.]

Then as usual the numbers were found to be dangerously weak. A
quarrel between Spain and the Empire, and the ambitious designs of
Cardinal Alberoni brought about a breach between England and Spain,
which finally culminated in the attack and defeat of the Spanish
fleet by Admiral Byng off Cape Passaro. The action was fought
before war had actually been declared, and Byng affected to treat
it as an unfortunate accident; but Alberoni was too much incensed
at the subversion of his designs to heed such empty blandishment
as this. He prepared to avenge himself by making terms with the
Jacobites and by fitting out an expedition from Cadiz for the
support of the Pretender. The force was to be commanded by Ormonde,
the same poor, misguided man who had supplanted Marlborough in
Flanders; but the menace was formidable none the less. At the
meeting of Parliament the King gave warning that an invasion must
be looked for, and received powers to augment the Army to meet it.
Nevertheless, it was thought best once more to borrow six thousand
foreigners from the Dutch and Austrian Netherlands; and England's
contribution to her own defence consisted in no more than the
transfer of four weak battalions from the Irish to the British
establishment. The King's ministers took credit, when the danger
was over, for the moderation with which they had exercised the
powers entrusted to them, failing to see that resort to mercenary
troops at such a time was a policy wanting as much in true
statesmanship as in honour.

[Sidenote: April 16.]

[Sidenote: June 10.]

For the rest the peril vanished, as four generations earlier had
the peril of a still greater Spanish invasion, before wind and
tempest. The Spanish transports were dispersed by a gale in the Bay
of Biscay, and the great armament crept back by single ships to
Cadiz, crippled, shattered, barely saved by the sacrifice of guns,
horses and stores from the fury of the storm. Two frigates only
reached the British coast and landed three Scottish peers--Lords
Tullibardine, Marischal and Seaforth--with three hundred Spanish
soldiers, at Kintail in Ross-shire. Here the little party remained
unmolested for several weeks, being joined by some few hundred
restless Highland spirits, but supported by no general rising of
the clans. At length, however, General Carpenter detached General
Wightman with a thousand men from Inverness, who fell upon the
insurgents in the valley of Glenshiel and, though their force was
double that of his own, dispersed them utterly.[8] The campaign
ended, like all mountain-campaigns, in the burning of the houses
and villages of the offending clans; and thus ignominiously ended
this hopeless and futile insurrection. Its most remarkable result
was that it drove Lord Marischal and his brother into the Prussian
service, and gave to Frederick the Great one of his best officers
and most faithful friends--that James Keith who fell forty years
later on the field of Hochkirch.

[Sidenote: Sept. 21.]

Such aggression, failure though it was, naturally led the English
to make reprisals; and in September a British squadron sailed from
Spithead with four thousand troops on board for a descent on the
Spanish coast. The original object of the expedition had been an
attack on Corunna, but Lord Cobham,[9] who was in command, thought
the enterprise too hazardous, and turned his arms against Vigo. The
town being weakly held was at once surrendered, and the citadel
capitulated after a few days of siege. A considerable quantity of
arms and stores, which had been prepared for Ormonde's expedition,
was captured, and with this small advantage to his credit, Cobham
re-embarked his troops for England.[10] Shortly afterwards Alberoni
opened negotiations for peace, which he purchased at the cost of
his own dismissal. The treaty was signed on the 19th of January
1720, and England entered upon twenty years of unbroken peace.

[Sidenote: 1722.]

But before I touch upon the history of that peace I may be allowed
to advance two years to record an event which may fittingly close
the first thirty years of conflict with Jacobitism and its allies.
On the 16th of June 1722 died John, Duke of Marlborough. Constantly
during his later campaigns he had suffered from giddiness and
headache, and in May 1716 the shock caused by the death of his
daughter, Lady Sunderland, brought on him a paralytic stroke. He
rallied, but was struck down a second time in November of the same
year; and although, contrary to the received opinion, he again
rallied, preserving his speech, his memory, and his understanding
little impaired, yet it was evident that his life's work was done.
In the few years that remained to him he still attended the House
of Lords, spending the session of 1721 as usual in London, and
retiring at its close to Windsor Lodge. There at the beginning of
June in the following year he was smitten for the third time, and
after lingering several days, helpless but conscious, he at dawn of
the 16th passed peacefully away.

On the 14th of July the body was brought to Marlborough House.
In those days London was empty at that season, and only in Hyde
Park, where the whole of the household troops were encamped, was
there sign of unusual activity. Day after day the Foot Guards were
drilled in a new exercise to be used at the funeral; the weeks wore
on, the day of Blenheim came and went, and at length on the 9th of
August all was ready. From Marlborough House along the Mall and
Constitution Hill to Hyde Park Corner, from thence along Piccadilly
and St. James's Street to Charing Cross and the Abbey, the way was
lined with the scarlet coats of the Guards. The drums were draped
in black, the colours wreathed with cypress; every officer wore a
black scarf, and every soldier a bunch of cypress in his bosom. Far
away from down the river sounded minute after minute the dull boom
of the guns at the Tower.

The procession opened with the advance of military bands, followed
by a detachment of artillery. Then came Lord Cadogan, the devoted
Quartermaster-General who had prepared for the Duke so many of
his fields, and with him eight General Officers, veterans who had
fought under their great Chief on the Danube and in Flanders.
Among these was Munden, the hero who had led the forlorn hope at
Marlborough's first great action of the Schellenberg, and had
brought back with him but twenty out of eighty men. Then followed a
vast cavalcade of heralds, officers-at-arms and mourners, with all
the circumstance and ceremony of an age when pomp was lavished on
the least illustrious of the dead; and in the midst, encircled by
a forest of banners, rolled an open car, bearing the coffin.[11]
Upon the coffin lay a complete suit of gilt armour, above it was
a gorgeous canopy, around it military trophies, heraldic devices,
symbolic presentations of the victories that the dead man had won
and of the towns which he had captured, strange contrast to the
still white face, serene beyond even the invincible serenity of
life, that slept within.

As the car passed by there rang out to company after company of
the silent Guards a new word of command. "Reverse your arms."
"Rest on your arms reversed." The officers lowered their pikes,
the ensigns struck their colours, and every soldier turned the
muzzle of his musket to the ground and bent his head over the butt
"in a melancholy posture." The procession moved slowly on, and the
troops, still with arms reversed, formed up in its rear and marched
with it. Fifty-two years before, John Churchill, the unknown ensign
of the First Guards, had marched in procession behind the coffin of
George Monk, Duke of Albemarle; now he too was faring on to share
Monk's resting-place.

At the Horse Guards the Guards wheeled into St. James's Park and
formed up on the parade-ground, where the artillery with twenty
guns was already formed up before them. The car crept on to the
western door of the Abbey, and then rose up for the first time
that music which will ever be heard so long as England shall bury
her heroes with the rites of her national Church. Within the Abbey
the gray old walls were draped with black, and nave and choir
and transept were ablaze with tapers and flambeaux. Of England's
greatest all were there, the living and the dead. The helmet of
Harry the Fifth, still dinted with the blows of Agincourt, hung dim
above his tomb, looking down on the stolid German who now sat upon
King Harry's throne, and on his heir the Prince of Wales, who had
won his spurs at Oudenarde. And at the organ, humble and unnoticed,
sat William Croft, little dreaming that he too had done immortal
work, but content to listen to the beautiful music which he had
made, and to wait till the last sound of the voices should have
died away.[12]

Then the organ spoke under his hand in such sweet tones as are
heard only from the organs of that old time, and the procession
moved through nave and choir to King Henry the Seventh's chapel.
By a strange irony the resting-place chosen for the great Duke was
the vault of the family of Ormonde, but it was not unworthy, for it
had held the bones of Oliver Cromwell.[13] Then the voice of Bishop
Atterbury, Dean of Westminster, rose calm and clear with the words
of the service; and the anthem sang sadly, "Cry ye fir-trees, for
the cedar is fallen." The gorgeous coffin sank glittering into the
shadow of the grave, and Garter King-at-Arms, advancing, proclaimed
aloud, "Thus has it pleased Almighty God to take out of this
transitory world unto his mercy the most high, mighty and noble
prince, John, Duke of Marlborough." Then snapping his wand he flung
the fragments into the vault.

As he spoke three rockets soared aloft from the eastern roof of the
Abbey. A faint sound of distant drums broke the still hush within
the walls, and then came a roar which shook the sable hangings
and made the flame of the torches tremble again, as the guns on
the parade-ground thundered out their salvo of salute. Thrice the
salvo was repeated; the drums sounded faintly and ceased, and all
again was still. And then burst out a ringing crash of musketry
as the Guards, two thousand strong, discharged their answering
volley. Again the volley rang out, and yet again; and then the
drums sounded for the last time, and the great Duke was left to his

From such a scene I must turn to the further work that lies
before me in the events of the next twenty years; and it will be
convenient to deal first with the political aspect of the Army's
history. England, it must be observed, had not yet recovered from
the indiscipline and unrest of the Great Rebellion. Since the death
of Elizabeth the country, except during the short years of the
Protectorate, had not known a master. William of Orange, who had
at any rate the capacity to rule it, was unwilling to give himself
the trouble; Marlborough, while his power lasted, had been occupied
chiefly with the business of war; and during the reign of both
war had been a sufficient danger in the one case and a sufficient
cause of exultation in the other to distract undisciplined minds.
Now, however, there was peace. A foreign prince had ascended the
throne, a worthy person and very far from an incapable man, but
uninteresting, ignorant of England, and unable to speak a word of
her language. The tie of nationality and the reaction of sentiment
which had favoured the restoration of Charles the Second were
wanting. The country too, after prolonged occupation with the
business of pulling down one king and setting up another, had
imbibed a dangerous contempt of all authority whatsoever.

Other influences contributed not less forcibly to increase the
prevalent indiscipline. Many old institutions were rapidly falling
obsolete. The system of police was hopelessly inefficient, and
the press had not yet concentrated the force of public opinion
into an ally of law and order. In all classes the same lawlessness
was to be found; showing itself among the higher by a fashionable
indifference to all that had once been honoured as virtue,
an equally fashionable indulgence towards debauchery, and an
irresistible tendency to decide every dispute by immediate and
indiscriminate force. Among the lower classes, despite the most
sanguinary penal code in Europe, brutal crime, not of violence
only, was dangerously rife. No man who was worth robbing could
consider himself safe in London, whether in the streets or in
his own house. Patrols of Horse and Foot Guards failed to ensure
the security of the road between Piccadilly and Kensington;[15]
and further afield the footpad and the highwayman reigned almost
undisturbed. Nor did great criminals fail to awake lively sympathy
among the populace. The names of Dick Turpin and Jack Sheppard
enjoy some halo of heroism to this day; and frequently, when
some desperate malefactor was at last brought to Tyburn, it was
necessary to escort him to execution and, supposing that the
gallows had not been cut down by sympathisers during the night, to
surround him with soldiers lest he should be rescued by the mob.
All over England the case was the same. Strikes, riots, smuggling,
incendiarism and general lawlessness flourished with alarming
vigour, rising finally to such a height that, by the confession
of a Secretary-of-State in the House of Commons, it was unsafe
for magistrates to do their duty without the help of a military

Against this mass of disorder the only orderly force that could
be opposed was the Army. It will presently be seen that the Army
had grave enough faults of its own, but the outcry against it was
levelled not at its faults but at its power as a disciplined body
to execute the law. So far, therefore, the unpopularity of the Army
was fairly universal. But its most formidable opponents were bred
by faction, the Jacobites who wished to re-establish the Stuarts
naturally objecting to so dangerous an obstacle to their designs.
The howl against the Army was raised in the House of Commons as
early as in 1714, and in 1717 a Jacobite member who, being more
conspicuous for honesty than for wisdom, was known as "Downright
Shippen," opened a series of annual motions for the reduction of
the forces. This self-imposed duty, as he once boasted to the
House, he fulfilled on twenty-one successive occasions, though on
thirteen of them he had found no seconder to support him.[17]
If this had been all, no great harm could have resulted; but the
watchword of a baffled opposition, artfully stolen from old times
of discontent, was too useful not to be generally employed, and
"No Standing Army" became the parrot's cry of every political
adventurer, every discontented spirit, every puny aspirant to
importance. Walpole himself did not disdain to avail himself of
it during the four years which he spent out of office between
1717 and 1721, and the stock arguments of the malcontents were
never urged more ably nor more mischievously than by Marlborough's
Secretary-at-War.[18] The Lords again were little behind the
Commons, and Jacobite peers who had commanded noble regiments
in action were not ashamed to drag the name of their profession
through the dirt.

[Sidenote: 1714-1739.]

In such circumstances, where the slightest false step might have
imperilled the very existence of the Army, the administration of
the forces and the recommendation of their cost to the House of
Commons became matters of extreme delicacy. It has already been
told how the King, as the alarm of the first Jacobite rebellion
subsided, voluntarily reduced the Army by ten thousand men at
a stroke. Such policy, dangerous though it was from a military
standpoint, was undoubtedly wise; it was the sacrifice of half the
cargo to save the ship, an ingenious transformation of a necessity
into a virtue. Even before the Spanish War was ended but fourteen
thousand men were asked for as the British establishment, the
remainder of the Army being hidden away in Ireland; and the same
number was presented on the estimates up to the year 1722. In the
autumn of that year, however, the administration insisted that the
number should be raised to eighteen thousand. The spirits of the
Jacobites had been raised by the birth of Prince Charles Edward;
there had been general uneasiness in the country; troops had been
encamped ready for service all the summer, and six regiments had
been brought over from Ireland. The augmentation was bitterly
opposed in Parliament, but was carried in the Commons by a large
majority, and was judiciously executed, not by the formation of
new regiments but by raising the strength of existing corps to a
respectable figure.[19] Until this increase was made, said Lord
Townsend in the House of Lords in the following year, it was
impossible to collect four thousand men without leaving the King,
the capital, and the fortified places defenceless.[20]

Having secured his eighteen thousand men, Walpole resolved that
in future this number should form the regular strength for the
British Establishment. In 1727 the menace of a war with Spain
brought about the addition of eight thousand men, but in 1730 the
former establishment was resumed and regularly voted year after
year until the outbreak of the Spanish War in 1739. Year after
year, of course, the same factious motives for reduction were put
forward and the same futile arguments repeated for the hundredth
time. "Slavery under the guise of an army for protection of our
liberties" was one favourite phrase, while the valour of the
untrained Briton was the theme of many an orator. Men who, like
Sir William Yonge and William Pulteney, had held the office of
Secretary-at-War, were, when in opposition, as loud as the loudest
and as foolish as the most foolish in such displays. "I hope,
sir," said the former in 1732, "that we have men enough in Great
Britain who have resolution enough to defend themselves against any
invasion whatever, though there were not so much as one red-coat
in the whole kingdom." On the side of the Government the counter
arguments were drawn from an excellent source, namely, from the
disastrous results of wholesale disbandment after the Peace of
Ryswick. The establishment was, in fact, far too small. It would
have been impossible (to use Walpole's own words) even after
several weeks' time to mass five thousand men at any one point to
meet invasion, without stripping the capital of its defences and
leaving it at the mercy of open and secret enemies.

Foiled in its attempts to reduce the numbers of the Army,
the Opposition sought to weaken it by interference with its
administration and discipline, for which mischief the discussion
of the Mutiny Act gave annual opportunity. Here again it was
Walpole who set the evil example. He it was who maintained that the
Irish Establishment must be counted as part of the standing Army,
who insinuated that the British regiments, with their enormous
preponderance of officers as compared with men, were potentially
far stronger than they seemed to be, who encouraged the Commons
to dictate to the military authorities the proportion that should
be observed between horse, foot, and dragoons.[21] He too it was
who imperilled the passing of the Mutiny Act by advancing the old
commonplace that a court-martial in time of peace was unknown to
English law, and that mutiny and desertion should be punished by
the civil magistrate. He it was once more who blamed the ministry
for sending the fleet to the Mediterranean instead of keeping it at
home to guard the coast, and gave his authority to the false idea
that the function of a British fleet in war is to lie at anchor in
British ports. Such were the aberrations of a conscience which fell
blind directly it moved outside the circle of office.

The Opposition was not slow to take advantage of such powerful
advocacy, but fortunately with no very evil results. An address
to the King was carried, praying that all vacancies, except in
the regiments of Guards, should be filled up by appointment of
officers on the list of half-pay. The King willingly acceded, for
indeed he had already anticipated the request; and this rule was
conscientiously adhered to, both by him and by his successor. It
made for economy, no doubt, but it also weakened what then counted
as the most efficient form of military reserve; and the result was
that officers were forbidden to resign their commissions, being
allowed to retire on half-pay only, so that their services might
still be at command.[22] The Articles of War were also sent down
to the Commons, and may still be read in their journals.[23] It
must suffice here to say that they made careful provision for the
trial of all but strictly military crimes by the civil power. Here,
however, was a new precedent for allowing Parliament a voice not
only in the broad principles, but in the details of discipline.

The Opposition in both Houses did not at once take advantage of
this innovation, but confined itself to discourses on the inutility
and danger of a Mutiny Act at large. It was not surprising that the
ignominious Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, should have declaimed
against the Act, but it was a sad revelation of factious feeling
to find an old colonel, Lord Strafford, declaring that the country
got on very well without it in King William's time. Nor must it be
thought that, because the Act was ultimately passed every year,
no inconvenience resulted from the obstruction in Parliament. On
at least one occasion it was not renewed in sufficient time. The
courts-martial held after its expiration were therefore invalid,
and as prisoners could not be tried twice for the same offence, a
number of them escaped scot-free.[24] It was not until 1726 that
the attacks upon the measure began to subside, and even then the
Government was afraid to introduce necessary amendments, lest by
calling attention to the Act it should blow the dull embers of
hostility anew into flame.[25]

The next attempted encroachment of Parliament was of a more
dangerous nature, though it was more than a little excused by
extreme provocation. In the heat of resentment against the
opposition to his favourite scheme of an Excise Bill, Walpole in
1733 persuaded the King not only to dismiss his opponents from
their places about the court, but to deprive the Duke of Bolton
and Lord Cobham, Colonels of the King's Dragoon Guards and of the
Blues, and Cornet William Pitt of the King's Dragoon Guards[26] of
their commissions. This was to inflict the severest of military
punishments short of death for a political disobligation, and was
justly seized upon by the Opposition as a monstrous abuse. Lord
Morpeth accordingly brought forward a motion in the Commons to make
officers of the rank of lieutenant-colonel or above it irremovable
except by sentence of court-martial or upon address of either
House. The issue thus raised was direct, since by the Articles
of War no officer could be dismissed except by Royal Order or
sentence of a general court-martial. The debate was very ingenious
on both sides, but the motion was lost without a division. The
most remarkable speech was that of General Wade, who opposed Lord
Morpeth on the ground that he had the greatest difficulty in
collecting officers for a court-martial, and that they would be
still more negligent if they could be dismissed only by sentence of
their fellows. "In short, sir," he said, in words of significant
warning, "the discipline of our army is already in a very bad way,
and, in effect, this alteration will only make it worse."

The study of the mingling of political and military influence on
the Army will enlighten us as to the cause of this indiscipline.
In the first place, it will be noticed that there was no
Commander-in-Chief. Lord Cadogan had succeeded Marlborough as
captain-general, but even Marlborough had been powerless since
his restoration, and he was not in the modern sense of the word
a commander-in-chief. The result was that the whole of the
authority attached to the office fell into the hands of the
Secretary-at-War. That functionary still received as heretofore
a military commission, and was nominally a mere secretary, not a
minister nor secretary-of-state; and early in the reign he took
the opportunity in the person of William Pulteney to repudiate
anything approaching to a minister's responsibility.[27] So far as
any one was answerable for the Army, it was that secretary-of-state
whose duties were later apportioned to the Home Office; and hence
we find the Secretary-at-War, though really in control of the
whole Army, sending daily requests to the Secretary-of-State for
the preparation of commissions,[28] since he himself in theory
could sign documents not as the King's adviser, but only as his
clerk. As a mere matter of routine this arrangement was most
inconvenient, but this would have signified little had it not also
been dangerous.[29]

Peculiar circumstances, now long obsolete, gave this irresponsible
secretary peculiar powers. In the first place, it must be
remembered that as yet barracks were almost unknown. There were,
it is true, barracks at the Tower, at the Savoy, at Hull, and at
Edinburgh, wherein there was accommodation for the half or even
the whole of a battalion; and there was also a barrack at every
garrisoned town capable of holding at least the handful of men who
were supposed to keep the guns in order. But for the most part the
Army was scattered all over the country in minute detachments,[30]
for inns were the only quarters permitted by the Mutiny Act, and
the number of those inns was necessarily limited. In Ireland
the paucity of ale-houses had led comparatively early to the
construction of barracks, with great comfort alike to the soldiers
and to the population, but in England the very name of barrack
was anathema.[31] It was in vain that military men pointed to the
sister island and urged that Great Britain too might have barracks.
The Government was afraid to ask for them, and the opposition
combated any hint of such an innovation, "that the people might be
sensible of the fetters forged for them."[32]

The apportionment of quarters fell within the province of the
Secretary-at-War; and it is obvious that whether the presence of
soldiery were an advantage to a town or the reverse, the power to
inflict it could usefully be turned to political ends. A frequent
accusation was that troops were employed to intimidate the voters
at elections; and indeed the newspapers, not very trustworthy
on such points, assert that at the election at Coventry in 1722
the foot-soldiers named two persons and the sheriff returned
them.[33] Whether this be true or false it was not until 1735
that the Mutiny Act provided for the withdrawal of the troops to
a distance of at least two miles from the polling-place during an
election. But it was not so much for their interference with the
free and independent voter as for the burden which they laid on
the innkeeper that the soldiers were disliked. Whether this burden
was really so grievous or not is beside the question; it was, at
any rate, believed to be intolerable.[34] As early as in 1726 the
King had asked for additional powers in the Mutiny Act to check
the evasion by the civil authorities of their duty of quartering
the men, and it was just after this date that municipalities
began to abound in complaints.[35] The question was one of
extreme difficulty for the Secretary-at-War, since the outcry of
the civilians was balanced by a no less forcible counter-cry of
officers. Municipalities seemed to think that no military exigency
could excuse the violation of their comfort. Riots, for instance,
were expected at Bath which, as a watering-place, was exempt from
the duty of finding quarters for soldiers. The Secretary-at-War,
though he did not shrink from sending troops thither to put down
the rioters, looked forward to a disturbance between the civil and
military elements as inevitable.[36] Southampton, again, cried
out bitterly against the arrival within her boundaries of a whole
regiment of dragoons. The colonel retorted that the regiment
in question had been dispersed in single troops ever since its
formation, and that this was actually his first opportunity of
reducing it to order and discipline.[37] On some occasions the
officers were certainly to blame, though they appear rarely to
have misbehaved except under extreme provocation. Thus we find
an officer, who had been denied a guard-room at Cirencester,
solving the difficulty by the annexation of the town hall,[38]
another still more arbitrary putting the Recorder of Chester under
durance,[39] and a cornet of dragoons revenging himself upon an
innkeeper by ordering eight men to march up and down before the
inn for an hour every morning and evening, in order to disturb the
guests and spoil the pavement.[40] On one occasion, indeed, we see
two officers making the wealthiest clothier of Trowbridge drunk
and enlisting him as a private.[41] These are specimens of the
petty warfare which was waged between soldiers and civilians all
over the kingdom, actions which called forth pathetic appeals from
the Secretary-at-War to the offenders not to make the Army more
unpopular than it already was. The warning was the more necessary,
since, to use Pulteney's words, giddy insolent officers fancied
they showed zeal for the Government by abusing those whom they
considered to be of the contrary party. This, however, was but the
natural result of making the Army a counter in the game of party
politics. The only moderating influence was that of the King, who,
if once convinced of any abuses committed by the soldiery was
inexorably severe.[42]

Yet, on the whole, it should seem that soldiers were far less
aggressive towards civilians than civilians towards soldiers. It
is abundantly evident that in many places the civil population
deliberately picked quarrels with troops in order to swell the
clamour against the Army;[43] and officials in high local and
municipal station, in their rancour against the red-coats, would
stoop to lawlessness as flagrant as that of the mob. Lord Denbigh
falsely accused the soldiers employed against the famous Black
Gang of poachers, a sufficiently dangerous duty, of leaguing
themselves with them for a share in the profits.[44] The Mayor
of Penzance deliberately obstructed dragoons, who had been sent
down to suppress smuggling, in the execution of their duty; the
inference being that his worship was the most notorious smuggler
on the coast.[45] The Mayor of Bristol threw every obstacle,
technical or captious, that he could devise, in the way of
recruiting officers.[46] The Mayor of St. Albans, most disgraceful
of all, took the Secretary-at-War's passes from certain discharged
soldiers, whipped them through the streets, and gave them vagrant's
passes instead, with the result that the unhappy men were stopped
and shut up in gaol for deserters.[47] Redress for such injuries as
these was not easily to be obtained; for of what profit could it
be to these poor fellows to speak to them of their legal remedy?
The soldiers were subject to a sterner and harder law than the
civilians, and the civilians never hesitated to take advantage of
it. They thought nothing of demanding that an officer should be
cashiered unheard, solely on their accusation, and that too when
redress lay open to them in the courts of law.[48] The difficulties
of the Secretary-at-War in respect of these complaints are
pathetically summarised by Craggs: "If I take no notice of such
things I shall be petitioned against by twenty and thirty towns;
if I inquire into them the officers think themselves discouraged;
if I neglect them I shall be speeched every day in the House of
Commons; if I give any countenance to them I shall disoblige the
officers. My own opinion is that I can do no greater service to
the Army than when, by taking notice of such few disorders as will
only affect a few, I shall make the whole body more agreeable to
the country and the clamour against them less popular in the House
of Commons.[49]"

With traps deliberately laid to draw the troops into quarrels,
with occasional experience of such brutality as has been above
described, and with members of the House of Commons incessantly
branding soldiers as lewd, profligate wretches, it is hardly
surprising that there should have been bitter feeling between the
Army and the civil population. But even more mischievous than
this was the tendency of civilians, as of the House of Commons,
to interfere with military discipline. It is tolerably clear,
from the immense prevalence of desertion, and from the effusive
letters of thanks written to magistrates who did their duty in
arresting deserters, that the great body of these functionaries
were in this respect thoroughly disloyal. Men could hardly respect
their officers when they saw the civil authorities deliberately
conniving at the most serious of military crimes. But this was by
no means all. We find Members of Parliament interceding for the
ringleaders of a mutiny,[50] for deserters,[51] for the discharge
of soldiers, sometimes, but not always, with the offer to pay for
a substitute;[52] and finally, as a climax, we see one honourable
gentleman calmly removing his son from his regiment on private
business without permission either asked or received.[53] And the
Secretary-at-War liberates the mutineers, warns the court-martial
to sentence the deserter to flogging instead of death, since
otherwise interest will procure him a pardon, and begs General
Wade, one of the few officers who had the discipline of the Army at
heart, to overlook the absence of the member's son without leave.

A parallel could be found to all these examples at this day,
it may be said. It is quite possible, for such ill weeds once
sown are not easily eradicated, but the roots of the evil lay
far deeper then than now in the overpowering supremacy of the
Secretary-at-War. That official throughout this period continued
to correspond directly with every grade of officer from the
colonel to the corporal, whether to give orders, commendation,
or rebuke, wholly ignoring the existence of superior officers as
channels of communication and discipline.[54] His powers in other
directions are indicated by the phrase, "Secretary-at-War's leave
of absence,"[55] which was granted to subalterns, without the
slightest reference to their colonels, to enable them to vote for
the Government's candidate at by-elections.[56] We find him filling
up a vacancy in a regiment without a word to the colonel,[57]
instructing individual colonels of dragoons when they shall turn
their horses out to grass,[58] and actually giving the parole to
the guard during the King's absence from St. James's.[59] All
these orders, relating to purely military matters, were issued, of
course, by the King's authority, though not always in the King's
name; and, indeed, as the volume of work increased, directions,
criticisms, and reproofs tended more and more to be communicated
by a clerk by order of the Secretary-at-War. In fact, the absolute
control of the Army was usurped by a civilian official who, while
arrogating the exercise of the royal authority, abjured every
tittle of constitutional responsibility.

The result of such a system in such an age as that of Walpole may
be easily imagined. All sense of military subordination among
officers was lost. Their road to advancement lay, not by faithful
performance of their duty for the improvement of their men and the
satisfaction of their superiors, but by gaining, in what fashion
soever, the goodwill of the Secretary-at-War,[60]--by granting
this man his discharge, advancing that to the rank of corporal,
pardoning a third the crime of desertion. "Our generals," said the
Duke of Argyll in the House of Lords at the opening of the Spanish
War, "are only colonels with a higher title, without power and
without command ... restrained by an arbitrary minister.... Our
armies here know no other power but that of the Secretary-at-War,
who directs all their motions and fills up all vacancies without
opposition and without appeal."[61] Well might General Wade be
believed when he asserted that the discipline of the Army was as
bad as it could be.


[Sidenote: 1714-1739.]

From the political I turn to the purely military side of the Army's
history. Treating first of the officers, it has, I think, been
sufficiently shown that there were influences enough at work to
demoralise them quite apart from any legacies of corruption that
they might have inherited from the past. Against their indiscipline
and dishonesty George the First seems to have set his face from
the very beginning. He had a particular dislike to the system
of purchasing and selling commissions. If (so ran his argument)
an officer is unfit to serve from his own fault, he ought to be
tried and cashiered, if he is rendered incapable by military
service, he ought to retire on half-pay; and so firm was the King
on this latter point that the Secretary-at-War dared not disobey
him.[62] As early, therefore, as in June 1715 the King announced
his intention of putting a stop to the practice, and as a first
step forbade all sale of commissions except by officers who had
purchased, and then only for the price that had originally been
paid. One principal cause that prompted him to this decision
appears to have been the exorbitant price demanded by colonels,
on the plea that they had discharged regimental debts due for the
clothing of the men, and suffered loss through the carelessness
of agents.[63] It should seem, however, that as the rule applied
only to regiments on the British and not to those on the Irish
Establishment, the desired reforms were little promoted by this
expedient. In 1717, therefore, the King referred the question
to the Board of General Officers, with, however, a reservation
in favour of sale for the benefit of wounded or superannuated
officers, which could not but vitiate the entire scheme. He thought
it better, therefore, to regulate that which he could not abolish,
and in 1720 issued the first of those tariffs for the prices of
commissions which continued to appear in the Queen's Regulations
until 1870. At the same time he subjected purchase to certain
conditions as to rank and length of service, adding somewhat later
that the fact of purchase should carry with it no right to future
sale.[64] Evidently ministers kept before his eyes not only the
usefulness of the system from a political standpoint, since every
officer was bound over in the price of his commission to good
behaviour, but still more the impossibility of obtaining from
Parliament a vote for ineffective men. They followed, in fact, the
precept of Marlborough, and it is hard to say that they were not

Concurrently the King took steps, not always with great effect, to
check the still existing abuse of false masters.[65] A more real
service was the prevention of illegal deductions from the pay of
the men, a vice from which hardly a regiment was wholly free, by
the regulation of all stoppages by warrant.[66] As part of the
same principle, he endeavoured also to ensure honesty towards the
country and towards the soldiery in the matter of clothing. In
fact, wherever the hand of King George the First can be traced in
the administration of the Army, it is found working for integrity,
economy, and discipline; and it is sufficiently evident that when
he gave decided orders the very officials at the War Office knew
better than to disregard them.

It is melancholy to record the fact that he was ill supported by
the General Officers of the Army. The Board of Generals, to which
the settlement of all purely military questions was supposed to be
referred, seems to have been lazy and inert, requiring occasionally
to be reminded of its duty in severe terms.[67] It may well be
that this supineness was due to the general arrogation of military
authority by civilians, but even so it remains unexcused. Colonels
again appear to have been scandalously negligent and remiss in
every respect; and it may have been as a warning to them that the
King on one occasion dismissed seven of their number in one batch
from his service.[68] But issue orders as he might, the King could
never succeed, owing to the prevailing indiscipline, in making a
certain number of officers ever go near their regiments at all.
This habit of long and continued absence from duty, especially on
colonial stations, is said to have troubled him much, and to have
caused him greater uneasiness than any other abuse in the Army. It
will be seen when we read of the opening of the Seven Years' War
that he had all too good ground for misgiving. Yet the regimental
officers must not be too hardly judged. In foreign garrisons, as
shall presently be shown, they were exiles, neglected and uncared
for; at home they were subject to incessant provocation, to
malicious complaints, and in every quarter and at all times to the
control of civilians. Lastly, though frequently called out in aid
of the civil power, they had the fate of Captain Porteous before
their eyes, and indeed took that lesson so speedily to heart that
for want of their interposition the life of that unlucky man was

When officers flagrantly neglected their duty and civilians
deliberately fostered indiscipline, it is hardly astonishing that
there should have been much misconduct among the men. It was
natural, in the circumstances, that after the Peace of Utrecht
the profession of the soldier should have fallen in England into
disrepute. The greatest captain of his time, and one of the
greatest of all time, had been rewarded for his transcendent
services with exile and disgrace. Many officers had quitted the
service in disgust, some of them abandoning even regiments which
they loved as their own household. Wholesale and unscrupulous
disbandment did not mend matters; and the survivors of that
disbandment were confronted with the railings of the House of
Commons, the malice of municipalities, the surliness of innkeepers
and the insults of the populace. The most honest man in England
had but to don the red coat to be dubbed a lewd profligate wretch.
Small wonder that, clothed with such a character, ready made and
unalterable, soldiers should have made no scruple of living their
life in accordance with it.

The standard of the recruit, socially and morally, appears at the
accession of George the First to have sunk to the level of the
worst days of Elizabeth, of the Restoration, or of William the
Third. It is abundantly evident that the ranks were filled in
great measure by professional criminals, who passed from regiment
to regiment, spreading everywhere the infection of discontent,
debauchery, and insubordination. The noxious weeds of desertion
and fraudulent enlistment flourished with amazing exuberance, and
no severity of punishment had power to root them out. Week after
week deserters were brought out into Hyde Park, tied up to the
halberds, or simply to a tree, and flogged with hundreds of lashes.
Every variety of scourging was tried that ingenuity could suggest.
Sometimes the instrument employed was the cat, sometimes the rod,
sometimes a twig, varied in the case of the cavalry by cloak-straps
and stirrup-leathers. Sometimes the whole regiment did the part
of executioners,[70] sometimes the guard, sometimes the drummers
only. Sometimes the culprit ran the gantlope, accomplishing the
unpleasant journey as quickly as he could, sometimes he walked it
with a halberd's point before him, lest he should hurry unduly.
Sometimes he took the whole of his punishment at one time and
place, sometimes in instalments of a hundred lashes before the
quarters of each detachment of his regiment, a practice akin to
"flogging round the fleet."[71] Often he received two or three
floggings in as quick succession as the state of his back would
permit, the execution of the sentence being followed in many cases
by "drumming out," with every circumstance of degradation.[72]
The sentence of death was often pronounced by courts-martial
and not unfrequently carried out, a deserter convicted for the
third time rarely escaping with his life. Many a man was shot in
Hyde Park during the twenty years of peace, and no opportunity
was lost to enhance the terror of the penalty, the firing party
sometimes consisting solely of fellow-deserters, who were spared in
consideration of the warning given by the ghastly body which their
own bullets had pierced.[73]

The newspapers record such matters with little ceremony, dwelling
with greater relish on incidents of the cart's tail, of the
pillory, or of Tyburn. The picketing of a soldier was indeed for a
time a sufficient novelty to attract crowds,[74] but the interest
in the process appears to have been short-lived. People were not
squeamish in those days, and men would lay a wager to receive so
many hundred lashes without flinching, as calmly as if it were to
run so many miles or drink so many pots of ale. It is, however,
noteworthy that both of the first of the Guelphic kings were prone
to lighten the sentences of courts-martial, constantly reducing
the number of lashes and remitting the penalty of death. Whether
this was due to policy or humanity it is a little difficult to
determine, for the populace certainly sympathised with deserters,
and would help to rescue them, while there were "malicious persons"
who were glad to denounce the severity of military punishments as
a reproach against the Government.[75] I am, however, inclined to
believe that both kings were inspired by the higher of the two
motives, and should receive due honour for the same. The like, I
believe, can hardly be said of the malicious persons above named,
considering that the House of Commons had the scandalous evils of
the London prisons before it in 1729, but left the whole work of
reform to be done by John Howard in 1774.

The consequences of filling the ranks with rogues, together with
the evils of indiscipline and neglect, did not end with desertion
and fraudulent enlistment. That soldiers in their private
quarrels should have fought desperately, wounding and killing
each other on the slightest provocation, is nothing remarkable,
for such encounters were common in the poorer classes of the
urban population. But the newspapers report a sufficient number of
mishaps through the use of loaded instead of blank cartridges at
drill, to show that such occurrences were not wholly accidental.
Again, we find a corps so much favoured as the First Troop of
Horse Grenadier Guards breaking into open mutiny, because one
of their number was sentenced to the picket.[76] On one very
scandalous occasion the officers in command of the Prince of
Wales's guard were so careless as to allow the troopers to get
drunk when actually in attendance on His Royal Highness. The guard
was turned out, and after some delay three troopers appeared who,
though egregiously tipsy, were able to stagger to their places and
stand more or less firmly on their legs. "This," we read, "the
Prince complained of as shameful, as well he might"; but at this
distance of time the reader, with the self-important figure of the
prince who became King George the Second before him, will have
no eye except for what was probably the most ludicrous spectacle
ever witnessed at the Horse Guards.[77] But the climax of scandal
was reached when a burglary was actually committed in Kensington
Palace, and when, on the calling of the roll of the guard, but two
men were found to be present, the rest being engaged apparently in
rendering assistance to the burglars.[78] Certainly the soldiers
of some regiments did their best to merit the bad name which was
attached impartially to all who wore the red coat.

It may be asked why the system of enlistment for three years, which
had produced such excellent results in Queen Anne's time, should
have been abandoned. The reply, judging from the arguments of a
later time, is that there was apprehension lest men should pass
through the ranks of the British Army to strengthen those of the
Pretender. There are signs that a reintroduction of the system
was talked of in 1731, and was received by at least one observer
with joy at the prospect of converting the whole nation into a
sort of militia,[79] but I can find no official trace of such a
revival. If it be asked how the Army survived a period of such
discouragement and distress at all, the answer, I cannot doubt, is
that it was saved, as it has often been saved, by the spirit, the
pride, and the self-respect of individual regiments. There were
always officers who worked hard and conscientiously for the credit
of their own corps, and always men who were proud to take service
with them and help them to maintain it. After the Peace of Utrecht,
as at the present day, the War Office did its best to subvert
regimental feeling by a return to the practice, expressly condemned
by Marlborough, of strengthening the weaker corps by drafts from
the stronger, but then as now regimental traditions preserved the
War Office from the consequences of its own incapacity, and the
Army from total dissolution.

So much for purely British affairs: but the British Empire, then
as now, was not bounded by the shores of the British Isles, and
it is necessary to examine next the broader question of Imperial
defence. As the reader will have gathered in the course of my
narrative, the system of home defence, up to the birth of the New
Model and beyond it, had, apart from the fleet, been always the
same. A few gunners and a few weak independent companies were
maintained rather as caretakers than as defenders of the fortified
places; in the event of an invasion there was the militia; while in
case of an expedition beyond sea, a special force was raised, and
disbanded as soon as its work was done. The standing Army gradually
swept the independent garrison-companies out of existence, though
there were still a few at Hampton Court, Windsor, and one or two
similar places in the last year of King William the Third; but
as has already been seen, the standing Army voted by Parliament
just sufficed to furnish garrisons for the most important British
fortresses and no more. Practically, therefore, the new system
differed little from the old: if England were called upon to fight
an enemy outside her own borders she must still raise a new army
before she could send a man beyond sea. The only difference was
that there were sufficient skeleton regiments, with their officers
complete, to absorb several thousand men.

In our possessions abroad the old English system was followed
exactly. British colonies were expected to raise their own militia
and to provide for their own defence, as though each one of them
had been an England in herself; and they fulfilled that expectation
with a readiness which in those days seems astonishing. In the
case of the American colonies, and in particular of the northern
provinces, the problem of forming a national militia presented
little difficulty; for theirs was a country where the white
population could increase and multiply, and where white children
could grow up to a vigorous manhood. The reader will shortly be
able to judge the American militia by test of active service. But
in the tropical islands of the West Indies, and to some extent in
the southern provinces of Virginia and Carolina, the conditions
were different. There the white man could not thrive and rear a
healthy progeny, while a horde of negro slaves, sound, strong, and
prolific, made an element of danger which was only kept in awe by
systematic intimidation of almost incredible severity.[80]

Failing the natural increase of a white population, the ranks
of the militia in the West Indies were kept full by continual
exportation of white "servants" from England, that is to say,
of men, women, and children saved from the gaol or the gallows,
plucked naked and starving out of the gutter, trepanned by
scoundrelly crimps, or kidnapped bodily in the streets and
spirited, as the phrase went, across the Atlantic. From the
earliest days of English colonisation the seeds to be sown in the
great continent of the West had been gathered from the weeds that
grow by the roadside. In 1610 three hundred disorderly persons were
sent to Virginia, in 1617 and 1618 a cargo of poor and impressed
emigrants, in 1620 "a parcel of poor and naughty children." New
England, with higher ideals and a deeper insight than her sisters,
resolved to accept only youths untainted by vice, but even so
did not escape an infusion of the very scum of the earth.[81] An
enlightened Frenchman did indeed formulate a scheme for recruiting
old soldiers as emigrants for Virginia, but for the most part the
white servants were drawn almost exclusively from the unprofitable

The Civil War, the conquest of Ireland, the subdual of Scotland,
and the crushing of royalism introduced a new element into the
exported white servants. Irish men and Irish girls, grouped under
the generic name of Tories, were shipped off to the West Indies by
hundreds and even thousands.[82] English and Scottish prisoners
of war, the vanquished of Dunbar and of Worcester among them,
followed the Irish; and, finally, all ranks of the Royalists who
dashed themselves in vain against the iron will of the Protector,
many of them men of birth and high character, were, in the phrase
of the day, Barbadosed. After the Restoration the supply of white
servants, though swelled for a moment by the rebellion of Monmouth
and by the innocent victims of Jeffreys, reverted to its dependence
on the gaol, the crimp, and the "spirit." Transportation, though
not long obsolete, has been well-nigh forgotten as a means of penal
discipline, and quite forgotten as the first foundation of our
system of colonial defence.

The white servants might, in the majority of cases, have been
termed white slaves. They were frequently sold for money at so
much a head without the least concealment, and were granted away
in scores both by Oliver Cromwell and by James the Second as a
means of profit and reward to good servants or to favourites. The
practice was thoroughly recognised; and not a voice, except that
of the younger Vane, was ever raised against the principle.[83]
Theoretically the white servants were bound apprentices for a term
of years, rarely exceeding ten, at the close of which they received
their freedom with, as a rule, a grant of Crown-land to encourage
them to settlement.[84] During their period of servitude they were
obliged to serve in the ranks of the colonial militia, not as free
men, but as the subjects of their masters. Every planter was bound
by law to furnish his quota of men, and old colonial muster-rolls
frequently consist only of a list of masters, with a figure showing
the number of servants to be supplied by each of them, not unlike
the provincial muster-rolls of Queen Elizabeth's day in England.
Having furnished their men to the ranks, the masters took their
places at their head, in such numbers as were required, as their

Three causes conspired to clothe the colonial militia with an
efficiency unknown to the militia of England,--the presence of
powerful neighbours, native or European; the knowledge that little
help was to be expected from the mother country; and, in the
tropics, the eternal dread of a rising of the negroes. Barbados,
an island no larger than the Isle of Wight, could at the close of
King Charles the Second's reign show six regiments of foot and
two of horse, or a total of six thousand men; while Jamaica, a
less fortunate island and a full generation later in settlement,
produced in the same year seven regiments of four thousand men.
Jamaica, it may be observed, owing to the presence of wild tribes
of runaway slaves called Maroons, lived in more than ordinary
terror of a servile war, and therefore kept her militia up to
a high standard of efficiency. The reader should take note, in
passing, of these Maroons, for we shall meet with them again
at a very critical time. Even so, colonies frequently observed
the true English spirit of apathy.[85] The main point, however,
is that each colony, tropical or temperate, made provision for
its own defence in respect of trained men and of fortification.
Magazines were replenished partly by local laws, which compelled
all vessels trading regularly from England to pay dues of gunpowder
in proportion to their tonnage; the mother country making frequent
grants of guns and of other stores from the depots of the Ordnance
in England, and occasionally doling out even a small subvention of
money. As a rule, moreover, the Crown was careful to appoint men of
some military experience to be governors, in order that the local
forces might not want a competent commander; and it is noteworthy,
as a curious survival of old military traditions, that the civilian
who performs the functions of sheriff in the West Indian Islands
still bears, in a great many cases, the title of provost-marshal.

But even in the days of Charles the Second this primitive method
of colonial defence showed signs of breaking down. At St. Kitts,
which island was shared by the French and English until the Peace
of Utrecht, the French kept a small permanent garrison. The
English were of course bound to do likewise, and accordingly two
independent companies of red-coats were stationed there at the cost
of the Crown--stationed, not maintained, for they were left at
first without pay, clothing, or attention of any kind from home,
for whole years together.[86] In times of emergency such companies
were quartered also in other colonies, such as Jamaica and
Virginia, but these were never retained for longer than could be
helped, the colony receiving the option of maintaining them at its
own expense or of dispensing with them altogether. As the men were
generally mutinous for want of pay, they sometimes proved to be an
element of danger rather than of security.[87] Where settlements
were granted out by charter to companies or to proprietors, the
burden of defence of course fell on them, and was almost invariably
borne by a local militia. There were, however, exceptions, notably
the East Indian and African Companies, which, as they concerned
themselves not with colonisation, but solely with trade, will be
more conveniently discussed elsewhere. New York, from its supreme
importance as a commercial and strategic station, was provided
by its proprietor, James, Duke of York,[88] with two regular
independent companies of English.

Time went on, and the system of defence by transportation became
more and more unstable. White men, chafing against servitude, ran
away from the West Indian Islands by scores to join the pirates
that swarmed in the Caribbean Seas. The long war from 1689 to 1714
finally cut off the supply of white servants altogether for a time,
every possible recruit having been seized by the press-gang or
by the parish constable to serve in the regular army or navy. At
the accession of King William the only British garrisons in the
colonies were one company at the Leeward Islands and two at New
York; by 1692 the West Indies alone had one complete regiment[89]
and four independent companies of red-coats. At the accession
of Queen Anne the independent companies for a time disappeared
from the West Indies, and gave place to regular regiments of the
Line, which have furnished the garrison ever since.[90] Elsewhere,
however, the old principle still held its own. In 1695 two
companies at New York were increased to four, and in 1696 another
company took charge of Bermuda and Newfoundland. The close of the
War of the Spanish Succession found England in exclusive possession
of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Minorca, and Gibraltar, all of them
requiring permanent garrisons, and not one with the means of
providing a militia of its own.

A situation so novel called for an entirely new departure in
English military policy, but no one appears to have perceived any
necessity for the same, possibly from the conviction that, however
clearly a soldier's eye might see, the eyes of the country and of
the House of Commons would certainly be blinded. The authorities,
therefore, held fast to the tradition of the Tudors, that the
garrison of a strong place must be irremovably attached to it.
Nova Scotia and Newfoundland required special attention, and were
accordingly furnished with four independent companies apiece, which
in 1717 were merged, by some brilliant inspiration at headquarters,
into a single regiment of ridiculous weakness, now living in our
midst as the Fortieth Foot. The Leeward Islands having received
their regiment of the Line during the war, were allowed to keep
it during the peace, on condition of providing barracks and
extra pay for all ranks; but a colonial garrison, even though it
were a regiment of the Line, was still a garrison, and therefore
irremovable; and so it came to pass that the Thirty-eighth Foot
remained in the Leeward Islands unrelieved for sixty years. But
meanwhile it was found indispensable to keep a small garrison
also at Jamaica. The temptation to revert to the old system was
irresistible, so two independent companies took charge of Port
Royal.[91] Then Carolina was perceived to require defence, and in
1720 another independent company was sent there; then the Bahamas
and Bermuda, which had hitherto shared a company between them,
asked for a company apiece and received them; and at this strength
the colonial garrisons remained until 1735. Then Jamaica was seen
to be in serious peril from a rising of negroes, and everything
pointed to the permanent quartering of a whole regiment in the
Island; but still the old expedient was followed. Six independent
companies were drafted from the regiments at Gibraltar, making
with the two already in existence a total of eight independent
companies; nor was it until 1743 that these were at last combined
into Trelawny's regiment, or, to give it its modern name, the
Forty-ninth Foot.

But meanwhile, in 1737-38, the needs of a new colony forced the
War Office to provide yet another garrison for the defence of
Georgia; and it was boldly resolved to form a whole regiment for
that service and for that alone. Its colonel was the governor and
founder of Georgia, General James Oglethorpe; and it was formed
by the simple process of turning over the whole of the effective
privates of the Twenty-fifth Foot to that estimable man.[92]
This incident marks the furthest limit to which the principle
of separating Colonial and Imperial service was pushed by the
War Office. Another quarter of a century was to see, not the
impressment of English soldiers for a colonial regiment, but the
embodiment of colonists into an English, and a famous English,

But it was not in respect of the localisation of foreign garrisons
only that the War Office showed itself hide-bound by ancient
tradition. The authorities were amazingly slow to recognise that
the conditions of service at Portsmouth and Annapolis, at Hull
and at Gibraltar, were not and could not be identical. In a
previous chapter I hinted at the neglect which drove the garrison
of Gibraltar to burn their huts for fuel. The experience of twenty
years seems to have taught the War Office but little, for in 1730
the men were still without a roof over their heads and suffering
terribly from exposure and from dysentery.[93] In Minorca the
quarters of the troops were equally bad, the fortifications were in
as ill condition as the quarters, and the unhappy soldiers begged
in vain for new bedding to replace that which they had fairly worn
out by ten years of service.[94] At Annapolis and Placentia the
barracks were falling down; and from Bermuda came complaints in
1739 that no stores of any kind had been received since 1696. In
New York the tale of misery and hardship almost passes belief.
There, men on the frontier-guards marched to their posts knee-deep
in snow and lay down in their clothes, for want of bedding, when
relieved: the sergeant having orders to wake them from time to
time, lest they should be frozen to death in the guard-room. Yet
the officers begged in vain for the supply of their wants. The
Office of Ordnance, in abject fear of swelling the sum of its
estimates, pleaded that Parliament had made no provision for such
services: and the result was that forty-nine men out of two weak
companies perished in a single winter for lack of a blanket to
cover them.[95]

But the story of helplessness and neglect does not end here. The
War Office appears to have imagined that all the world over there
were, as in England, not only alehouses, wherein troops could be
quartered, but landlords who would provide them, according to the
tariff of the Mutiny Act, with food, fire, and candle. It would
seem not to have occurred to it that supplies in an isolated barren
fortress like Gibraltar must of necessity be limited; nor was it
until 1720 that, at the King's instance, it was ordered that
Gibraltar should be provided always with victuals for two months in
advance. The feeding of the garrisons there, in Minorca, in Nova
Scotia and in Newfoundland was entrusted to contractors, but in
the contracts the most obvious necessities were overlooked. Thus,
though Minorca was supplied with brandy, oil, bread, salt, and
tobacco, the item of meat was entirely omitted, and it was actually
necessary for the governor to explain that the five articles above
enumerated were insufficient for the nourishment of the British
soldier.[96] At Annapolis--loneliest, dullest, and dreariest of
quarters--the soldiers were expected to content themselves with
water for their only beverage. Not unnaturally they mutinied;
and their officers were fain to purchase molasses at their own
expense and brew them beer.[97] Deadly though the climate of the
West Indies then was, men could think themselves fortunate to
be quartered there, for Jamaica and the Leeward Islands showed
far more generosity to the British soldier than the British

The greatest hardship of service on foreign stations remains yet to
be noticed, namely, the absence of any system of periodic reliefs.
Englishmen did not accept exile so readily in those days as in
these. Ordinary soldiers did not conceive that they enlisted for
service in foreign garrisons; that duty was for men especially
recruited, as they thought; and they constantly deserted in sheer
despair of ever returning home.[99] A distinguished officer, the
Duke of Argyll, went the length of saying that a long term of
duty at Mahon was equivalent to a punishment, and that his only
surprise was that the troops had not mutinied both at Minorca and
Gibraltar.[100] The Board of General Officers urged the question
at least once upon the King,[101] but without result. A still more
cruel matter was that the War Office refused to grant to invalided
soldiers a free passage home. Even in these days of sanitary
science the amount of sickness among our troops in the tropics is
sufficiently great: the reader may calculate for himself what it
must have been when malarial fever, yellow fever, and smallpox[102]
were allowed to run their course unchecked. But the only answer of
the War Office to an appeal from the Governor of Jamaica for the
return of invalided soldiers was the usual plea of no funds, urged
with something more than the usual warmth of indignation.

Such petty economies, of course, cost the country incredibly dear.
The hardships of foreign service led not only to desertion but
to extreme difficulty in obtaining recruits for the independent
companies abroad. To overcome these obstacles three separate
devices were employed. The first was to offer large bounties, which
from between 1720 and 1739 grew swiftly from thirty shillings to
seventy-five.[103] This proving very costly, recourse was made to
the mischievous practice of drafting men from regiments at home,
thereby transferring the expense from the state to the regimental
officers, who were compelled to pay as much as five pounds a head
for the men drafted to them.[104] The system being simple was
soon carried to outrageous lengths. The bounty failing to attract
recruits for Carolina, a draft of pensioners was sent out in
their place, and the same principle was shortly after extended
to Gibraltar.[105] Thus not only was cruel hardship inflicted on
the pensioners, but the one reserve which England possessed for
her defence in time of emergency was frittered away in service
abroad. Finally, on the rare occasions when a relief was sent to
the Mediterranean garrisons, the relieving regiment was generally
so much weakened by desertion before its departure that it was
necessary to turn over to it bodily the two junior companies of the
relieved, and to call for volunteers from the remaining companies.
If the requisite men could not be obtained by these means, the
orders were to select as many more as were required by lot.[106]
The inevitable result was that the garrison was composed mainly
of discontented men, ready to desert at the first opportunity,
with an infusion of lazy, cunning old soldiers, who had contracted
an attachment to the wine or the women of the country, and were
content to pass the rest of their lives in chronic insobriety.

The difficulties of the whole situation became so pressing that the
Board of General Officers advised the King to make transportation
to service abroad an alternative penalty for desertion, and to
show no mercy in inflicting it.[107] The King declined, nor
can it be denied that there was wisdom in his decision; but it
is none the less certain that abundance of deserters received
pardon on condition of enlisting in corps that were quartered in
the colonies, and particularly in Carolina.[108] The principle
of sending off bad characters to wear their red coats on the
other side of the Atlantic received final sanction in 1742, when
over a hundred mutinous deserters from a Highland regiment were
divided between the Mediterranean garrisons, the West Indies, and
Carolina.[109] Such a windfall did not come every day.

It is now easy to see why foreign service should have been no
less unpopular with officers than with men. Their soldiers were
discontented and miserable through evils which they had no power
to remedy; their regiments were filled with the worst characters,
for whom they were obliged to pay an extravagant price; no better
provision was made for their comfort than for that of the men: and
the life was insufferably dull and monotonous. Nothing, however,
can excuse the systematic evasion of duty which was so common among
them, still less the hopeless indiscipline which nullified the
King's repeated orders for their attendance. Altogether it is clear
that England was not yet the least awake to the fact that she had
entered upon possession of an Empire, and that an Empire must be
defended by the sword. There was no definite scheme of defence, no
attempt to realise the extent of the country's military resources,
no effort to discover how they might be turned to most effective
account. To live from hand to mouth, from budget to budget, was
sufficient for Robert Walpole, while the King, if ever he looked
beyond the sea, gazed eastward and not westward, and then not at
India, but at Hanover.

It remains for me to mention such improvements as were effected in
the Army during the period under review, which, though they were
few, were none the less far-reaching. The first was the permanent
organisation of the Artillery. As has been seen, the Commonwealth
latterly maintained a field-train ready and equipped for the
field, while William the Third improved upon this by distributing
the train into two companies. In the chaos which followed upon
the Peace of Utrecht this organisation was suffered to collapse,
and the Board of Ordnance, when ordered to fit out a train in
1715, was absolutely unable to do so. It was therefore determined
to revert to the system of King William by the establishment of
four permanent companies of Artillery, which was duly ordained by
Royal Warrant of 26th May 1716. Two companies only were created
at first, with a total strength of nine officers and ninety-two
men, but the number was increased to four companies in 1727, with
the title of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, a designation which
still covers about a hundred companies and over a hundred batteries
of garrison, field, and horse artillery. The first colonel was a
foreigner, Albert Borgard by name, who had entered the British
service in time to fight at Steenkirk, and had afterwards served
through the War of the Succession in Spain, distinguished more than
once by grievous wounds and always by excellent and honourable
service. We shall see that the career of the corps has been like
unto that of its first colonel.[110]

A second novelty in the Army during this period has enwoven itself
even more closely into its traditions. In 1725 General Wade was
sent up to Scotland armed with instructions for the disarmament of
the Highland clans, and with statutory powers to send all clansmen
that did not surrender their arms to serve the King in a red coat
beyond sea. Whether any recruits were obtained by those means is
uncertain, for Wade exercised his authority in a judicious and
tactful spirit, and earned immortality by employing his troops
in the construction of roads, whereby he not only kept them from
the idleness which begets indiscipline, but endowed the country
with a lasting benefit. To enforce the disarmament, overawe the
disaffected, and preserve order among the clans, there were raised
in that same year four companies of Highlanders, under Captains
Lord Lovat, Sir Duncan Campbell, John Campbell, and George
Grant.[111] There had been independent companies for service in the
Highlands since 1710, but these had been disbanded in 1717, though
the officers were subsequently reappointed. The new companies wore
their national dress, which, as it consisted principally of black,
blue, and green tartan, presented a sombre appearance, and gained
for its wearers the name of the Black Watch.[112]

The ranks were filled with a number of young men of respectable
families who had joined the corps to gain the Highlanders'
beloved privilege of bearing arms, and many were wealthy enough
to keep their gillies to attend them in their quarters and to
carry their arms and kits on the march. The privates were taken
indiscriminately from all the clans, but the officers from the
Whig clans only. The service seems to have been popular, for the
companies, though increased almost immediately from four to six,
were within eighteen months raised to a strength of one hundred
and ten men each. The fact that within the same period they had
worn out their arms by sheer hard work proves sufficiently that
their life was no easy one. At length, on the 7th of November 1739,
orders were issued for the raising of four additional companies,
and for the formation of a Highland regiment, seven hundred and
eighty strong. The colonel appointed to command them, John, Earl
of Crawford, was suffering at the time from a wound received in
battle against the Turks five months before at Krotzka,[113] and
was therefore unable to take immediate charge of them. Finally, a
few weeks later, a sergeant and a private[114] were brought down
to London, the first kilted soldiers ever seen in the capital, and
were duly exhibited to the King, presumably with satisfaction to
his sartorial mind. Thus came into being the famous regiment which,
ranking originally as the Forty-third of the Line, is still with us
as the Forty-second Highlanders.[115]

For the rest, it must be noted that with the accession of a
foreign dynasty the Army began early to show signs of subjection
to foreign influence. In not a few directions the strict German
precision of George the First worked decidedly for good. Before he
had been on the throne two years he instituted a regular system of
inspection of all regiments by General Officers,[116] and shortly
after, observing that every corps used such methods of drill as
happened to be preferred by the colonel, he ordered an uniform
exercise to be drawn up for all.[117] More curious, however, was
his interference with the arming of the infantry, for while on the
one hand he insisted that every man should carry a sword as well
as a bayonet, a curious old-fashioned prejudice,[118] yet within
two years he introduced the steel ramrod, which was the newest of
new improvements.[119] This steel ramrod is emblematic of much,
since it was the invention of a veteran who had fought among the
Prussian troops throughout Marlborough's campaigns, Prince Leopold
of Anhalt-Dessau, famous in Prussian history as the "Old Dessauer."

Perforce we must turn our eyes for a moment towards the
military reforms which were going forward in Prussia under that
half-demented, half-inspired monarch, King Frederick William. Of
the really important lessons which the British learned from him
and from his far greater son, it is not yet time to speak: for our
present purpose it must be remarked, and remarked not wholly with a
light heart, that he was the first great military tailor that sat
on a throne. He was also, unfortunately, an admirable soldier into
the bargain, and thus has led many monarchs into the delusion that
the most important military manual is the book of patterns, and
that a soldier is made not by training and discipline but by tape,
goose, and shears. His influence soon made itself felt in England,
for as early as 1718 we find Colonel Cosby of the Eighteenth Royal
Irish insisting that every man of his regiment should wear ruffles
at the sleeves and bosom of his shirt;[120] and three years later,
when Frederick William visited England in person, the grenadiers of
the Guards were bidden to let their whiskers grow, to do him honour
on his arrival.[121] Thus dawned the era of powder, pigtail, and
tight clothing.

With the accession of King George the Second the reign of the
military tailor in England began in good earnest. George did not
love his brother-in-law, Frederick William, but he envied him not
a little the reputation of his army. He had little capacity for
military duties beyond the sphere of a sergeant-major, though he
had won his spurs gallantly enough at the head of a squadron at
Oudenarde, but being ambitious of military distinction he threw
himself with all the enthusiasm of a narrow nature into the
pleasing excitement of dressing his army. Before he had been on
the throne four months he announced his desire that every regiment
should have "fixed clothing," and by a single edict swept away all
lace from the buff belts of the cavalry.[122] In the following year
the headdress of the Horse-Grenadiers was altered,[123] and in
the next year again the Foot Guards were prohibited from wearing
perukes except in case of sickness.[124] And so the process went
on, barely interrupted even by war, until finally it culminated in
an elaborate table of regulations as to colours, clothing, facings,
and lace,[125] and, to the great good fortune of posterity, in the
depiction of a private of almost every regiment in the Army.

In such trifles were the great lessons taught by Marlborough
forgotten. The great Duke's mantle had descended on one man, but
even if he had been suffered to wear it, the Secretary-at-War
would not have heeded him the more. Until 1742 he remained obscure,
and meanwhile the better known officers died fast. Cadogan, the
Duke's successor, died in 1726, and was laid with his great chief
in Henry the Seventh's chapel, not with military pomp, but, by his
own express desire, with all possible privacy. It should seem that
he shrank above all things from even the semblance of a share in
his master's glory. Of the veterans who outlived him, Lord Orkney
and the Duke of Argyll were made field-marshals in 1736, while
Wade, the kindly administrator of the Highlands, and Lord Stair
took their part, as shall be seen, in the next war. Beyond them
no one knew whither to look for an English general. Some perhaps
counted on little Prince William who, dressed as a corporal, was
often to be seen drilling a miniature company of the Coldstream
Guards,[126] not yet dreaming that he would one day be called the
butcher of Culloden. None thought of looking into a little house
at Westerham, in Kent, where Colonel Edward Wolfe, a veteran of
Flanders, was educating his little son James, a remarkably ugly boy
with a shock of red hair and a turned-up nose, who had been born to
him in 1727. None guessed again that a natural genius for war lay
in another boy two years older than Wolfe, who was the scourge of
every orchard, the terror of every tradesman, and the ringleader
of all mischief in and about Market Drayton, and who bore the name
of Robert Clive. Yet these two, the one frail and delicate, the
other an incorrigible scapegrace, were the instruments appointed to
carry on the work begun by Cromwell and by Marlborough. Marvellous
to relate there were still alive in 1731 two old men, the one a
Royalist officer aged one hundred and eighteen, the other a Puritan
soldier aged one hundred and eleven, who had fought at the battle
of Edgehill and yet shared some few years of the world with Wolfe
and Clive. They had seen Oliver Cromwell as a simple captain, and
they lived to see William Pitt gazetted a cornet of horse.[127]


[Sidenote: 1738.]

The long reign of Walpole and of peace had endured for full
seventeen years. Session after session, through difficulty after
difficulty, the minister had handled his charge with consummate
dexterity, as a horse-breaker handles an unbroken colt; lunging or
riding the nation round and round sometimes in a larger, sometimes
in a smaller circle, but except in a circle never permitting it to
move at all. It was a change, and doubtless a wholesome change,
from the erratic course which England had pursued for the past
century, but after a time it became wearisome. Conscious of health,
vigour, and strength, the nation began to pant for a wider field
and for a rider that would guide it on some more adventurous
career. But though there was abundance of aspirants to the saddle
it was no easy matter for them to unseat Walpole; their only chance
was to rouse the dumb creature, which he had so cleverly mastered,
to throw him. The terrors of a standing Army, notwithstanding
persistent brandishing of the old flag and howling of the old
cries, had ceased to terrify, and it was necessary to discover some
excitement of a more formidable kind.

The first signs of coming trouble were seen in Parliament in the
spring of 1738, when there was a great debate, culminating in an
address of both Houses, respecting Spanish depredations in the
South American seas. The newspapers thereupon did their utmost to
make matters worse by furious attacks upon Spain. Into the merits
of the question it is unnecessary to enter here. The grievances
of the English against the Spaniards in respect of restrictions on
trade and of the right of search, and of Spaniards against English
for evasion of those restrictions, were at least half a century
old; and it is sufficiently evident that both sides alike had good
ground of complaint. The English, in fact, chafed less against the
restrictions themselves than against the arbitrary and capricious
fashion in which they were enforced, owing to the dishonesty and
corruption of the Spanish authorities. It was a complaint, as early
as in the reign of Charles the Second, that Spanish governors would
encourage British vessels to violate the regulations for a time in
order to make a sudden swoop on them for their own profit, when
they had been enticed in sufficient numbers to make a remunerative
prize. Altogether, it is only surprising that it should have needed
fifty years, an unscrupulous Opposition, and a fable of Jenkins's
ear to set the two nations fighting over the question of American

[Sidenote: 1739.]

[Sidenote: Oct. 19/30.]

Walpole, for his part, strove his hardest to avert war, and even
came to a convention with Spain as to the damages which she should
pay for injuries inflicted on British ships; but this was not what
the nation desired. The convention was furiously denounced in both
Houses as a half-hearted measure, and by no man more vehemently
than by William Pitt. The animosity against Spain was inflamed to
the highest pitch; but amid all the clamour for war the Opposition
did not fail to produce and to support the annual motion for the
reduction of the Army.[128] The estimates provided only for a
small increase of the garrisons in the West Indies, Minorca, and
Gibraltar; yet this most obvious of precautions in the prospect of
a rupture with Spain was opposed by the very men who were shrieking
loudest for war. Walpole's unfailing dexterity, however, carried
him triumphantly through the session; and though half a million
was voted for the augmentation of the forces, he still hoped to
prolong the years of peace, and with them of his own tenure of
office. But meanwhile the proud spirit of Spain had taken offence
at the invectives and insults of the self-styled patriots in the
English Parliament; and when the plenipotentiaries met in pursuance
of the convention to adjust the regulation of commerce between the
two nations, the Spaniards refused to proceed with the business
unless the right of search, the very point which had been denied in
Parliament, were first admitted. Walpole had now to choose between
resignation and war, and to his shame he chose war. The open
declaration of hostilities was proclaimed in London on the 19th of
October, amid the pealing of joy-bells from every steeple in the
city. "They may ring their bells now," muttered Walpole, doubtless
with memories of the War Office in Marlborough's day strong upon
him, "they will be wringing their hands before long."

[Sidenote: Nov. 15/26.]

Already, in the course of the summer, an augmentation of some
five thousand men had been made to certain regiments of horse
and foot both at home and in colonial garrisons.[129] Recruits
offered themselves in such abundance that officers could pick their
men, and the enthusiasm for the war spread to all parts of the
kingdom.[130] Seven hundred men were enlisted in Edinburgh alone;
and the Irish, attracted by the offer of a bounty, came over in
numbers to take service, though only to be met by an order that,
as papists, they should not be admitted.[131] The people were, in
fact, intoxicated at the prospect of plundering New Spain. Not a
man called to mind the expedition of Venables and Penn, nor thought
of the thousands who started with them, big with expectation of
gold told up in bags, and had never returned. In November the King
opened Parliament, and, having announced the increase already made
to the forces, declared his intention of raising several corps of
marines, and left the Commons to debate upon the same. Then the
old instinct of faction at once recovered strength. Though war had
actually been declared, the proposal was severely criticised as
an insidious augmentation of the standing Army. Pulteney declined
to distinguish between marines and land-forces, as if the point
could at the moment have been of the slightest importance; several
members expressed their hope that the marines would at least be
drafted from the standing Army, and an address to the King to that
effect actually found ninety-five supporters. Finally, old Shippen,
for the twenty-third time, brought forward his annual motion for
the reduction of the Army. These were the men who had brought on
the war, and this was the way in which they prepared to support
it.[132] When it is remembered that these creatures claimed the
name of patriots, it is hardly surprising that patriotism should
have found a definition as the last refuge of a scoundrel.

[Sidenote: Nov. 21/Dec. 2.]

[Sidenote: 1740.]

[Sidenote: March 3/14.]

However, orders were issued for the formation of six regiments of
marines,[133] under Colonels Wolfe, Robinson, Lowther, Wynyard,
Douglas, and Moreton, with a strength of eleven hundred men apiece;
and either in deference to the House of Commons, or possibly for
greater despatch, these corps were actually filled mainly by
drafts from existing regiments, as the event was to prove, with
disastrous results.[134] Meanwhile Admiral Vernon's squadron in the
West Indies attacked Porto Bello, and having blown up the defences
returned triumphant to Jamaica. This piece of work was undoubtedly
well done, but the exploit was magnified in England as though
Vernon had captured the whole of Spanish America. When a nation
goes to war with a light heart it must needs exaggerate the most
trifling success; and Vernon became the hero not only of the hour
but of the whole war, once again with disastrous results. Elated by
his good fortune, the Admiral three months later made an attempt
on Carthagena, but found that the capture of the port was a task
beyond the strength of his squadron, or indeed of any squadron
without the assistance of seven or eight thousand troops. His
report, however, indicated the spot where a blow might be struck in
earnest at Spain, and to his influence must be ascribed the choice
of the field of operations.

The Government now girded itself for a serious effort against
New Spain, and decided, like Cromwell, that New as well as Old
England should take a share in the conflict. Directions were
accordingly issued for the raising of four battalions of Americans
under the colonelcy of Deputy-Governor Spotswood of Virginia; the
recruiting sergeant was set to work on both sides of the Atlantic;
and all through the summer preparations went forward for a secret
expedition. It was hoped that it would sail for its destination
at the end of June or the beginning of July, that being declared
by experts to be the latest possible date at which operations
could be conducted with any hope of success.[135] In April the
regiments appointed for the service began to assemble in the Isle
of Wight, and all was bustle and activity. There was not a little
difficulty with these troops, for the new regiments of marines were
remarkable neither for drill nor discipline; but by the energy
of Brigadier-General Wentworth they were licked into shape with
creditable rapidity. Lord Cathcart, who had been selected for the
chief command, was indefatigably vigilant, and indeed he had good
cause, for the ignorance and stupidity of the authorities with whom
he had to deal was almost incredible. Thus, for instance, the War
Office, having depleted regiments of the Line to make up the new
corps of marines, did not hesitate to order one of the regiments
so depleted upon active service; and Cathcart, bound as he knew to
a deadly climate in the heart of the tropics, found that part of
the force allotted to him consisted of boys who had not strength to
handle their arms.[136] Such were the first-fruits of the cry of
"No Standing Army."

[Sidenote: Aug. 3/14.]

By intense labour the military officers sifted out this unpromising
material and turned the residue to the best account, struggling
manfully and not unsuccessfully to have all ready for the
expedition to start in July. Moreover, on the death of Colonel
Spotswood, the intended second in command, Lord Cathcart begged
that his place might be filled by Brigadier Wentworth, as a
reward for the diligence and the capacity which he had shown in
the camp.[137] The request was duly granted, with very tragical
consequences. At the same time, however, the General discovered
that, although it was now late in July, the Admiral who was to
escort his transports had no orders to sail, while his fleet was
not even so much as manned.[138] None the less he pushed his
preparations strenuously forward, and, choosing the anniversary
of Blenheim as a day of good omen for the embarkation, put eight
regiments of six thousand men on board ship.[139] Then came
vexatious delays, due partly to foul winds, partly to official
blundering. Three times the ships got under way, the men cheering
loudly at the prospect of sailing at last, and three times the
wind failed them or turned foul. Cathcart grew more and more
anxious. The favourable season was slipping away fast. The men
had been cooped up in the transports for six weeks and had
consumed most of the victuals intended for the voyage. Scorbutic
sickness was seriously prevalent, and there had already been sixty
deaths. "Surely," wrote the General, "some fresh meat might be
given to the troops"; but the authorities had given no thought
to such matters. August passed away and September came, bringing
with it the news that a Spanish fleet had put to sea, and that
a French fleet also was about to sail from Brest. France had
already manifested sympathy with Spain, as was natural from one
Bourbon king to another, and the intentions of the ships from
Brest might well be hostile. Such a contingency might have been
foreseen, but it was not; so there was further delay while the
British fleet was reinforced. Then, when the ships were ready,
men could not be found to man them. Two old regiments of the
Line, the Thirty-fourth and Thirty-sixth, were turned over to the
fleet to make up its complement; but these were insufficient, and
Cathcart was ordered to send six hundred of his marines also to
the men-of-war. He obeyed, not without warning the Government that
an infectious fever, which had already proved terribly fatal, was
raging in the fleet; but his warning was not heeded, possibly in
the pressure of business could not be heeded. So the days dragged
on; the transports waited, and the men died. Cathcart's patience
was strained almost beyond endurance. Apart from the trouble with
army and fleet, an endless shower of vexations poured on him from
Whitehall. His instructions were constantly altered, and no effort
was made to keep his destination unknown. One statement which was
communicated to him as an important secret had been the talk of all
the coffee-houses in Portsmouth long before it reached him. The
newspapers published details of every ship-load of arms and stores
that was sent to the West Indies, and as a climax printed in full
a proclamation which had been prepared for Cathcart to issue on
his arrival in South America.[140] Such were the English ideas of
organising victory.

[Sidenote: Oct. 24/Nov. 4.]

[Sidenote: 1740, Dec. 23./1741, Jan. 3.]

At length, on the 4th of November, the fleet sailed, just four
months too late, and after a very stormy passage, which scattered
the ships in all directions, the bulk of the transports arrived at
St. Rupert's Bay, Dominica, on the 3rd of January 1741. Already
the force had suffered heavy losses. The fleet was very sickly,
over one hundred soldiers had died, and worst of all, Lord Cathcart
himself had been seized with dysentery and was also dead.[141]
Wentworth assumed the command in his stead; and the fleet after a
day or two proceeded to St. Kitts, where all the missing ships were
found at anchor safe and sound. But among them too sickness had
made sad havoc, and of the six hundred marines transferred despite
Cathcart's warnings to the men-of-war, many were dead and few fit
for duty. From thence the fleet sailed, as had been appointed,
for Jamaica, where it found Vernon's squadron awaiting it in the
harbour, and the American battalions, now regimented under the
command of Colonel Gooch, in camp on the island. The Americans
were in a very bad state. Their ranks had been filled without
difficulty, but with bad material: they were guiltless of drill or
discipline, and on arrival at Jamaica had at once become disorderly
and mutinous. There was good excuse for their discontent, for the
English Government, though it had made arrangements for the payment
and victualling of the British troops, had made none whatever for
the Americans, who were thus compelled to fall back on such meagre
resources as Jamaica could provide.[142] Moreover, the Americans
were even more sickly than the British, and had buried scores of
men since their disembarkation. By the first returns sent home from
Jamaica it appears that of the nine thousand soldiers who had
started from England and America in October, seventeen officers and
six hundred men had died before the end of the year, while fifteen
hundred more were actually on the sick-list.[143]

[Sidenote: Feb. 24/March 7.]

Still the survivors remained in good spirits. There was for the
present all possible harmony between army and navy,[144] and
the losses could to some extent be made good by embarking the
four independent companies which lay in garrison in Jamaica. But
meanwhile the French fleet was concentrated off the coast of
Hispaniola, and until it should be dispersed the commanders dared
not undertake any operations against the Spanish Main. It is true
that France and England were not at open war; but this, as shall
presently be seen, was no reason why the fleets and armies of the
two nations should not fight each other. When, therefore, the fleet
at last sailed from Jamaica on the 7th of March, Vernon was fully
resolved to attack the French if he should fall in with them.[145]
He was, however, relieved of any such responsibility. Sickness had
driven the French fleet back from the Caribbean Sea to Brest, and
the British were free to go whither they would. It was thereupon
decided to attack Carthagena without delay, for though Cathcart's
instructions gave Wentworth the option of first attempting Havana,
yet the Cuban port was considered to be too well defended, whereas
Carthagena would, it was hoped, fall an easy prey. The fact was
that Vernon had set his heart on Carthagena, and he found little
difficulty in carrying his point.

[Sidenote: March 4/15.]

On the 15th of March, accordingly, the fleet anchored at Playa
Grande, two leagues to windward of Carthagena, and the English
commanders could judge of the work before them. The city of
Carthagena lies at the head of an inland lake, which extends at
its greatest length for some seven miles north and south. To this
lake there are two entrances, of which the eastern, known from its
narrowness as the Boca Chica or Little Mouth, alone was practicable
for line-of-battle ships. The western side of the Boca Chica was
defended by three forts--St. Jago and San Felipe at the entrance
from the sea, and Fort Boca Chica, a far more formidable work,
half way up the passage. On the eastern side a fascine-battery
had been thrown up at the entrance, while another stronghold,
Fort St. Joseph, sealed up the inner end. To force the Boca Chica
so as to admit the fleet to the harbour was the first task to be
accomplished by Wentworth and Vernon.

[Sidenote: March 9/20.]

[Sidenote: March 11/22.]

On the 20th of March a portion of the squadron, under Admiral
Sir Chaloner Ogle, battered down the forts of St. Jago and San
Felipe; three hundred grenadiers were successfully landed on the
western shore of the Boca Chica; and on the 22nd the whole of the
land-forces were disembarked excepting the Thirty-fourth, the
Thirty-sixth, and the Americans, of which last, owing to their
indiscipline, but three hundred were trusted ashore. From the
moment of disembarkation Wentworth seems to have lost his head. He
knew his profession by book, but he was wholly without experience.
Though encamped on an island surrounded everywhere by at least
a league of water, he lived in mortal terror of a surprise, and
posted guards so numerous and so strong that he could hardly find
men to relieve them. Vernon and Ogle watched him with amazement for
two days, and then losing all patience sent him a letter, the first
of a very remarkable series that was to pass between Admirals and
General before Carthagena. "Push forward part of your force to Fort
Boca Chica," they said in effect, "put the rest of your men under
canvas, hasten your engineers to the siege of the fort, and choose
a few picked men for your guards instead of harassing your whole
army."[146] It was excellent if elementary advice, though hardly
such as a General looks for from an Admiral.

[Sidenote: March 12/23.]

[Sidenote: March 22/April 2.]

Wentworth, to do him justice, seems to have taken this counsel in
good part, but the delay in opening the siege of Fort Boca Chica
was not altogether his fault. There was but one engineer in the
whole army who was the least competent to carry on a siege, and
there seems to have been considerable difficulty, first in getting
him to the scene of action at all, and secondly in making him work
when he reached it.[147] Ground was broken at last on 23rd March,
but when the batteries had been built, there were so few efficient
artillerymen with the army that Vernon's seamen were perforce
borrowed to work the guns. Finally, on the 2nd of April Wentworth
opened fire; and then it was discovered that by some mistake the
camp had been pitched directly in the same straight line with the
battery, so that every shot from Fort Boca Chica that flew over
the British guns fell among the tents, killing and wounding over
a hundred men on the first day. Nevertheless, with the help of a
furious cannonade from some of the men-of-war, the guns of Fort
Boca Chica were silenced, and then Vernon and Ogle began again to
stir up Wentworth to action. "We hope," they wrote on the 3rd of
April, "that you will order your troops to make a lodgment under
Boca Chica to-night ... the longer you delay, the harder your work
will be." Wentworth hesitated, and nothing was done. "You ought to
storm the fort to-night before the moon rises," they wrote again
on the 4th. Wentworth still hesitated, and another day was lost.
Then the naval officers became more peremptory. "Diffidence of your
troops," they wrote, "can only discourage them. In our opinion
you have quite men enough for the attack of so paltry a fort.
You should have built another battery, for your men would be all
the healthier for more work. Knowing the climate, we advise you
to pursue more vigorous measures in order to keep your men from

The tone of the two sailors towards the soldier was rather that
of a contemptuous nurse towards a timid child, but the last
letter had the desired effect, for Wentworth ordered the fort to
be stormed on the very same day. The English no sooner mounted
the breach than the Spaniards fled almost without firing a shot,
and the dreaded fort of Boca Chica fell into Wentworth's hands at
the cost of two men wounded. Moreover, the Spaniards in the forts
on the other side of the channel also partook in the panic and
abandoned them, leaving the entrance to the harbour open to the
British. The operations so far had cost one hundred and thirty men
killed and wounded, but two hundred and fifty had perished from
sickness, and over six hundred were in hospital. The rest of the
work needed to be done quickly if it were to be done at all.

[Sidenote: April 5/16.]

[Sidenote: April.]

It was, however, first necessary to re-embark all the troops in
order to carry them to the head of the harbour for the attack on
the city of Carthagena. This process occupied more than a week, and
did not improve relations between army and navy. Vernon had already
complained loudly, and probably with some justice, of the laziness
of the soldiers: the blue-jackets had done all the hard work at the
first landing of the regiments, and they were now called upon to
do it again. At length, however, the transports got under way and
proceeded towards the inner harbour, the entrance to which, like
that of the outer port, lay through a narrow channel with a large
fort, called the Castillo Grande, on one side, and a small redoubt
on the other. The passage was more effectually blocked by a number
of sunken ships which the Spaniards had scuttled after the forcing
of Boca Chica. The fleet, however, quickly disposed of all these
obstacles. The Spaniards abandoned Castillo Grande, and the naval
officers, with their usual deftness, contrived to find a channel
through the sunken ships. A few broadsides cleared the beach for
the disembarkation, and on the 16th of April Wentworth landed.
He had begged hard for five thousand men, but had been answered
curtly, though not unjustly, by the naval commanders that, while
they were ready to land them if required, they thought fifteen
hundred men quite sufficient, since time above all things was
precious.[148] So with fifteen hundred men Wentworth proceeded to
the further task before him. There was now but one outwork between
him and Carthagena, a fort standing on an eminence about seventy
feet above the plain, and called Fort St. Lazar. The approach to it
from the head of the harbour lay through a narrow defile, at the
mouth of which the Spaniards offered some slight resistance. They
soon gave way on the advance of the British, but poor Wentworth,
always a General by book, with his head full of ambuscades and
other traps for the unwary, halted his men instead of pushing on
boldly, or he would almost certainly have carried Fort St. Lazar
then and there, and broken into Carthagena itself on the backs of
the fugitives. Vernon had urged upon him on the day before that he
had only to act vigorously to ensure success, but Wentworth was
far too much oppressed by the responsibilities of command to avail
himself of such sound advice. He advanced no further than to within
a league of St. Lazar, encamped, and pressed the Admiral to send
him the remainder of his men.

Vernon acceded to the request, but with no very good grace. "I send
the men," he wrote, "but I still think such a number unnecessary.
Delay is your worst enemy; their engineers are better than yours,
and a vigorous push is your best chance. No time should be lost in
cutting off the communication between the town and the surrounding
country. We hope that you will be master of St. Lazar to-morrow."
The advice was sounder than ever, but Wentworth could not nerve
himself to act on it. Shielding himself behind the vote of a
council of war, he replied that the escalade of St. Lazar was
impossible; the walls were too high and the ditch too deep. Would
it not be possible, he asked, for the ships to batter the fort
and sweep the isthmus that divided the town from the surrounding
country for him. This was too much. The fleet had borne the brunt
of the work so far, but it could not do everything. Vernon's tone,
always overbearing, now became almost violent. "Pointis,[149] who
knew the climate, tried the escalade and succeeded," he retorted,
"the ships can do no more. If you had advanced at once when the
Spaniards fled from you, we believe that you would have taken St.
Lazar on the spot."

After digesting this unpalatable document for a day Wentworth
decided after all for an escalade. Though he lacked Vernon's
experience of the tropics he had a sufficient dread of the
rainy season, which had already sent sickness into his camp to
herald its approach. By some mischance, for which he disclaimed
responsibility, neither tents nor tools were landed with the
men;[150] and for three nights the troops, young, raw and
shiftless, were compelled to bivouac. On the third day they began
to fall down fast. A council of war was held, and although General
Blakeney, an excellent officer, opposed the project to the last,
it was decided to carry St. Lazar by assault. The fort indeed was
nothing very formidable in itself, and could have been knocked to
pieces without difficulty from another eminence called La Popa,
about three hundred yards from it. The only engineer, however, had
been killed before Boca Chica was taken, the artillerymen were
wholly ignorant of their duty, and the tools had not been landed;
so that although a battery on La Popa would have served the double
purpose of destroying St. Lazar and battering the walls of the
city, no attempt was made to erect it. And meanwhile the Spaniards
had made use of their respite to strengthen St. Lazar by new
entrenchments which were far from despicable, and had reinforced
the garrison from the town. There, however, the matter was; and
the problem, though it might be difficult in itself, was so far
simple in that it admitted of but one solution. St. Lazar was
practically inaccessible except on the side of the town, where it
was commanded by the guns of Carthagena. The fort must, therefore,
be carried from that side before daylight, and carried as quickly
as possible.

[Sidenote: April 9/20.]

Early in the morning of the 20th of April the columns of attack
were formed. First came an advanced party of fifty men backed by
four hundred and fifty grenadiers under Colonel Wynyard, then the
two old regiments, the Fifteenth and Twenty-fourth, jointly one
thousand strong; after them a mixed company of the Thirty-fourth
and Thirty-sixth; then the Americans with woolpacks and
scaling-ladders, and finally a reserve of five hundred of Wolfe's
marines. The design was to assault the north and south sides of St.
Lazar simultaneously, Wynyard taking the southern or weaker face,
while Colonel Grant with the old regiments, on which Wentworth
principally relied, assaulted the northern. A couple of Spanish
deserters were at hand to guide the columns to their respective

At four o'clock the march began, the fireflies still flickering
overhead against the darkness, the air close and still, and
alive with the chirping, whistling, and croaking of the noisy
tropic night. Within the camp men were lying in scores under the
scourge of yellow fever, some tossing and raving in delirium, some
gasping in the agonies of the last fatal symptom, some prostrate
in helpless and ghastly collapse, waiting only for the dead hour
before the dawn when they should die. These were left behind, and
the red columns disappeared silently into the darkness. Before long
Wynyard's men reached the foot of the hill and began the ascent.
The ground before them was so steep that they were forced to climb
upon their hands and knees, and the officers began to doubt whether
their guides might not have played them false. Still the grenadiers
scrambled on almost to the top of the hill, and then suddenly,
at a range of thirty yards, the Spaniards opened a deadly fire.
Now was the time for a rush, which would have swept the Spaniards
pell-mell from their entrenchments. One man with the traditions of
Cutts the Salamander would have carried the fort in two minutes;
a few score of undisciplined Highlanders with naked broadswords
would have mastered it even without a leader; but the officers had
no experience except of the parade ground. They were conscious of
a heavy fire in front and flanks, so they wheeled their platoons
outwards to right and left for "street-firing," as it was called,
and advanced slowly in perfect order, the men firing steadily at
the flashes of cannon and musketry that blazed before them over
the parapet. Raked through and through by grape and round shot,
the soldiers stood without flinching for a moment, and loaded and
fired as they had been taught, while the grenadiers lit their fuses
coolly and hurled their hand-grenades into the belt of flame before
them. They did not know, poor fellows, that the grenades provided
for them were so thick, owing to the negligence of the authorities
of the Ordnance, that not one in three of them would burst. So
Wynyard's column fired dutifully on, though the men that composed
it were mown down like grass.

On the northern face of the hill, where Grant's column was engaged,
a like tragedy was enacted. Grant himself was shot down early,
and after his fall no man seemed to know what should be done. The
men faced the fire gallantly enough and returned it with perfect
order and steadiness, but without effect. There were calls for the
woolpacks and scaling-ladders, but the undisciplined Americans had
long since thrown them down and fled; and even had the ladders
been forthcoming they were too short by ten feet to be of use.
There were appeals for guns to silence the Spanish artillery, but
these had been placed in the rear of the columns and were not to
be brought forward. So for more than an hour this tragical fight
went on. Day dawned at length; the light grew strong, and the guns
of Carthagena opened fire on Grant's column with terrible effect.
Still the English stood firm and fired away their ammunition. It
was all that they had been bidden to do, and they did it. Wynyard,
his grenadiers once thrown into action, seemed incapable of
bringing up other troops to support them. General Guise, who was
in charge of the combined attack, showed magnificent courage and
set a superb example, but it was something more than courage that
was wanted. It was now broad daylight, and the Spaniards began with
unerring aim to pick off the English officers. Finally, a column of
Spanish infantry issued from the gates of Carthagena to cut off the
English from their ships, and at last at eight o'clock Wentworth
gave the order to retire, Wolfe's marines coming forward to cover
the retreat. The troops had been suffering massacre for close on
three hours, but until that moment not a man turned his back. There
was no pursuit and the retreat was conducted in good order; but the
troops, who had borne up hitherto against hardship and sickness,
were thoroughly and hopelessly disheartened.

[Sidenote: April 10/21.]

[Sidenote: April 14/25.]

The losses in the assault were very heavy. Of the fifteen hundred
English engaged, forty-three officers and over six hundred men
were killed and wounded, and the Fifteenth and Twenty-fourth both
lost over a fourth of their numbers. The treachery of the guides
was answerable for much, but the mismanagement of the officers was
responsible for more. Colonel Grant was picked up alive, indeed,
but desperately wounded. "The General ought to hang the guides and
the King ought to hang the General," he gasped out in his agony;
and a few hours later he was dead. Wentworth, striving hard to
put a good face on the disaster, ordered a battery to be erected
against Fort St. Lazar on that same evening; but by this time
yellow fever had seized hold of the army in good earnest, and it
was a question not of building batteries but of digging graves.
On the 21st the General called a council of war and announced to
the Admiral its decision that the number of men was insufficient
for the work, and that the enterprise must be abandoned. "Since
the engineers or pretended engineers of the army declare that
they do not know how to raise a battery, we agree," answered
Vernon and Ogle, "though if our advice had been taken we believe
that the town might have fallen." Then with studied insolence of
tone they proceeded to offer a few obvious suggestions for the
withdrawal of the troops. The military officers, not a little hurt,
remonstrated in mild terms against the taunt, and after a short
wrangle Wentworth requested a general council of war, by which it
was finally determined that the attack on Carthagena must be given
up as impracticable.

[Sidenote: April 17/28.]

It was indeed high time. Between the morning of Tuesday the 18th
and the night of Friday the 21st of April the troops had dwindled
from sixty-six hundred to thirty-two hundred effective men. The two
old regiments had been much shattered in the attack of St. Lazar,
and the residue of the British force consisted chiefly of young
soldiers, while the twelve hundred Americans who still survived
were distrusted by the whole army, and were in fact little better
than an encumbrance. On the 28th the troops were re-embarked, poor
Wentworth being careful to carry away every scrap of material
lest the Spaniards should boast of trophies. The naval officers
grudgingly consented to blow up the defences of Boca Chica, and
then for ten terrible days the transports lay idle in the harbour
of Carthagena.

[Sidenote: April 24/May 5.]

The horrors of that time are quite indescribable. By the care
of Cathcart hospital-ships had indeed been provided for the
expedition, but these had neither nurses, surgeons, cooks, nor
provisions. "The men," wrote Smollett, himself a surgeon on board
a man-of-war, "were pent up between decks in small vessels where
they had not room to sit upright; they wallowed in filth; myriads
of maggots were hatched in the putrefaction of their sores, which
had no other dressing than that of being washed by themselves in
their own allowance of brandy; and nothing was heard but groans
and lamentations and the language of despair invoking death to
deliver them from their miseries." So these poor fellows lay in
this sickly, stifling atmosphere, with the raging thirst of fever
upon them, while the tropical sun burnt fiercely overhead or the
tropical rain poured down in a dense, gray stream, filling the
air with that close clammy heat which even by a healthy man is
grievous to be borne. The sailors also suffered much, though less
heavily, being many of them acclimatised; and surgeons could have
been spared from the men-of-war for the transports could Wentworth
have been brought to ask them of Vernon, or Vernon to offer them
to Wentworth. So while the commanders quarrelled the soldiers
perished. Officers died as fast as the men, all discipline on
the transports came to an end, and the men gave themselves up to
that abandoned listlessness which was seen in Schomberg's camp in
Ireland, when the bodies of dead comrades were used to stop the
draughts in the tents. Day after day the sailors rowed ashore to
bury their boats' loads of corpses, for there was always order
and discipline in the ships of war; but the raw soldiers simply
dragged their dead comrades up on deck and dropped them overboard,
without so much as a shroud to their bodies or a shot to their
heels. Vernon railed furiously at this nastiness, as he called
it,[151] not reflecting that men untrained to the sea might know no
better. So after a few hours the bodies that had sunk beneath the
water came up again to the surface and floated, hideous and ghastly
beyond description, about the transports, while schools of sharks
jostled each other in the scramble to tear them limb from limb,
and foul birds with ugly, ragged wings flapped heavily above them
croaking for their share. Thus the air was still further poisoned,
sickness increased, and the harbour became as a charnel-house. At
length, on the 5th of May, it was resolved to return to Jamaica;
and two days later the fleet sailed away from the horrors of
Carthagena. By that time the men nominally fit for service were
reduced to seventeen hundred, of whom not above a thousand were in
a condition to be landed against an enemy.[152]

[Sidenote: August 12/23.]

[Sidenote: August 18/29.]

Arrived at Jamaica the commanders deliberated as to what should
next be done. There were still men enough, it was thought, for a
successful descent upon Cuba, though the British regiments were
terribly short of officers, having lost over one hundred since they
had left England. But the plague was not stayed by the removal to
Jamaica. Within the month that elapsed after the abandonment of
Carthagena eleven hundred men died; the strength of the British
was reduced to fourteen hundred, and of the Americans to thirteen
hundred, men.[153] For the next three weeks the troops continued
to die at the rate of one hundred a week, the Americans, as always
throughout this expedition, perishing even more rapidly than the
British. At last, after long disputes, it was decided to make
an attempt upon Santiago de Cuba. The fleet sailed on the 23rd
of August, and on the 29th anchored on the north coast of the
island, in a bay which Vernon, in honour of Prince William, named
Cumberland Haven.

Then the Admiral again came forward with the same advice as he had
offered at Carthagena. He urged Wentworth to take a picked force
of a thousand men only, together with a thousand bearers, and with
this column to make a forced march and take Santiago by surprise,
the fleet meanwhile co-operating by sea. In the hands of an
enterprising commander it is possible that such a plan might have
succeeded; it was in fact just such a stroke as had been beloved
of Drake and of the greatest of the buccaneers, but it was beyond
the spirit of Wentworth. The risk indeed was great. The town lay
ninety miles distant from Cumberland Haven, the only road was a
path cut through the jungle, and there were rivers on the way which
a few hours of rain might render impassable whether for advance or
retreat. In a word Wentworth would have none of such ventures. The
ill-feeling between army and navy was embittered; the troops lay
idle in their camp, and, worst of all, sickness increased rather
than abated at the close of the rainy season. By the middle of
November there were hardly sufficient men to supply reliefs for
the ordinary guards, and at the beginning of December there were
less than three hundred privates fit for duty. A council of war was
called, and it was decided to re-embark the troops for Jamaica,
whither Wentworth, despite violent protests from Vernon, decided to
accompany them.

[Sidenote: 1742.]

[Sidenote: March 9/20.]

[Sidenote: May.]

Still the curtain was not yet to fall on this awful drama. The
military force was now so much reduced that four of the eight
regiments were drafted into the other four, and only the Fifteenth,
Twenty-fourth, Wolfe's, and Fraser's were left. The yellow fever
continued to rage unchecked. Two hundred and fifty of the men left
in hospital by Wentworth on his departure for Cuba died in a single
fortnight.[154] Then in February 1742 there came a reinforcement
of three thousand men, namely, one battalion of the Royal Scots,
the Sixth, and the Twenty-seventh Foot. They arrived healthy,
but began to sicken at once.[155] All kinds of new projects were
now debated, an attack on Guatemala, on Yucatan, on Panama; but
the troops continued to die at the rate of fifteen men a day,
and it was of little profit to discuss plans in the presence of
such a general as yellow fever. At length, after much delay, the
expedition put to sea for the third time, and sailed against
Porto Bello. The voyage was protracted by inclement weather to
nineteen days, and at the end of those nineteen days, although
none but healthy and selected men had been embarked, the Sixth
regiment alone had thrown ninety-eight corpses overboard, and of
the whole force nearly a thousand were sick or dead.[156] In such
circumstances the enterprise was abandoned, and the expedition,
once more delayed by unfavourable weather, returned again to
Jamaica. There the hospitals were emptier and the graveyards fuller
than at Wentworth's departure, for five hundred of the sick which
he had left behind him had succumbed. The survivors who returned
from Porto Bello soon filled up the hospital again, and by the end
of July it was crowded with eight hundred men. One hundred and
fifty of these died in August, and three hundred more were dead
by the middle of October. By this time such few men as remained
of the four thousand Americans had been discharged, the survivors
numbering little more than three hundred, and all hope of further
operations had been abandoned. The commanders indeed still met and
discussed their plans with each other and with Governor Trelawny,
the contention growing so hot between them that Trelawny and Sir
Chaloner Ogle drew their swords upon each other, and were with
difficulty prevented by Wentworth from adding to the death-roll.
But when yellow fever is killing men before they can arrive within
range to kill each other, councils of war are even less than
ordinarily profitable. Of the regiments that had sailed from St.
Helen's under Cathcart in all the pride and confidence of strength,
nine men in every ten had perished.[157]

A great historian has asked, When did this Spanish war end?[158]
and the answer is that it ended imperceptibly in the gradual
annihilation of the contending armies by yellow fever. The French
fleet was driven back to France by it, the Spaniards were left
defenceless by it, the English were palsied for attack by it. There
was indeed desultory fighting, not without incidents of signal
gallantry, between the colonists of Carolina and Georgia and their
Spanish neighbours in Florida, but the operations were too trifling
to merit record in this place. The one gleam of light in the whole
dark history is the heroic voyage of Anson, who had been sent
round Cape Horn, with some vague idea that his fleet and Vernon's
should co-operate in attacks on Central America. In Anson's fame
the Army also has some faint though melancholy share, for about
three hundred Chelsea pensioners, weak, aged, and infirm, were
barbarously driven on board his ships, nominally to man them, but
in reality only to find at sea the grave which past service should
have ensured them on English soil. Whether with Anson or with
Vernon, whether on the Atlantic or the Pacific, the war had nothing
but failure and death for the red-coats.

It remains to say something of the human share in the catastrophe
of the expedition to Carthagena. Wentworth has hitherto been made
the scapegoat for every misfortune, and it is probable that he
must remain so; yet the blame of the avoidable disasters must
not be laid wholly to his charge. So far as he had been tried up
to the time of his command he had proved himself a diligent and
painstaking officer; he had been installed as Cathcart's second by
Cathcart's own request, and could he have remained a subordinate
would probably have done well enough. Though lacking experience of
active service, in or out of the tropics, he did his best to make
good the deficiency by consulting those officers who knew more
than himself. He tried his hardest to work in concert with the
naval officers, and never wrote home a word of complaint against
Vernon until he had endured his arrogant and overbearing tone for
more than a year. But his own training, like that of his men, had
been mechanical only, and he could neither rise above the stiff
formalities of his profession himself, nor raise his men above
them. It will be seen that this same mechanical training could
produce astonishing results on the familiar battlegrounds of
Flanders, but it was out of place on the Spanish Main, as it was
soon to prove itself out of place on the Ohio. Again, poor workman
though Wentworth was, the tools to his hand were not good. He
himself had only with great difficulty taught six of his regiments
the rudiments of discipline in the Isle of Wight. His regimental
officers were, without exception, young and inexperienced, while
some few of them, who had obtained commissions through political
jobbery, are described as the most abandoned wretches of the town.
The American troops, which formed a third of the whole force,
were incomparably worse than the worst of the English, and being
made up to some extent of Irish papists were more than a little
untrustworthy. Again, although the least foresight must have shown
that the brunt of the work would fall upon the artillery, the
gunners furnished to Wentworth were raw yokels, just caught up from
the plough and wholly ignorant of their duty, while their commander
was incapable, and his second a drunkard. Of the engineers it is
sufficient to repeat that after the chief was killed not one could
be found with the slightest knowledge of his duty. Moreover, of
the eight battering cannon furnished to him one was found to be
unserviceable and the rest were all of different patterns, while
the shells, like the hand-grenades, were of bad quality. Again, the
stores of all kinds were so unspeakably bad as to call forth the
bitterest complaints from Wentworth; and beyond all doubt bad food
contributed to increase the sickliness of the Army and to weaken
the men against the attacks of yellow fever. In fact, the trail
of the incompetent Newcastle is over the whole expedition; but
these blunders and deficiencies only the less excuse Wentworth for
failing to adopt a swifter and more dashing system of operations.

[Illustration: CARTHAGENA 1741.

  _From a contemporary plan by
  Capt. Ph. Durrell._

  _Walker & Boutall del._      _To face page 78._

Vernon, on his side, boasted loudly that had he been invested
with the sole command he would have accomplished every object at
a far lower sacrifice of life; and it is probable that he spoke
truth. Certainly he never ceased to impress upon Wentworth
the necessity for bold and active measures. Nevertheless it was
Vernon who was mainly responsible for the fatal friction between
army and navy. He seems to have been by nature a bully; imperious,
conceited, insolent, and without an idea of tact. The ill-feeling
between the two services had shown itself before the expedition
joined Vernon's fleet at Jamaica; and the Thirty-fourth regiment,
which had been detailed for service on the men-of-war, lost half
of its numbers through ill-usage on board ship before a shot was
fired. It would have been a sufficiently difficult task for Vernon
to have composed these differences, but far from attempting it he
set himself deliberately to aggravate them. Still, when the whole
history of the expedition is examined the blame for its failure
must rest not with the General, not with the Admiral, not even
with the Government, but with those benighted and unscrupulous
politicians who gambled away the efficiency of the Army and of the
military administration for the petty triumphs of party and the
petty emoluments of place and power.

  AUTHORITIES.--The most familiar account of the expedition to
  Carthagena is of course that of Smollett, a great part of which
  is repeated in _Roderick Random_. Other sources are the _State
  Papers, Colonial Series_, "North America and West Indies," No.
  61, and _Admiralty Papers_, "Jamaica," No. 1. There is indeed
  more to be gleaned from the enclosures sent home by Vernon than
  from Wentworth's despatches. All the returns, however, are in the
  _Colonial Series_, as well as a criticism of the conduct of the
  expedition, and an excellent narrative by Lord Elibank.


[Sidenote: 1740.]

[Sidenote: Oct. 9/20.]

[Sidenote: 1741.]

[Sidenote: April 1/12.]

Long before the enterprise against the Spanish Main had worn itself
out to its tragical end, all Europe had been kindled into a blaze
of war. On the 20th of October 1740, while Cathcart was still
impatiently awaiting the fair wind which should carry him from
Spithead, the Emperor Charles the Sixth died, leaving his daughter
Maria Theresa sole heiress of his dominions. Her succession had
already been recognised by the powers of Europe through their
guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction, but on such guarantees little
trust was to be reposed. The principal rival to the Queen of
Hungary was the Elector of Bavaria, and France, mindful of her
old friendship with Bavaria, was ready enough to wreak her old
hostility upon the House of Austria by upholding him. England
and Holland alone, commercial nations to whom a contract was a
thing not lightly to be broken, felt strongly as to their duty in
supporting the young Queen. The various states of Germany were as
usual self-seeking and disunited, watching greedily to make what
profit they could out of the helpless House of Hapsburg. Frederick
of Prussia, not yet named the Great, was the first to move. He had
but recently come to the throne, inheriting together with it the
most efficient army in Europe, and a large stock of ready money.
Moving, as ever, promptly, swiftly, and silently, he invaded
Silesia, and by a signal victory over the Austrians at Mollwitz
called the whole of Europe to arms.

France, with visions not only of acquiring new territory in
Germany, but of paying off old scores against England through
Hanover, had begun to weave great schemes even before the fight of
Mollwitz. The most remarkable of living French statesmen, Marshal
Belleisle, having thought out his plans and obtained the royal
sanction for them, started off in March 1741 on a tour of visits
to the courts of Europe; his object being to persuade them, first
to renounce the Pragmatic Sanction, and secondly to support the
candidature of the Elector Charles Albert of Bavaria against that
of Maria Theresa's husband, the Grand Duke Francis of Lorraine, for
the imperial crown. This done, he seems to have hoped to partition
Austria proper between Saxony and Prussia, and to divide all
Germany and the Empire into four weak kingdoms, Bavaria, Saxony,
Prussia, and Hungary, which by careful fostering of jealousies and
quarrels should be kept dependent on France.

[Sidenote: Dec. 4/15.]

[Sidenote: 1742.]

[Sidenote: February.]

Charles Albert of Bavaria, Augustus of Saxony, Frederick of Prussia
and the Queen of Spain were gained over by Belleisle with little
difficulty; but Hanover, with England at its back, stood out for
the Pragmatic Sanction. In England the sympathy with Maria Theresa
was strong, and Walpole in the session of 1741 obtained from
Parliament a pledge to maintain her succession, a subsidy of three
hundred thousand pounds to tide her over financial difficulties,
and an acknowledgment of England's obligation to assist her with a
force of twelve thousand men. He also attempted to detach Frederick
from Belleisle's confederacy, but with conspicuous ill-success.
Meanwhile King George went over to Hanover to assemble troops for
the support of Maria Theresa; and then France, always ready to
strike the first blow, sent two armies across the Rhine, one to
join hands with the forces of Bavaria and carry the war to the
gates of Vienna, the other straight upon Hanover itself. Thus
surprised, the King could do nothing but stipulate for one year's
neutrality for Hanover, promising also that during the same period
he would neither give help to the Queen of Hungary nor cast his
vote as an Elector of the Empire in her husband's favour. Bound
by this humiliating agreement, which had excited no less scorn
in England than in Austria, the King returned home to meet a new
parliament, which had been elected amid no ordinary excitement
owing to the disasters on the Spanish Main. Furious attacks were
made upon Walpole, who was held responsible for a war which he
had always deprecated, and for which he knew the nation to be
unprepared; and in less than two months he was driven from office.
Lord Wilmington succeeded him as nominal head of the Treasury, and
Lord Carteret, one of the few living Englishmen who could speak
German, took charge of foreign affairs. Parliament showed itself
more zealous than ever in the cause of Maria Theresa, and voted
her a subsidy of half a million, while Carteret prevailed with his
colleagues to send sixteen thousand British troops to Flanders to
act as her auxiliaries in arms. Finally, five millions were granted
for the prosecution of the war.

Notwithstanding that all these preparations could be aimed at no
power but France, the two nations were not supposed to be at war
with each other. The French had invented the phrase auxiliaries,
and had marched their armies into Germany under the shelter of
that innocent designation; and the English were foolish enough for
a time to follow their example. The movements of the French fleet
at the outset of Wentworth's expedition had, however, left little
doubt as to the hostility of France towards England, and the fact
had been settled beyond all dispute by some French despatches
intercepted by Vernon. The past year therefore had not passed
without additional military preparations on the part of England.
In January 1741 four more regiments of marines were raised over
and above those sent out with Wentworth; and simultaneously orders
were issued for the formation of seven new regiments of foot
under Colonels Fowke, Long, Houghton, Price, Cholmondeley, and De
Grangue. Of these the first six still remain with us, numbered
the Forty-third to the Forty-eighth. Throughout the summer also
a force of some five thousand men had been kept in camp near
Colchester under General Wade, in readiness to take the field.
Finally, the estimates for 1742 provided for a force on the British
establishment of sixty-two thousand men. Sufficient troops being
therefore presumably to hand, the next thing was to appoint a
commander, and the choice fell on John, Earl of Stair.

Stair was now close on seventy years of age, but despite a very
early beginning of a soldier's life, was still active and efficient
enough. At the age of nineteen he had fought at Steenkirk, already
with the rank of colonel; in Marlborough's first campaign he had
been the foremost in the breach in Cutts's mad assault upon Venloo;
he had served as a regimental officer at Blenheim, as a brigadier
at Ramillies, on Marlborough's staff at Oudenarde, and had been
present also at Malplaquet. He had been distinguished by particular
kindness and attention both from the great Duke and from Prince
Eugene, and had not failed to take to heart their teaching in
the art of war. Altogether he was not ill-qualified to command a
British army in its first active service on the continent since the
death of Marlborough.

[Sidenote: May 6/17.]

His first duties, however, were diplomatic, namely to induce the
States-General to permit the occupation of Nieuport and Ostend
by the British, as their bases of operations against the French
in the Austrian Netherlands. He was further instructed to allay
any feeling of distrust that might have been roused by Hanover's
declaration of neutrality, and if possible to engage the Dutch to
take an active part as auxiliaries of Queen Maria Theresa. It was
no easy task, for endless faction joined to an impossible form of
government had reduced the Dutch to the lethargy, inefficiency, and
helplessness which was their ruin; while, moreover, recollections
of the Peace of Utrecht were still strong enough to make them
diffident and cold towards any overtures from England. The
proposal to quarter a British garrison in the Netherlands was
therefore ill-received, until, in the nick of time, there came the
news that the Austrians, having made a desperate push to expel
Frederick of Prussia from Silesia, had been totally defeated by
him at the battle of Chotusitz. Such a blow to the Austrian cause
might bring about great results. Marshal Maillebois, with a French
army of forty thousand men, lay in Westphalia, blocking the march
of the Hanoverian troops if they should try to join the British,
and at the same time ready to pierce into Holland at any moment. In
such circumstances a contingent of British troops could not but be
valuable to the States, so leave was granted for the disembarkation
of the first British battalions at Ostend; and arrangements were
made, though with no very good grace, to find them quarters
in Bruges and Ghent. But as to throwing in their lot with the
British for the defence of the Pragmatic Sanction, the machinery
of the Dutch Government was too complicated, the minds of men too
cautious, and the spirit of those in authority too corrupt, to
permit the settlement of a matter of such importance without delay
of months or even years.

The British troops continued to arrive in driblets from England,
and Stair meanwhile, knowing that his movements must depend upon
those of the French, watched the situation with the keenest
interest. The French army of Bavaria, after a few trifling
successes on the Danube, had been rapidly swept back by the energy
of the Austrian General Khevenhüller. A portion of it, which had
penetrated into Bohemia and captured Prague, was still lying in
that kingdom under an incompetent commander, Marshal Broglie,
with Prague for its base. Little was to be feared from Broglie:
the really formidable enemy was Frederick of Prussia, whom Stair
was for detaching from Belleisle's confederacy at any cost. The
Prussian army once out of the way, the whole armed force of
Austria could be turned upon the French in Bohemia, who, owing to
Khevenhüller's successes on the Danube, must either be sacrificed
altogether, or rescued with great difficulty at the price of
denuding the whole French frontier of troops. It would then be
open to the Austrians to advance through the Palatinate and up the
Moselle into France, while the Dutch and English might either join
them or break straight in from the north upon Paris and put an end
to the war and to the mischief of French ambition for ever.

[Sidenote: May 31/June 11.]

So counselled Stair, with a clearness of judgment, alike as soldier
and statesman, that was not unworthy of his great master; but
unfortunately Maria Theresa would not come to terms with Frederick
without striking a last blow for Silesia, which ended, as has been
told, in the disaster of Chotusitz. Then at last she gave in; and
the Treaty of Breslau purchased the friendship of Frederick at
the cost of Silesia. Stair was instantly on the alert, for the
game seemed now to be in his hand. The French frontier towards the
Netherlands was but weakly defended; a feint of invasion in that
direction must certainly bring back Maillebois from Westphalia to
guard it, and then the road would be open for the junction of the
Hanoverians with the British. The Austrians had already fourteen
thousand troops in the country, which, added to the British and
their Allies, would make up a force superior to any that Maillebois
could bring together.[159] Carteret entered warmly into the plan;
and meanwhile events elsewhere had fallen out exactly according
to Stair's prevision. The Austrians, relieved from the pressure
of Frederick and his Prussians, turned all their strength against
the French in Bohemia, and swept them out of all their posts
except Prague, wherein they held the wreck of the French force
closely besieged. Maillebois was called away to Bohemia to save the
beleaguered army if he could, and the whole of the French frontier
towards Flanders lay open, with little more than twenty thousand
men to protect it. This was the moment for which Stair had waited,
hardly daring to hope that it would ever come, and he urged that
the whole of the forces present, alike of England, Hanover, and
Austria, should be concentrated for an immediate attack on Dunkirk,
where the best of the French troops were known to be gathered
together. These troops once beaten, the road would be clear for a
march to Paris.[160]

But just at this moment King George suddenly turned lukewarm. He
was not at war with France, he said, and his troops were acting
simply as auxiliaries to the Queen of Hungary. France could take
no offence at their presence, as her troops were likewise employed
only as auxiliaries to the Elector of Bavaria.[161] Again, there
were sundry arrangements to be adjusted before the troops of the
Allies could be concentrated. It was, therefore, not until the 24th
of August that orders were despatched to the Hanoverians to march;
and even then King George was inclined rather to bar the return
march of Maillebois from Bohemia at the Meuse than to strike at
the heart of his enemy at Dunkirk. Then, again, the men of skill
in England, as Stair contemptuously called the council of war at
Whitehall, thought the attack on Dunkirk too venturesome; and the
plan was disapproved, chiefly, it should seem, because the King
had some idea of taking command of the Army in person.[162] Stair
meanwhile was chafing with impatience, concerting new plans with
the Austrian commanders, and promising himself that his winter
quarters should be in Normandy. His design now was to march
straight for the head of the Oise, which would give him a navigable
river for his transport, and to move from thence direct upon Paris.
The French troops on the spot were few in number and would not dare
to leave Dunkirk. The road for two-thirds of the journey to the
Oise was paved, and the short distance that remained, therefore,
constituted the only difficulty, by no means insuperable, in the
way. Arrived at Paris the army could take artillery from the
arsenal there, and move down the Seine to the siege of Havre.
Finally, Stair promised that, if the King would give him a free
hand, he would enable him before the 12th of October to dictate his
own terms.[163]

The plan was daring enough, but Stair was neither a visionary nor
an idle boaster, and there appears no reason to doubt that it was
perfectly feasible. The French had recently fortified Dunkirk
anew, and, as was not uncommon with them, had elaborated the works
to such excess that forty thousand men were required to defend
them. Unless, therefore, they chose to abandon Dunkirk, which they
could hardly afford to do, there remained no troops to check an
advance on Paris. But the design did not commend itself to the
King. He submitted it to General Wade, slowest and most cautious
of generals, who criticised it adversely; and meanwhile, whether
through jealousy or treachery or sheer mismanagement, the orders
for the Hanoverians to march were on one pretext or another delayed
until all hopes of a campaign of 1742 were banished by the coming
of the winter.[164]

[Sidenote: 1743.]

[Sidenote: February.]

Stair was deeply chagrined; and the discipline of his troops, who
had been long kept idle in quarters which they detested, suffered
so much that it was only restored by the strongest measures.[165]
The winter set in with unusual severity, making the ground easy
for purposes of transport and neutralising the value of the
inundations on which the fortresses of the north-west frontier
of France depended chiefly for their defence. Stair was eager to
pounce upon some of them while the frost lasted, but the Austrian
generals would not hear of it. He then proposed to attack one or
other of the fortresses in Lorraine, Metz, Longwy, or Thionville,
preparatory to an invasion of France by the Moselle; but again
the Austrians dissented.[166] Their great object was to move King
George's army into Germany, in order to frighten some of the
minor German princes into alliance with Austria; and Stair, as he
bitterly complained, was so much hampered by his instructions that
he felt absolutely helpless.[167] The Hanoverians again, though
supposed to be under his command, received independent orders from
the King which were not communicated to Stair, and they declined to
obey any other.[168] At last, after many struggles with Austrian
generals and English ministers, the British army in February
1743 began its march eastward, as the Austrians had desired. The
regiments were sadly distressed by the absence of multitudes of
officers, who had gone home on leave for their duties in Parliament
or for more private and trivial objects. "I thought it hard to
refuse them leave," wrote Stair with biting sarcasm, "when they
said that their preferment depended on the interest of their
friends at Court. They had no notion that it depended on their
exertions here."[169] To such a pass had twenty years of peace
under Walpole brought the discipline of the Army.

Nevertheless Stair's recent severity had borne good fruit, and the
conduct both of officers and men in a winter's march of extreme
hardship and discomfort was such as to call forth his warmest
praise.[170] As the spring drew near, the question as to the plan
of the coming campaign became urgent. Fifty thousand French
troops had been moved to the Moselle to bar any invasion through
Lorraine, while all their forces in Flanders had been stationed on
the Meuse ready either to join their comrades on the Moselle, or to
advance to the Neckar in case the Allies should cross the Rhine to
the south of Cologne. Stair, with the spirit of his master strong
upon him, hinted at the desirability of a march to the Danube. The
Austrians, as he guessed, would certainly resume their advance from
the east against the French on that river as soon as the weather
permitted, and his plan was to close in upon them from the west and
fall upon their rear while the Austrians attacked them in front.
Such a project, however, was too bold for the caution of King
George, and, moreover, as he was always reminding Stair, though
the French were to be treated as enemies he was not at war with
France.[171] His final orders, given after immense delay, were that
Stair should occupy the heights of Mainz and command the junction
of the Rhine and Main.[172] Such a disposition was from a military
point of view sufficiently obscure; and indeed it had no military
object whatever, being designed simply to secure the choice of King
George's nominee for the vacant electorate of Mainz.

[Sidenote: May.]

[Sidenote: May 23/June 3.]

Very slowly, owing to the extreme difficulty of obtaining forage,
the forces, both native and mercenary, of England, Hanover, and
Austria were assembled on the north bank of the Main. Their
position extended from the Rhine to Aschaffenburg, and faced to
the south, while a bridge of boats was kept ready at Frankfort
for the passage of the river.[173] Meanwhile, a French army of
seventy thousand men, under Marshal Noailles, had quietly taken
up its station on the Upper Rhine near Spires, and was seeking
to establish communication with Bavaria and the Neckar, in order
to save what was left of Broglie's army while still it might;
though, at the same time, not without apprehensions as to the
danger of leaving the Palatinate and Lorraine open behind it. Stair
took in the situation at a glance. He was for crossing the Main,
following the left bank downward and taking up a position between
Oppenheim and Mainz. There he could threaten Noailles so closely
that he would not dare to detach any part of his army to Bavaria.
He would, moreover, have it in his power to attack the French on
the Neckar whenever he pleased; and finally, he could in due time
cross the Rhine westward, and force the French to retire on Landau
and Alsace, leaving Lorraine and the Netherlands open to invasion.
After some trouble Count d'Arenberg, a general neither very
enterprising nor very capable, who commanded the Austrians, appears
to have been converted to his views; and though the entire army was
even now not yet arrived at the rendezvous, the Allies on the 3rd
of June began the passage of the Main. A day or two later Stair
received intelligence that Noailles had left the Neckar and was
advancing along the high road from Darmstadt to Frankfort to attack
him. This road passed for a considerable distance through a forest,
and it was at its outlet from this forest that Stair took up his
position to await the French. D'Arenberg so strongly disapproved
of the whole proceeding that he withdrew the whole of the Austrian
dragoons to the right bank of the Main, in order to rescue the
shattered remnants that should be left of Stair's army after the
battle. Marshal Neipperg, his second, however, led the Austrian
infantry to the position of Stair's choice: and when Noailles
arrived on the following morning he withdrew without venturing to

[Sidenote: May 30/June 10.]

Meanwhile King George, who had arrived at Hanover a fortnight
before, was perfectly frantic. On Stair's first proposal to
cross to the south bank of the Main he had sent positive orders,
which reached Stair too late, that he was not to stir. The King
was surrounded by nervous Austrians who, having information of
Noailles's intended advance, were, or professed to be, in terror
lest the Allies should be beaten in detail, and did not fail to
represent how dreadful it would be if the army should be defeated
before His Majesty could take command. Letter after letter
therefore was despatched to Stair, bidding him above all things
to be careful, and finally ordering him to repass the Main. Stair
at first had prepared to obey orders, though not without speaking
his mind. "I am too careful of the King's interest," he wrote,
"to be rash, but I am sure of two things, that the French are far
more occupied with Bavaria than with us, and that we are superior
to them even in numbers. The importance of giving an army to a
person who is trusted is now evident. Had my plan been followed,
we should now be in a position to fall on the head of the French
army which, after sending away a detachment to Bavaria, is now
taking post along the Rhine." In truth, during the months of May
and June, the Austrians on the Danube had swept Broglie right
out of Germany; and Noailles's detachment no sooner reached him
than it was ordered forthwith to retreat. But when Stair heard of
Noailles's advance to attack him he quietly suppressed the King's
orders to repass the Main until he had offered battle to the
French. When Noailles refused it, Stair recrossed the river as he
had been bidden, unwillingly indeed, yet not a little satisfied
that after all the King's orders and all the Austrian predictions
of disaster, he had successfully proved the soundness of his views.
"But," he added significantly on arriving on the northern bank,
"it will be impossible for us now to find forage. The French being
masters of one side of the river, forage cannot be brought down to
us by water, so we must move upward." It was just this question of
supplies which had made him so anxious for a general action; and
the event proved that he was right.[174]

[Sidenote: June 8/19.]

[Sidenote: June 15/26.]

On the 19th of June King George at last arrived from Hanover
and took over the command of the army, which was encamped, as
he had ordered, on the right bank of the Main, the English and
Hanoverians lying about Aschaffenburg. In the hope of securing
forage on the other bank, a battery had been erected on the bridge
of Aschaffenburg, but Noailles, moving up to the river, erected a
redoubt at his own end of the bridge and put an end to all such
hopes. Meanwhile he seized a post further up the river to intercept
all supplies from Franconia, and threw two bridges over it below
Aschaffenburg at Seligenstadt, by which his troops could cross and
cut off the Allies from their magazines at Hanau. For a week the
King remained helpless in this camp, unwilling to retreat though
his peril increased every day. The result was that he found himself
in command of a starving army. It was impossible to keep the
soldiers from plunder, and discipline became seriously relaxed. At
last, on the 26th of June, it was perforce resolved that the army
must retreat to Hanau that very night.

[Sidenote: June 16/27.]

Meanwhile Noailles had not been idle. The ground on which the
Allies were encamped is a narrow plain pent in between the Spessart
Hills and the Main. These hills are densely wooded, and the forest
appears at that time to have descended lower into the plain than at
present. When therefore the Allies retired to Hanau, as Noailles
knew that inevitably they must, it would be impossible for them
to keep out of range of cannon posted on the opposite bank of
the Main, and accordingly the marshal had erected five different
batteries to play upon them during their march. At one o'clock on
the morning of the 27th intelligence was brought to him that the
Allies were in motion. This was the moment for which he had been
waiting. Instantly galloping to Seligenstadt, he ordered Count
Grammont to cross the Main with twenty-eight thousand men by the
two bridges which he had laid for the purpose, and to take up a
position about a mile up the river by the village of Dettingen. At
that point a rivulet runs down across the plain from the Spessart
Hills to the Main, through a little boggy dale which was uncrossed
by any bridge except by that of the high road to Hanau. There
Grammont was bidden to wait and to make an end of the Allies as
they defiled over the bridge. He took up his position accordingly,
and Noailles returned to the opposite bank of the Main to direct
his operations against King George's flank and rear.

It was four o'clock in the morning before the Allied army was
fairly in motion. The British cavalry led the way, followed by the
Austrian, then came the British infantry and the Austrian infantry
after them; and last of all came a strong rear-guard composed
of the British Guards, the choicest of the German infantry, and
the Hanoverian cavalry; for it was in the rear that an attack
of the French was most looked for and most to be dreaded. The
apprehensions of a French advance on Aschaffenburg were soon seen
to be well founded. The march of the Allies from that town lay
across a bend of the Main to the village of Klein Ostheim, and as
they approached the river they could see the French on the opposite
bank in full march to cross the river behind them and cut off their
retreat up the stream. Thus Noailles's dispositions were complete.
These troops were to block the Allies to the south, impenetrable
woods shut them off from the east, the Main barred their way on the
west, and Grammont stood before them at Dettingen on the north.
Noailles had caught them, as he said, in a mouse-trap, and might
reasonably feel certain that they could not escape.

On arriving about seven o'clock at Klein Ostheim, the whole army
of the Allies was obliged to file through it by a single road.
The cavalry, therefore, when it had passed through the village was
halted and wheeled round with its face to the river to wait till
the infantry should come up. This again Noailles had foreseen, and
he had planted his cannon in exactly the right place to play upon
the Allies when they should advance beyond the village. For an
hour the cavalry stood halted before the march could be resumed;
and now came intelligence from an advanced party in Dettingen that
Grammont was in order of battle in front and that an immediate
engagement was inevitable. King George hastened to set his army
likewise in order of battle; but all the baggage had been massed
between the first and second divisions of the column of route,
and the confusion for a time was very great. Meanwhile the French
troops bound for Aschaffenburg had by this time cleared the front
of the first of Noailles's batteries and left the guns free to open
fire. The shot soon came humming thick and fast into the heavy
mass of waggons and baggage-animals, and the confusion increased.
Guns were sent for in frantic haste to silence the French cannon,
but the artillery being far in the rear was long in making its
appearance: and meanwhile the King capered about on horseback in
great excitement, staff-officers galloped to and fro, and the
troops marched and counter-marched into their positions, always
under the deadly fire of the French battery. Gradually, though with
infinite difficulty, the troops were shuffled into their places,
for the stereotyped order of battle was useless in a plain that
permitted a frontage only of twenty-three battalions and a few
squadrons at most. So passed a terrible hour and more, until at
last the British guns came into action and replied effectively
to the French batteries; and then a push was made to shift the
baggage into a place of safety. In the middle of the plain between
Klein Ostheim and Dettingen stood a wood flanked on each hand by a
morass. Two lines of cavalry were moved forward towards this wood,
the baggage followed them, the infantry followed the baggage, and
the troublesome waggons were at last stowed away securely under
cover of the trees, while the cavalry and the Austrian infantry
made haste to form the right of the Allies' line of battle.

It was high time, for it was now almost noon, and Grammont, tired
of remaining where he had been bidden to wait on the north side
of Dettingen, or believing (as he himself said) that the Allies
had already passed him and that only their rear-guard was left,
had advanced beyond the ravine to take up a fresh position. So far
as the Allies could see, he was manœuvring to move troops down
under cover of the forest upon their right flank. By this time,
however, King George's line was formed, and on its extreme left
were seen the scarlet coats of the British battalions. To the left
of all, and within a furlong of the river, stood the Thirty-third
Foot, and to its right in succession the Twenty-first Fusiliers,
Twenty-third Fusiliers, Twelfth, Eleventh, Eighth and Thirteenth
Foot. On the right of the Thirteenth stood an Austrian brigade,
and then in succession the Blues, Life Guards, Sixth Dragoons,
and Royal Dragoons. All of these were in the first line. In the
second line, in rear of their comrades on the left, were posted the
Twentieth, Thirty-second, Thirty-seventh, Thirty-first, and the
Buffs; and in rear of the cavalry on the right, the Seventh Dragoon
Guards, King's Dragoon Guards, Fourth and Seventh Dragoons, and the
Scots Greys. Opposite to them the French were ranged in two lines
with a reserve in third line, the infantry being in the centre and
the cavalry on the flanks, so that the famous French Household
Cavalry,[175] in its place of honour on the extreme right, stood
opposed to the British battalions on the Allied left. General
Clayton, who commanded on the left, observing the mass of cavalry
that confronted him, sent hastily for the Third Dragoons to fill up
the gap between the Thirty-third and the river, and therewith the
British dispositions were complete.

The whole of the first line then advanced, the King, who had with
difficulty been prevented from stationing himself on the extreme
left, waving his sword and shouting words of encouragement with
a broad German accent. Fortunately the French were themselves
in great disorder and confusion. The corrupt dealing in the
appointment and promotion of officers, which fifty years later was
to set the French army on the side of the Revolution, was already
undermining efficiency and discipline. Grammont on advancing
beyond the ravine had thought out no new order of a battle. Not a
brigadier was competent to draw up his brigade, and the Household
Cavalry kept manœuvring about in front of the infantry without a
thought except for the fine figure that it was cutting in the sight
of both armies. The advance of the Allies was necessarily slow, for
some of the English regiments, whose way lay through the morasses,
were knee-deep in mire. The whole line was presently halted to take
breath, and the British, evidently a little shaken by the previous
hurry and confusion and by the gesticulations of the King, broke
into a feeble and irregular cheer, a sound which Lord Stair heard
with great displeasure. The line was dressed and the advance was
resumed in better order, though the French batteries on the other
bank of the Main never ceased to rain destruction on the Third
Dragoons and on the unfortunate battalions on the left. The men
were not yet quite steady, for some undisciplined spirits, fretting
at the incessant parade of the French Household Cavalry, opened an
irregular fire all along the line. Then, as it seems, came the most
comical incident of the day. King George's horse, frightened by
the crackle of the musketry, took the bit in his teeth and bolted
away to the rear, His Majesty, with purple face and eyes starting
out of his head, pulling desperately at him with both hands but
unable to stop him. Ultimately the animal's career was checked, and
the King returning to the right of the line dismounted and resumed
his gestures on foot, utterly fearless, as are all of his race,
and confident that his own legs, at least, would carry him in the
right direction. The line was again halted to load, there being
fortunately still time to repair previous faults, and the advance
was again resumed with greater steadiness.

Then the French infantry of the Guard on Grammont's right centre
advanced likewise, cheering loudly, and opened a fitful and
disorderly fire. The British, now thoroughly in hand, answered
with a regular, swift, and continuous fire of platoons, the ranks
standing firm like a wall of brass and pouring in volley after
volley, deadly and unceasing--such a fire as no French officer had
ever seen before.[176] The French Guards staggered under it and
the British again raised an irregular cheer. "Silence," shouted
Stair imperiously, galloping up. "Now one and all together when I
give the signal." And as he raised his hat the British broke into
the stern and appalling shout which was to become so famous on the
fields of the Peninsula. The French Guards waited for no more when
they heard it, but shrank back in disorder in rear of their horse,
which now advanced in earnest against the extreme British left.

Clayton saw the danger. His left flank in the general confusion
had never been properly secured, and though the fire of the French
batteries by the river had ceased lest it should destroy their own
troops, yet the Third Dragoons and the Thirty-third had been much
weakened by it during their advance. Despatching urgent messages
for reinforcements of cavalry, he put a bold face on the matter,
ordered the Dragoons, Thirty-third, Twenty-first, and Twenty-third
forward to meet the French attack, and prepared to stand the shock.
Down came the flower of the French cavalry upon them, sword in
hand, at high speed. The Third Dragoons were the first to close
with them. They were but two weak squadrons against nine squadrons
of the enemy, their depth was but of three ranks against eight
ranks of the French; but they went straight at them, burst into the
heart of them and cut their way through, though with heavy loss.
The Thirty-third faced the attack as boldly, never gave way for
an inch and brought men and horses crashing down by their eternal
rolling fire. Next to them the two regiments of Fusiliers were
even more hardly pressed. The Gendarmerie came down upon them at
full trot with pistols in both hands and swords dangling by the
wrist. Arrived within range they fired the pistols, dashed the
empty weapons in the faces of the British, and then fell in with
the sword; but the Fusiliers, as it was said, fought like devils,
their platoon-fire thundering out as regularly as on parade, and
the French horse fell back repulsed.

Still, gallantly as this first attack had been met, the numerical
superiority of the French cavalry was formidable, and there was
imminent danger lest the British left flank should be turned. The
Third Dragoons had suffered heavily, after their first charge, from
the bullets of a battalion posted in support of the French horse,
but they rallied, and twice more, weak and weary as they were, they
charged ten times their numbers and cut their way through them. But
after the third charge they were well-nigh annihilated. All the
officers except two, and three-fourths of the men and horses had
been killed or wounded; two of the three standards had been cut to
atoms, both silk and staves, by shot and shell, and in the last
charge the third had dropped from a cornet's wounded hand and lay
abandoned on the ground. A trooper of the regiment, Thomas Brown
by name, was just dismounting to recover it when a French sabre
came down on his bridle-hand and shore away two of his fingers. His
horse, missing the familiar pressure of the bit, at once bolted,
and before he could be pulled up had carried his rider into the
rear of the French lines. There Dragoon Brown saw the standard of
his regiment borne away in triumph by a French gendarme. Disabled
as he was he rode straight at the Frenchman, attacked and killed
him; and then gripping the standard between his leg and the saddle
he turned and fought his way single-handed through the ranks of
the enemy, emerging at last with three bullet-holes through his hat
and seven wounds in his face and body, but with the standard safe.

But now the First and Seventh Dragoons, which had been summoned
from the right, came galloping up and fell in gallantly enough
upon the French Household Cavalry. These were, however, repulsed,
partly, it should seem, because they attacked with more impetuosity
than order, partly because the French were armed with helmets
and breastplates heavy enough to turn a pistol shot. The Blues
followed close after them, but sacrificing order to speed were,
like their comrades, driven back in confusion; and the French
Gendarmes, flushed with success, bore down for the second time
upon the Twenty-first and Twenty-third and succeeded in breaking
into them. But the two battalions were broken only for a moment.
Quickly recovering themselves they faced inwards, and closing
in upon the French in their midst shot them down by scores. The
Fourth and Sixth British Dragoons, together with two regiments of
Austrian dragoons, now came up and renewed the combat against the
French Household Cavalry, but it was not until after they had been
twice repulsed that at last they succeeded, with the help of their
rallied comrades, in forcing back the intrepid squadrons of the
French horse.

Meanwhile the battle elsewhere had flagged. A feeble attack of the
French against the right of the Allies had been easily repelled,
and in the centre the second line of the French infantry had cared
little more than the first to face the terrible English fire. But
while the Gendarmerie were still pressing the British hard on the
left, the French Black Musketeers suddenly broke away from their
place by their side, and wheeling to their left galloped madly
between the fire of friendly and hostile infantry to make a dash
upon the British Royal Dragoons at the extreme right of the Allied
line. The Austrian Marshal Neipperg no sooner saw them than he
exclaimed: "Now is the time. The British horse will attack in
front, and our horse in flank, and the thing is done." British and
Austrians at once closed in upon the Black Musketeers, cut them to
pieces, and then bore down upon the flank of the French infantry.
The French foot, which had behaved very unworthily of itself all
day, now took to its heels and fled in confusion towards the Main.
The British horse on the left, one regiment in particular burning
to wipe out the humiliation of its first failure, pressed the
French Household Cavalry harder than ever in front, and the Scots
Greys plunging in upon their flank threw them into utter rout.
The whole French army now made headlong for the fords and bridges
of the Main, the infantry in their panic plunging madly into the
stream and perishing by scores if not by hundreds in the water. Now
was the moment for a vigorous pursuit, and had Stair been left to
work his own will the French would have suffered very heavily; but
the King was too thankful to have escaped from Noailles's mousetrap
to think of turning his good fortune to account. The Marshal was
allowed to retreat in peace, and thus, after four hours of sharp
work, ended the battle of Dettingen.

Seldom has a commander found more fortunate issue from a series of
blunders than King George. Had Grammont obeyed his orders it is
difficult to see how a man of the Allied Army could have escaped;
but even allowing for Grammont's ill-timed impatience it is strange
that Noailles should have allowed the day to go as it went. It is
true that he had sent the best of his troops across the Main with
Grammont, but he had still from twenty to thirty thousand men on
his own side of the river whom he left standing idle, without an
attempt to employ them. He seems, in fact, to have been paralysed
with dismay over the wreck of his very skilful combinations. The
action itself deserves the name of a combat rather than a battle,
for on neither side was more than half of the force really engaged;
yet Dettingen was decidedly a victory, for the French were badly
beaten and lost little, if any, less than five thousand men,
killed, wounded, and prisoners. The loss of the Allies was about
half of that number, of which the British share was two hundred and
sixty-five killed and five hundred and sixty-one wounded, the most
valuable life taken being that of General Clayton. As the brunt of
the action fell wholly on the first line, the greatest sufferers
among the infantry were the regiments chiefly exposed to the
flanking fire of the French batteries. These were the Thirty-third,
Twenty-first, Twenty-third, and Twelfth of the Line, but in not
one of them did the casualties exceed one hundred men, or about an
eighth of their strength. The cavalry suffered far more heavily
in comparison, though here again the losses of the heroes of the
day, the Third Dragoons, were more than twice as great as those of
any other regiment: one hundred and fifty men and as many horses
forming a terrible proportion of casualties in two squadrons. The
most noticeable points in the engagement were the disgraceful
behaviour of the French infantry, by no one more severely censured
than by Noailles himself, and the deadly accuracy of the British
fire. A smaller but curious fact is that both the King and the Duke
of Cumberland were run away with by their horses, the former, as
has been told, to the rear, the latter to the front, and indeed
into the midst of the French infantry, from which, however, he
emerged with no greater hurt than a bullet in the leg. At the close
of the day the King was so much elated by his success as to revive
the creation of knights banneret in the field, a proceeding which
ceases to seem ridiculous when we learn that Lord Stair was the
first and Dragoon Thomas Brown the last of the new knights. Such a
scene was never to be seen again, for Dettingen was the last action
in which a king of England actually commanded his army in person.

[Sidenote: December.]

[Sidenote: 1744.]

[Sidenote: March 21/April 1.]

The ceremony of knighthood completed, the King left his wounded
on the ground to the care of Noailles, and hastened away as
quickly as possible with the army to his magazine at Hanau. The
battle virtually closed the campaign, so far as the British were
concerned, and King George returned home with his laurels fresh
upon him, to be hailed with acclamation as a victor, and hear his
praises sung in endless stanzas of most execrable verse. A few
months later Lord Stair also returned home, without recrimination
and without complaint, but with resolute and scornful determination
to resign the command, since he was not trusted with the conduct of
operations. General Wade was appointed field-marshal, to command in
his stead. Finally, some weeks later the ridiculous fiction, that
the principal combatants were acting only as auxiliaries to rival
claimants to the Empire, was abandoned, and open war was declared
against France. Had this straightforward course been adopted two
years before, Stair would probably have turned the date of the
declaration of war into that of the conclusion of an honourable
peace. As matters stood the war was prolonged, and the time of its
avowed inception was chosen as the moment for discarding the ablest
of living British Generals.

  AUTHORITIES.--The best accounts of the battle of Dettingen
  will be found in a collection of letters entitled _British
  Glory Revived_, in the British Museum, and in a great number
  of letters printed in the _Gentleman's Magazine_. There are
  accounts also in the _Life of the Duke of Cumberland_, and in the
  anonymous _Memorial of the E[arl] of S[tair]_. The best known
  of the French accounts is that of Voltaire in _Siècle de Louis
  Quinze_, which should be read with Noailles's report to the King
  in _Correspondance de Louis XV. et du Maréchal Noailles_. The
  exploits of Thomas Brown are to be found in the newspapers, and
  in Cannon's _History of the Third Dragoons_. The best plan of the
  battle that I have seen is in the _Memorial of the E. of S_. As a
  specimen of the doggerel effusions, I transcribe one stanza from
  a broadsheet in the British Museum:--

      Our noble generals played their parts,
      Our soldiers fought like thunder,
      Prince William too, that valiant heart
      In fight performed wonders.
      Though through the leg with bullet shot
      The Prince his wound regarded not,
      But still maintained his post and fought
          For glorious George of England.


However fortunate might be the issue of Dettingen, it served
at least its purpose in preventing the despatch of French
reinforcements to the Danube and to Bohemia; and the campaign of
1743 closed with the utter collapse of Belleisle's great schemes
and with the expulsion of the French from Germany. It was now clear
that the war would be carried on in the familiar cockpit of the
Austrian Netherlands. Such a theatre was convenient for France,
since it lay close to her own borders, and convenient for the
Allies, because the Dutch had at last been persuaded to join them,
and because the British would be brought nearer to their base at
Ostend. Marshal Saxe, whose fine talent had hitherto been wasted
under incompetent French Generals in Bohemia, was appointed to the
chief command of the French in Flanders; and every effort was made
to give him a numerous and well-equipped army, and to enable him to
open his campaign in good time.

[Sidenote: 1744.]

In England the preparations by no means corresponded with the
necessities of the position. The estimates indeed provided for a
force of twenty-one thousand British in Flanders in 1744 as against
sixteen thousand in the previous year, but only at the cost of
depleting the weak garrison left in England; for the actual number
of men voted for the two years was the same. All British officers
of experience strongly urged upon the Government the importance of
being first in the field,[177] but when an army was to be made up
in different proportions of English, Dutch, Germans, and Austrians
it needed a Marlborough to bring the discordant Courts into harmony
as well as to make ready the troops for an early campaign. By the
beginning of April eighty thousand French soldiers had marched
from their winter quarters, and were concentrated on the frontier
between the Scheldt and the Sambre, while the Allies were still
scattered about in cantonments, not exceeding even then a total
strength of fifty-five thousand men. Wade, the English commander,
delayed first by confusion at home and next by contrary winds, was
still in England while the French were concentrating, and not a
single English recruit to repair the losses of the past campaign
had arrived in Flanders. Then arose disputes as to the disposition
of the Allied forces, both Austrians and Dutch being nervously
apprehensive of leaving their towns on the frontier without
garrisons. When in the second week in May the Allied Army was at
last collected close to Brussels, it was still weaker by twenty
thousand men than it should have been, and found itself confronted
with the task of holding Flanders, Brabant, Hainault, and the
Sambre against a superior force of French.[178] May passed away and
June came, but the Allies remained helpless and motionless in their
camp, while Saxe, after a short march westward, turned north and
advanced steadily between the Scheldt and the Lys. His principal
object was not very difficult to divine. By the middle of June his
detachments had seized Ypres and Fort Knock, which commanded the
canal from Nieuport to Ypres, thus cutting off the British from
one of their bases on the coast. It remained to be seen whether he
would aim next at Ostend, where the whole of the British stores of
ordnance were accumulated, or whether he would attempt Bruges and
Ghent in order to secure the navigation of the Bruges Canal as well
as of the Scheldt and Lys. Again, it was always open to him, if
he pleased, to besiege Tournay, a fortress which the Allies would
not willingly lose. Thus the problem set to the Allies was not easy
of solution; but of all solutions they chose the worst. The Dutch
and Austrians could not bear the notion of forsaking any one of
their darling strongholds, and insisted that the strength of the
army should be frittered away in providing weak garrisons for the
defence of all.[179] Wade, to do him justice, was for keeping all
the troops together, crossing the Scheldt, and taking up a strong
position to cover Ghent; but the Austrians would not consent lest
they should expose Brussels.[180] Wade was certainly not a strong
man, but he must not be too hardly judged. Marlborough had spent
the most anxious days of all his campaigns in distraction between
the safety of Ghent and of Brussels, and had only extricated
himself by the march that preceded the battle of Oudenarde.

[Sidenote: July.]

Meanwhile King George had been exerting himself with great energy,
but two months too late, to provide Wade with additional troops,
both British and Dutch, and had begged that Prince Charles of
Lorraine might cross the Rhine with his whole army, and direct the
operations in Flanders as Commander-in-Chief of all the Allies.
It was a wise step in every way, since the Prince's relationship
to Queen Maria Theresa assured to him the seniority in rank which
was needed to hold so heterogeneous a host in coherence. Prince
Charles did his share of the work admirably, forcing his passage
across the Rhine with great skill in the face of the French, and
taking up a strong position on the frontier of Alsace. A few days
later the British reinforcements reached Wade, and King George
issued positive orders to him to take the offensive and "commence
hostilities of all kinds."[181]

[Sidenote: July 20/31.]

It seemed, indeed, as if the time were come for pressing home
upon the French; but just at this critical moment Frederick of
Prussia intervened in favour of France, and by a threat to invade
Bohemia brought Prince Charles back quickly over the Rhine. None
the less Wade and his fellows held a council of war and resolved
to bring Saxe to action if possible. King George gave his gracious
approval to their plan, and on the 31st of July the Allies turned
westward and crossed the Scheldt. It still remained to be seen,
however, whether Saxe would allow an action to be forced on him;
for he lay now, entrenched to the teeth, on the Lys between Menin
and Courtrai, which was a pretty clear indication that he would
not. At this moment Lord Stair, who had followed the course of
operations carefully from England, came forward, like a true
pupil of Marlborough, with a new plan of campaign. His advice was
that the Allies should turn Saxe's tactics against himself. They
should march south to Orchies, between Lille and Tournay, and
there encamp, where they would be within reach of half a dozen
French fortified towns. The French would not dare to leave the
fortresses defenceless; and the garrisons necessary to render them
secure would absorb the whole of their force in the field. Then the
Allies could send detachments into France and lay Picardy under
contribution, or possibly carry out the plan, rejected two years
before, of a march to the Seine. The King of Prussia's action only
made some bold stroke of the kind the more imperative.[182]

Stair had gained over the Austrian general D'Arenberg to this
project in 1742; but it was hardly likely to be accepted by him
now. Carteret, in forwarding Stair's memorandum to Wade, gave
him no positive orders except at least to do something; but poor
Wade found it impossible to make the Austrians do anything. The
Allies having crossed the Scheldt halted inactive for weeks, and
no persuasion could induce D'Arenberg to move. At last the army
did march down to the plains of Lille, but without its artillery,
so that it could not be said seriously to threaten the French
fortresses. The Dutch and Austrians had undertaken to furnish
a siege-train, but had taken no step to procure one of the ten
thousand horses that were required to transport it. After a short
sojourn in the south the Allies marched helplessly northward once
more. August passed away and September came, but even in the fourth
month of the campaign the Dutch and Austrians were still without
their artillery.[183] Wade boldly proposed to force Saxe's lines
on the Lys: the Austrians refused. He proposed to pounce on a
detachment of fourteen thousand men which Saxe had imprudently
isolated from his main army: D'Arenberg carefully sent a weak
body of cavalry to reveal to the detachment the danger of its
position. Finally, in the first week of October, the Allies retired
into winter-quarters, which was precisely the object for which
D'Arenberg had been working from the first. Despite the English
subsidies, he had no money with which to pay his troops, and he
wished to spare the Austrian Netherlands the burden of furnishing
forage and contributions. Wade, sick in body and distressed in
mind, at once resigned his command. He had had enough of the
Austrian alliance, and King George before long was to have enough
of it also.[184]

[Sidenote: 1745.]

Once again, despite the endless length to which the war was
dragging on, the establishment of the British forces remained
virtually unaugmented for the year 1745. The troops allotted for
service in Flanders were indeed raised to a strength of twenty-five
thousand men, but this was effected only by reducing the garrison
of Great Britain to fifteen thousand, which, as events were to
prove before the year's end, created a situation of perilous
weakness. Moreover, the past campaign had revealed a failing in one
of the confederated powers which was hardly less serious than the
impecuniosity and selfishness of Austria. The Dutch army, which
under Marlborough had done such brilliant service, was become
hopelessly inefficient. The competition of rival demagogues for
popular favour had reduced it to such weakness in numbers that
it hardly sufficed to find efficient garrisons for the fortified
towns. Concurrently its discipline had suffered, and General
Ligonier had already complained that the Dutch troops which
served with the Allies in 1744 were intolerably insubordinate
and disorderly, setting a bad example to the whole army.[185] In
February 1745 Ligonier again brought the matter to the notice of
the English Government. The Dutch, he said, would probably keep
all their men in garrison, and if the Allies were so weak that
they could only find garrisons for the fortresses on the frontier,
the French would be free to go where they pleased. It would be
far better, therefore, to make a great effort, collect a hundred
thousand men, take the offensive, and end the war in a single
campaign. Ten thousand men would be required to guard the line
of the Bruges Canal, and the remainder should besiege Maubeuge
and Landreçy and enter France by the line of the Sambre, making
the Meuse the main line of communication, as open alike to the
passage of reinforcements from England, from Holland, and from
Germany.[186] Such counsel was not likely to find acceptance with
the men who had mismanaged the war so far. One important change,
however, was made by the appointment of the Duke of Cumberland to
be Commander-in-Chief in Flanders, and also in Great Britain.[187]
The Duke at the time of this promotion still wanted a month to
complete his twenty-fifth year, but he had from his boyhood been an
enthusiastic soldier, he had studied his profession, he had shown
bravery at Dettingen, and, young though he might be, he was older
than Condé had been when he first gained military fame. Finally, it
was an immense advantage that a prince of a reigning family should
preside over so motley an army as that of the Allies, since there
would be the less disposition to cavil at his authority.

[Sidenote: April 22/May 3.]

[Sidenote: April 19/30.]

[Sidenote: April 28/May 9.]

Cumberland entered upon his work energetically enough, crossed
over to Flanders early in April, made all his arrangements for
concentration at Brussels on the 2nd of May, and actually began
his march southward on the following day.[188] Even so, however,
Marshal Saxe had taken the field before him, assembling his troops
in Hainault, as in the previous year, so that it was impossible
to divine which of the fortresses of the barrier he might intend
to attack. After a feint which pointed to the siege of Mons, he
marched rapidly upon Tournay and invested it on the 30th of April,
screening his movements so skilfully with his cavalry that not
a word of his operations reached Cumberland until nearly a week
later. Cumberland, after leaving Soignies on the 3rd of May, moved
slowly south-westward by Cambron, Maulbay, and Leuse, and arrived
on the evening of the 9th at Brissoel, within sight of Saxe's army.
The ground immediately in front of the Allies was broken by little
copses, woods, and enclosures, all of them crammed with mercenary
irregular troops--Pandours, Grassins, and the like--which, imitated
first from the Austrians, had by this time become a necessary part
of the French as of every army. Beyond this broken ground a wide
plain swept in a gentle, almost unbroken slope to the village of
Fontenoy, which formed the centre of Saxe's position. The advanced
parties of irregulars, together with twelve squadrons drawn up on
the slope before Fontenoy, forbade Cumberland's further advance for
that day, and the Allies encamped for the night. Headquarters were
fixed at Maubray, a village in full sight of Fontenoy, and a bare
mile and a half to the south-eastward of the French camp.

[Sidenote: April 29/May 10.]

On the next day the French advanced posts were pushed out of the
copses, and Cumberland, together with the Prince of Waldeck and
the Count of Königseck, who commanded the Dutch and the Austrians
respectively, went forward to reconnoitre the position. Saxe's army
occupied the crest of the slope, lying astride of the two roads
that lead from Condé and from Leuse to Tournay. His right rested
on the village of Anthoin and on the Scheldt, the tower of Anthoin
Castle marking the western boundary of his position with clearness
enough. From thence his line extended due east along the crest
of the height for nearly two miles to the village of Fontenoy. A
few hundred yards before Fontenoy stands the hamlet of Bourgeon,
but this was now veiled in smoke and flame, having been fired by
the Pandours as they retired. From Anthoin to Fontenoy Saxe's
front faced due south, but eastward from Fontenoy it turned back
almost at right angles to the forest of Barry and the village of
Ramecroix, fronting considerably to eastward of south. The village
of Vezon, however, which lies in the same straight line with
Fontenoy due east of Anthoin, was also occupied by the French as an
advanced post. This was quickly cleared by Cumberland's troops, and
the Allied Generals completed their reconnaissance. The position
was undoubtedly strong by nature and had been strengthened still
further by art. Beyond Anthoin the French right flank was secured
by a battery erected on the western bank of the Scheldt, while the
village itself was entrenched, and held by two brigades. Between
Anthoin and Fontenoy three redoubts had been constructed, and the
space was defended by three brigades of infantry backed by eight
squadrons of horse. Fontenoy itself had been fortified with works
and cannon, and made as strong as possible; and from Fontenoy to
the forest of Barry ran a double line of entrenchments, the first
line held by nine and the second by eleven battalions of infantry.
At the edge of the forest of Barry were two more redoubts, the
foremost of them called the Redoubt d'Eu, both armed with cannon
to sweep the open space between the forest and Fontenoy; in rear
of the forest were posted nine more battalions, and in rear of all
two strong lines of cavalry. The flower of the French army, both
horse and foot, was stationed in this space on Saxe's left, for the
English had the right of the line in the Allied Army, and Saxe knew
the reputation of the red-coats.

The Allied Generals decided to attack on the following day.
Königseck, it is said, was for harassing Saxe's communications and
compelling him to raise the siege of Tournay; but finding himself
overruled by Cumberland and by Waldeck he gave way. Cumberland's
force was decidedly inferior in numbers, being less than fifty
thousand against fifty-six thousand men, but he was young and
impetuous, and had been strongly impressed by the disastrous
inaction of the preceding campaign. It was agreed that the Dutch
and Austrians should assail the French centre and right, the Dutch
in particular being responsible for Fontenoy, while the British
attacked the French left between that village and the forest of

[Sidenote: April 30/May 11.]

At two o'clock on the following morning the British began to move
out of their camp upon Vezon, the cavalry leading. The advance
took much time, for there were many narrow lanes to be traversed
before the force could debouch upon the slope, and when the slope
was passed it was still necessary to defile through the village
of Vezon. Cumberland's order of attack was simple. Brigadier
Ingoldsby, with the Twelfth and Thirteenth Foot, the Forty-second
Highlanders, a Hanoverian battalion, and three six-pounder cannon,
was to assault the Redoubt d'Eu on the right flank of the line
of the British advance, and to carry it with the bayonet. The
remainder of the infantry was simply to march up across the
thousand yards of open ground between it and Fontenoy and sweep the
enemy out of their entrenchments.

Before five o'clock the advanced squadrons of the British horse,
fifteen in all, under General Campbell, had passed through Vezon
and deployed in the plain beyond, to cover the formation of the
infantry for the attack. The French batteries in Fontenoy and the
redoubt at once opened fire on them, but the cavalry endured the
fire for an hour unmoved, until at length a shot carried away
General Campbell's leg. The gallant veteran, who had fought at
Malplaquet, and was now seventy-eight years of age, was carried
dying from the field, full of lamentation that he could take no
further part in the action. No one but himself seems to have
known for what purpose his squadrons had been brought forward,
and accordingly after his fall they were withdrawn. The infantry
then moved up to the front, where General Ligonier proceeded to
form them in two lines, without further interruption, to use his
own simple words, than a lively and murderous cannonade from the
French. Cumberland meanwhile ordered up seven six-pounders to
the right of the British front, which quickly came into action.
Conspicuous before the French front rode an officer on a white
horse, and the English gunners at once began to lay wagers who
should kill him. The second or third shot brought the white charger
to the ground, and his rider was carried, shattered and dying,
to the rear. He was Count Grammont, the gallant but thoughtless
officer who had spoiled the combinations of Noailles at Dettingen.
Then, turning to their more legitimate work, the gunners quickly
made their presence felt among the French field-batteries; but
the round shot never ceased to plough into the scarlet ranks of
the British from Fontenoy and from the Redoubt d'Eu. Ligonier's
two lines of infantry were soon formed, with the cavalry in two
more lines in their rear, and the General presently sent word to
Cumberland that he was ready to advance as soon as Waldeck should
lead his Dutch against Fontenoy. The name of the aide-de-camp who
carried this message should not be omitted, for he was Captain
Jeffery Amherst of the First Guards.

Thereupon the Dutch and Austrians, in the centre and left, advanced
against Fontenoy and Anthoin, but flinching from the fire in
front, and above all from that in their flank from the battery on
the other side of the Scheldt, soon shrank back under cover and
could not be induced to move forward again.[189] Worst of all,
the Dutch cavalry was smitten with panic, galloped back on to
the top of some of the British squadrons, and fled away wildly
to Hal crying out that all was lost. Things therefore went ill
on the Allied left; and meanwhile on the right there was enacted
a blunder still more fatal. For Ingoldsby, misconceiving his
instructions, hesitated to make his attack on the Redoubt d'Eu,
and despite repeated orders from Cumberland never delivered it at
all. Cumberland, however, was impatient. Without further delay
he placed himself at the head of the British, who were standing
as Ligonier had arrayed them, in most beautiful order. In the
first line, counting from right to left, stood a battalion of
the First Guards, another of the Coldstreams, and another of
the Scots Guards, the First, Twenty-first, Thirty-first, Eighth,
Twenty-fifth, Thirty-third, and Nineteenth; in the second line
the Buffs occupied the post of honour on the right, and next to
them came in succession the Twenty-third, Thirty-second, Eleventh,
Twenty-eighth, Thirty-fourth, and Twentieth. Certain Hanoverian
battalions joined them on the extreme left. The drums beat, the men
shouldered arms, and the detachments harnessed themselves to the
two light field-guns that accompanied each battalion. Ingoldsby saw
what was going forward and aligned his battalions with them on the
right. Then the word was given to advance, and the two lines moved
off with the slow and measured step for which they were famous in

Forward tramped the ranks of scarlet, silent and stately as if
on parade. Full half a mile of ground was to be traversed before
they could close with the invisible enemy that awaited them in
the entrenchments over the crest of the slope, and the way was
marked clearly by the red flashes and puffs of white smoke that
leaped from Fontenoy and the Redoubt d'Eu on either flank. The
shot plunged fiercely and more fiercely into the serried lines as
they advanced into that murderous cross-fire, but the gaping ranks
were quietly closed, the perfect order was never lost, the stately
step was never hurried. Only the Hanoverians in the second line,
finding that they were cramped for space, dropped back quietly and
decorously, and marched on in third line behind the British. Silent
and inexorable the scarlet lines strode on. They came abreast of
village and redoubt, and the shot which had hitherto swept away
files now swept away ranks. Then the first line passed beyond
redoubt and village, and the French cannon took it in reverse. The
gaps grew wider and more frequent, the front grew narrower as the
men closed up, but still the proud battalions advanced, strewing
the sward behind them with scarlet, like some mass of red blossoms
that floats down a lazy stream and sheds its petals as it goes.

At last the crest of the ridge was gained and the ranks of the
French battalions came suddenly into view little more than a
hundred yards distant, their coats alone visible behind the
breastwork. Next to the forest of Barry, and exposed to the
extreme right of the British, a line of red showed the presence
of the Swiss Guards; next to them stood a line of blue, the four
battalions of the French Guards, and next to the Guards a line of
white, the regiments of Courtin, Aubeterre, and of the King, the
choicest battalions of the French army. Closer and closer came the
British, still with arms shouldered, always silent, always with
the same slow, measured tread, till they had advanced to within
fifty yards of the French. Then at length Lord Charles Hay of the
First Guards stepped forward with flask in hand, and doffing his
hat drank politely to his enemies. "I hope, gentlemen," he shouted,
"that you are going to wait for us to-day and not swim the Scheldt
as you swam the Main at Dettingen. Men of the King's company," he
continued, turning round to his own people, "these are the French
Guards, and I hope you are going to beat them to-day"; and the
English Guards answered with a cheer. The French officers hurried
to the front, for the appearance of the British was a surprise to
them, and called for a cheer in reply, but only a half-hearted
murmur came from the French ranks, which quickly died away and gave
place to a few sharp words of command; for the British were now
within thirty yards. "For what we are about to receive may the Lord
make us truly thankful," murmured an English Guardsman as he looked
down the barrels of the French muskets, but before his comrades
round him had done laughing the French Guards had fired; and the
turn of the British had come at last.[190]

For despite that deadly march through the cross-fire of the French
batteries to the muzzles of the French muskets, the scarlet ranks
still glared unbroken through the smoke; and now the British
muskets, so long shouldered, were levelled, and with crash upon
crash the volleys rang out from end to end of the line, first the
First Guards, then the Scots, then the Coldstreams, and so through
brigade after brigade, two battalions loading while the third
fired, a ceaseless, rolling, infernal fire. Down dropped the whole
of the French front rank, blue coats, red coats and white, before
the storm. Nineteen officers and six hundred men of the French and
Swiss Guards fell at the first discharge; regiment Courtin was
crushed out of existence; regiment Aubeterre, striving hard to
stem the tide, was swept aside by a single imperious volley which
laid half of its men on the ground. The British infantry were
perfectly in hand; their officers could be seen coolly tapping the
muskets of the men with their canes so that every discharge might
be low and deadly, and nothing could withstand their fire; while
the battalion guns also poured in round after round of grape with
terrible effect. The first French line was utterly shattered and
broken. Even while the British were advancing Saxe had brought up
additional troops to meet them and had posted regiments Couronne
and Soissonois in rear of the King's regiment, and the Brigade
Royal in rear of the French Guards; but all alike went down before
the irresistible volleys. The red-coats continued their triumphant
advance for full three hundred yards into the heart of the French
camp, and old Ligonier's heart leaped within him, for he thought
that the battle was won.

Saxe for his part thought little differently from Ligonier; but
though half dead with dropsy, reduced to suck a bullet to assuage
his intolerable thirst, so weak that he could not ride but was
carried about the field in a wicker litter, the gallant German
never for a moment lost his head. Sending a message to the French
King, who with the Dauphin was watching the action from a windmill
in the rear, to retire across the Scheldt without delay, he strove
to gain time to rally his infantry. On the first repulse of the
French Guards Cumberland had detached two battalions to help the
Dutch by a flanking attack on Fontenoy. Seeing that this movement
must be checked at all hazards, Saxe headed these troops back by
a charge of cavalry; whereupon one of the battalions extended
itself along the left flank of the British. Partly in this way,
partly owing to the incessant play of the French artillery on
both flanks, the two British lines assumed the form of two huge
oblong columns which gradually became welded into one. The change
was not untimely, for now the first line of the French cavalry,
which had been posted in rear of the forest of Barry, came down
upon the British at full gallop, but only to reel back shivered to
fragments by the same terrible fire. Then the second line tried
its fortune, but met with no better fate. Finally, the Household
Cavalry, the famous Maison du Roi, burning with all the ardour of
Dettingen unavenged, was launched against the scarlet columns, and
like its predecessors, came flying back, a mob of riderless horses
and uncontrollable men, decimated, shattered and repulsed by the
never-ending fire. "It was like charging two flaming fortresses
rather than two columns of infantry."[191]

Nevertheless some time was hereby gained for the broken French
infantry to reform. The British, once arrived within the French
camp, came to a halt, and looked at last to see how the Dutch were
faring on their left. As has already been told, Waldeck's attack
had been a total failure, and the British, unsupported and always
under a cross-fire of artillery, fell back to the crest of the
ridge and were reformed for a second attack. Waldeck undertook to
make another attempt on Fontenoy, and Cumberland in reliance upon
his help again advanced at the head of the British. But meanwhile
Saxe had brought forward his reserves from Ramecroix, and among
them the Irish brigade, to meet him, while artillery had also
been brought up from the French right to play upon the British
front. The French Guards and the rest of the troops of the French
first line had also been rallied, and the task of the British was
well-nigh desperate. The Irish brigade, which consisted of six
battalions, was made up not of Irish only but of Scots and English
also, desperate characters who went into action with a rope round
their necks, and would fight like devils. Yet, even in this second
attack the British carried their advance as far as in the first,
the perfection of their fire-discipline enabling them to beat
back even the Irish brigade for a time. But their losses had been
frightfully heavy; the Dutch would not move one foot to the attack
of Fontenoy, and the cannonade in front added to that in the flanks
became unendurable. The French infantry likewise closed round on
them in superior numbers on both flanks, and it became apparent
that there was nothing for it but a retreat.

Ligonier sent back two battalions to secure the roads leading
through Vezon, and the retreat then began in perfectly good order.
The French Household Cavalry made a furious charge upon the rear
of the column as it faced about, but found to its cost that the
infernal fire was not yet quenched. The three battalions of Guards
and a battalion of Hanoverians turned sternly about to meet them,
and gave them a few parting volleys, which wholly extinguished one
regiment and brought down every officer of another. A few British
squadrons, the Blues conspicuous among them, pushed forward, in
spite of heavy losses, through the cross-fire to lend what help
they could, and the remnant of the heroic battalions retired,
facing about in succession at every hundred yards, as steadily and
proudly as they had advanced.

Their losses in the action were terribly severe. Of the fifteen
thousand infantry, English and Hanoverian, for the Hanoverians bore
themselves not less nobly than their Allies, nearly six thousand
were killed or wounded, the casualties of the twenty English
battalions just exceeding four thousand men. The heaviest sufferers
were the Twelfth and Twenty-third regiments, both of which lost
over three hundred men, the Twenty-first and Thirty-first, which
lost rather less than three hundred men apiece, and the three
battalions of Guards, which lost each of them about two hundred
and fifty. Of the Generals of Foot, Cumberland, Ligonier, and
Brigadier Skelton, though in the hottest of the fire, alone came
off unhurt; all of the rest were either killed or wounded. Many
regiments of cavalry also suffered not a little, in particular the
Blues and Royal Dragoons; and the total loss of the British cavalry
exceeded three hundred men and six hundred horses. The loss of the
French was never made public, but was certainly at least equal to
that of the Allies. Contemporary accounts set it down, with no
great improbability, at fully ten thousand men. As an example of
the prowess of British infantry, Fontenoy stands almost without a
parallel in its history. The battalions formed under a cross-fire
of artillery, remained halted under the same fire, advanced slowly
for half a mile in perfect order under the same fire, and marched
up to within pistol-shot of the French infantry to receive their
volley before they discharged a shot. They shattered the French
battalions to pieces, repulsed three separate attacks of cavalry,
halted under a heavy cannonade, retired for some distance and
reformed under a cross-fire, advanced again with both artillery
and musketry playing on front and flanks, made the bravest brigade
in the French service recoil, repelled another desperate attack
of cavalry, and retired slowly and orderly under a cross-fire
almost to the end. By consent of all the British commanders it
was Ingoldsby's misunderstanding of his orders and his failure to
capture the Redoubt d'Eu that lost the battle; and Ingoldsby was
duly tried by court-martial for his behaviour. He was, however,
acquitted of all but an error in judgment; and indeed there was
no question of cowardice, for he accompanied the remainder of the
infantry in its advance with his own detachment and was severely
wounded. It is customary to blame Cumberland for dashing his head
against a wall in attempting such an attack, but he could hardly
have been expected to count on such bad luck as the failure of
Ingoldsby on one flank and of the Dutch on the other. The sheer
audacity of his advance went near to give him the victory. Saxe
owned that he never dreamed that any General would attempt such a
stroke, or that any troops would execute it. Cumberland is blamed
also for not attacking either the Redoubt d'Eu or Fontenoy after
he had penetrated into the French camp. This charge is less easy
to rebut, for the French always know when they are beaten, and
seeing their left rolled up and troops advancing on Fontenoy in
flank and rear would probably have given up the game for lost, and
that the more readily since their ammunition in Fontenoy was for
the moment nearly exhausted. Even so, however, Saxe's reserves were
always at hand at Ramecroix, and would have required to be held in
check. Another puzzling question, namely, why Cumberland did not
make greater use of his artillery in the action, is answered by the
fact that the contractors for the horsing of the guns ran off with
the horses early in the day. Such an occurrence was by no means
unusual, and yet it never happened to Marlborough, not even at
Malplaquet. Altogether, the conclusion seems to be that Cumberland
stumbled on to a brilliant feat of arms by mistake, and, though
seconded by his troops with bravery equal to his own, was not a
General of sufficient capacity to turn his success to account.

At the close of the action Cumberland retreated to Ath and
encamped under the guns of that fortress, leaving his wounded to
the mercy of the French, who, by a strange perversion of their
usual chivalry, treated them with shameful barbarity. Among the
wounded, strangely enough, were a few of the new sect of Methodists
founded by John Wesley, who faced death and wounds with the stern
exultation that had once inspired the troopers of Cromwell. One
of them wrote to Wesley, that even after a bullet in each arm had
forced him to retire from the field, he hardly knew whether he was
on earth or heaven, such was the sweetness of the day. This man
and a few more of his kind probably helped their fellow-sufferers
through the misery of the days following the battle, until
Cumberland's furious remonstrances with Saxe procured for them
better treatment.

[Sidenote: June 30/July 11.]

[Sidenote: August.]

From Ath Cumberland fell back to Lessines and drew out such
British corps as were in garrison in Flanders to replace those
which had suffered most heavily in the action. Meanwhile Tournay,
very shortly after the battle, fell by treachery into the hands
of the French; and Saxe's field-army being thus raised to a force
nearly double that of the Allies, Cumberland was reduced to utter
helplessness. The mischief of Fontenoy lay not in the repulse
and the loss of men, for the British did not consider themselves
to have been beaten, but in the destruction of all confidence in
the Dutch troops. The troubles which had harassed Wade to despair
now reappeared. Cumberland, despite his inferiority in strength,
was expected somehow to defend Flanders, Brabant, and above all
Brussels, and yet simultaneously to keep an active army in the
field. Worse than this, he attempted to fulfil the expectation.
Against his better judgment he weakened his force still further by
detaching a force for the garrison of Mons,[192] and then, instead
of taking up a strong position on the Scheldt to cover Ghent at all
hazards, he yielded to the pressure of the Austrians and crossed
the Dender to cover Brussels.[193] Halting too long between two
opinions he at last sent off a detachment for the defence of Ghent,
half of which was cut off and turned back with heavy loss, while
the other half, after enduring much rough usage on the march,
entered Ghent only to see the town surprised by the French on the
following day. Four British regiments took part in this unlucky
enterprise and suffered heavy loss, while the Royal Scots and the
Twenty-third, which had been despatched to Ghent after Fontenoy, of
course became prisoners.[194] Moreover, a vast quantity of British
military stores were captured in Ghent, although Cumberland had a
week before ordered that they should be removed.[195] After this
blow Cumberland retired to Vilvorde, a little to the north of
Brussels, still hoping to cover both that city and Antwerp, and so
to preserve his communications both with Germany and with the sea.
Here again he sacrificed his better judgment to the clamour of the
Austrians, for he would much have preferred to secure Antwerp only.
His position was in fact most critical, and he was keenly alive to
it.[196] Just when his anxiety was greatest there came a letter
from the Secretary of State, announcing that invasion of England
was imminent, and hoping that troops could be spared from Flanders
without prejudice to his operations. "What!" answered Ligonier
indignantly, "Are you aware that the enemy has seventy thousand men
against our thirty thousand, and that they can place a superior
force on the canal before us and send another army round between
us and Antwerp to cut off our supplies and force us to fight at
a disadvantage? This is our position, and this is the result of
providing His Royal Highness with insufficient troops; and yet you
speak of our having a corps to spare to defend England!"[197]

[Illustration: THE CAMPAIGN OF 1743.]

[Illustration: DETTINGEN, June 16th/27th 1743.]

[Illustration: FONTENOY, April 30th/May 11th 1745.

  _Walker & Boutall del._      _To face page 122._

[Sidenote: Aug. 13/24.]

[Sidenote: Sept.]

[Sidenote: Oct.]

Saxe's plan for reducing the Allies was in fact uniformly the
same throughout the whole of the war, namely to cut off their
communications with the sea on one side and with Germany on the
other. Even before he began to press Cumberland northward toward
Antwerp he had detached a force to lay siege to Ostend, which was
the English base. Cumberland, on his side, had advised that the
dykes should be broken down and the country inundated in order to
preserve it, and both Dutch and Austrians had promised that this
should be done; but as usual it was not done, and before the end of
August Ostend had surrendered to the French. The English base was
then perforce shifted to Antwerp. But by this time the requests for
the return of troops to England had become urgent and imperative
orders. First ten battalions were recalled, then the rest of the
foot, and at last practically the whole of the army, including
Cumberland himself.[198] It is now time to explain the causes for
the alarm in England.

  AUTHORITIES.--The official account of Fontenoy was drawn up
  by Ligonier in French and translated into English, with some
  omissions, for publication. The French version is far the better
  and will be found in the State Papers. The account in the _Life
  of the Duke of Cumberland_ is poor, though valuable as having
  been drawn up from the reports of the English Generals. Of the
  French accounts Voltaire's is the best known, and, as might be
  expected from such a hand, admirably spirited. More valuable are
  the accounts in the _Conquête des Pays Bas_, in the _Mémoires du
  Maréchal de Saxe_, where Saxe's own report may be read, in the
  _Campagnes des Pays Bas_, and in Espagnac. The newspapers furnish
  a few picturesque incidents of some value.


[Sidenote: 1745.]

Ever since the death of Cardinal Fleury, in January 1743, the hopes
of the Jacobites for French help in an attempt to re-establish
the Stuarts by force of arms had been steadily reviving. Cardinal
Tencin, Fleury's successor, was warmly attached to the cause of the
exiled house; the feeling between France and England was greatly
embittered; the beginning of overt hostilities could be only a
matter of time; and an invasion of Britain was the most powerful
diversion that could be made to divide the forces of the partisans
of the Pragmatic Sanction. In the autumn of 1743 preparations
for a descent upon England from Dunkirk under Marshal Saxe were
matured, and a French fleet, with Saxe and Prince Charles Stuart on
board, actually sailed as far as Dungeness. There, however, it was
dispersed by a storm, which wrecked many of the transports, and for
the present put an effectual end to the enterprise.

[Sidenote: July 25/August 5.]

Prince Charles returned to Paris not a little disappointed, but
receiving no further encouragement from France nourished the hope
of landing in Scotland and making his attempt with the aid of his
British adherents only. Those adherents for their part had warned
him that success was hopeless unless he should bring with him at
least six thousand men and ten thousand stand of arms; but Charles
was none the less determined to try his fortune. The defeat of the
British at Fontenoy doubtless strengthened his resolution: in June
1745 he came to a definite decision, and on the 25th of July he
landed at Loch-nan-Uamh, between Moidart and Arisaig, with seven
companions, of whom one only besides himself, Sir John Macdonald,
had any experience of the military profession. Three weeks before
his actual arrival a rumour of his landing had reached Sir John
Cope, the General commanding in Scotland, who recommended that
all officers should be recalled to their posts, and that every
precaution should be taken.[199] Even so, however, Charles had been
on Scottish soil a full week before Cope could believe the rumour
to be true.

[Sidenote: August 19/30.]

The three persons on whom the Government chiefly relied for the
safety of Scotland were Cope himself, Andrew Fletcher, the Lord
Justice-Clerk, and Duncan Forbes, the Lord President: but the
only man in authority who at once betrayed serious apprehension
was the Lord Advocate Craigie, who had been dreading some such
complication ever since Fontenoy. Cope also was uneasy, owing to
the extreme weakness of the force at his disposal. He had not, in
all, more than three thousand men, for the most part new and raw
regiments upon which he could repose little trust, and which in
spite of his representations in the previous year were not even
properly armed.[200] He resolved, however, to march northward at
once in order to overawe any waverers by a display of force: and
on receiving at last, after long delay, absolute confirmation of
the news of the Pretender's disembarkation, he threw his most
trustworthy regiment, the Sixth Foot, with two companies of the
Royal Scots, into the forts which protected the line of Loch Lochy
and Loch Ness.[201] It was, however, impossible for him to move
without first making provision for the subsistence of his little
army, and this was a work of much time and difficulty. It was not
until the 19th of August that he finally marched from Edinburgh
for Fort Augustus with fifteen hundred men of the Forty-fourth,
Forty-sixth, and Forty-seventh Foot, and a convoy of stores so
large as greatly to impede his movements.

Meanwhile affairs had assumed a far more dangerous complexion.
Charles had been active in summoning the leaders of the clans on
which he counted; and though less favourably received than he had
hoped he had secured Cameron of Lochiel, Macdonald of Keppoch,
Macdonald of Glengarry, and others. On the 16th of August a
party of Keppoch's and Lochiel's men succeeded in cutting off
two companies of the Royal Scots which were on their way to Fort
Augustus, killed a dozen of them, and took the rest prisoners:
and on the 19th, the very day of Cope's departure from Edinburgh,
Charles raised his standard at Glenfinnan, to find himself on the
next day at the head of sixteen hundred men.

Cope had not yet received full intelligence of these transactions,
but it was pretty evident to him that his advance to the north was
likely to be something more than a mere military promenade, and
he became extremely unwilling to execute it. Yielding, however,
to positive orders from the Lords-Justices[202] he continued his
march upon Fort Augustus, not a little disgusted to find that,
though he had encumbered his train with several hundred stand of
arms for distribution to loyal volunteers, no such volunteers were
forthcoming to receive them. Charles, for his part, on receiving
information of Cope's approach, with great promptitude made a
forced march to Corry Arrack, the worst pass on the road, and
having disposed his troops with great skill, waited exultingly
for the coming of the red-coats that he might overwhelm them
during their passage of the defile.[203] To his surprise not a man
appeared. Cope had been made aware of his dispositions and had
turned aside from Dalwhinnie to Inverness, leaving the road to
the south open to the rebels. From Inverness he despatched urgent
messages to Edinburgh for transports to convey his troops southward
by sea.

Cope has always been greatly blamed for this movement, the
contention being that he should either have maintained his ground
in front of Charles or have fallen back on Stirling. All critics,
however, overlook the crucial points, that not only was his force
inferior to that of the rebels but that he could not trust a man
of them. Charles's Highlanders could march two miles to Cope's
one, and would have made short work of a large convoy in charge of
undisciplined troops. Again, if Cope had halted, the rebels would
have been on him in a few hours before he had had time to entrench
himself, even supposing that he could have found entrenching tools.
The fact that he sent for transports shows that he would not rely
upon his troops in a retreat; the advance northward was undertaken
contrary to his advice, and the misfortune that followed was
simply the usual result of civilians' interference with military

[Sidenote: Aug. 30/Sept. 10.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 4/15.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 11/22.]

Charles, on his side, lost no time in following up his advantage,
and at once pushed rapidly southward. One of his parties was,
indeed, repelled by the minute English garrison which held the post
at Ruthin,[204] but his men indemnified themselves by bringing in
Macpherson of Cluny a prisoner, and thereby gaining Lord Lovat and
the Frasers to the cause. By the 30th of August Charles had reached
Blair Athol, and on the 4th of September he entered Perth, where
he was joined by James Drummond, titular Duke of Perth, and Lord
George Murray, both of them valuable acquisitions for the following
that they brought with them, while Murray was, in addition, a very
skilful officer. Resuming his march on the 11th, he avoided the
guns of Stirling Castle by fording the Forth eight miles above the
fortress, and took up his quarters in the town of Stirling, which
had opened its gates to him. By the 15th he was within eight miles
of Edinburgh.

[Sidenote: Sept. 16/27.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 17/28.]

The city was in consternation over his approach. The Castle of
Edinburgh was, indeed, provided with an adequate garrison, but
the town was absolutely defenceless; nor were there any regular
troops at hand excepting the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Dragoons,
both of them young regiments, raw and untrained. On the morning of
the 16th these two corps, together with a party of the town-guard,
were drawn up at Coltbridge, when their picquets were suddenly
driven in by the pistol-shots of a few mounted gentlemen of the
rebel army. The picquets were seized with inexplicable panic,
which presently communicated itself to the main body; and in a few
minutes both regiments, despite the entreaties of their officers,
were off at full gallop to the south, never stopping until they
reached Preston. They had not been there long before the panic
was rekindled. One of the dragoons, while in search of forage
after dark, fell into a disused coal-pit full of water and shouted
lustily for help. Instantly the cry was raised that the Highlanders
were on them, and the men, rushing to their horses, galloped away
once more through the night, and could not be halted till they
reached Dunbar. The "Canter of Coltbrigg," as this ludicrous but
shameful flight was dubbed, was the source of all the subsequent
success of the Pretender. So petty are the causes that will go
near to overset a throne. Probably, if the truth of the matter
could be known, it would be found that a few raw horses, unbroken
to fire-arms, among the picquets were the cause of the whole
disaster.[205] For the moment, however, the panic was decisive in
its results. Charles entered Edinburgh without resistance on the
following day and took up his quarters at Holyrood; but halting for
no more than twenty-four hours in the capital he pursued his march
to the south. His troops by this time had swelled to twenty-five
hundred men, though many of these were indifferently armed, and the
force was absolutely destitute of artillery. Still happy chance had
sent panic in advance of him, and he wisely followed it with all
possible speed.

[Sidenote: Sept. 19/30.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 20/October 1.]

Cope, meanwhile, on hearing of the march of the rebels southward
had moved from Inverness to Aberdeen, where, on the arrival of
transports from Edinburgh, he embarked his men and arrived safely
on the 16th of September at Dunbar. On the two following days the
troops were disembarked, and the army, being reinforced by two
hundred Highland levies under Lord Loudoun, and by the Thirteenth
and Fourteenth Dragoons, was raised to a total of twenty-three
hundred men, with six guns. On the 19th Cope marched northward
along the coast road, and on the following day caught sight of the
rebels, not, as he had expected, to westward, but to southward
of him, quietly halted on the brow of Carberry Hill. He at once
took up a strong position, with his rear resting on the sea, his
left being covered by a marsh and his right by two enclosures with
walls seven feet high, between which ran the road to the village
of Prestonpans. In his front lay another enclosure surrounded
by a ditch from ten to twelve feet broad; and thus naturally
entrenched, Cope's force might well have seemed unassailable.
The rebels, however, moved down from the hill and took up their
position opposite to the marsh on Cope's right. Cope therefore
changed front to the left so as to rest his right on the ditch and
his left on the sea, thus presenting his front to the marsh, an
alteration which appeared to offer the rebels little advantage.
In the course of the evening, however, a man well acquainted with
the marsh pointed out to the rebel commanders a passage by which it
might safely be traversed; and in the course of the night Charles
threw his army safely across and formed it for attack in two
lines--twelve hundred men in the first, and the remainder, who were
but ill-armed, in the second line. His new position was not more
than two hundred yards from the English camp, for Cope, deeming the
marsh impassable, had omitted to post a single guard or sentry on
that side.

[Sidenote: Sept. 21/October 2.]

A little before daybreak the alarm was given in Cope's camp, and
the General hastened to form his line of battle, with his infantry,
as usual, in the centre, the Thirteenth Dragoons on his right wing,
and the Fourteenth Dragoons on his left. The Highlanders were no
sooner formed than Charles gave the signal for attack. They rushed
forward with a yell upon the artillery before Cope's front, and
drove the gunners, who were seamen from the fleet, away from their
guns. Then, firing a volley at the dragoons, they rushed straight
upon them with the broadsword and slashed furiously at the noses of
the horses. The dragoons, already too well inured to panic, at once
wheeled about in confusion. The infantry, though uncovered on both
flanks, remained steady and poured in a destructive fire, but the
Highlanders immediately closed with them, and the bayonet was no
match for broadsword and target. In a few minutes the English were
broken and flying for their lives. Four hundred were cut down on
the spot and over a thousand more were taken prisoners, one hundred
and seventy only succeeding in making their escape. The loss of
the rebels was no more than thirty killed and seventy wounded. The
whole action did not last ten minutes, and yet never was victory
more complete. The dragoons were so thoroughly scared that, after
galloping first to Edinburgh, where the Governor indignantly
refused to admit them to the Castle, they turned round and hurried
south to Berwick, where Cope had already arrived before them.

The moral effect of Prestonpans was prodigious. Twice the English
troops had faced the Highlanders, and each time they had fled
in panic. On the first occasion no blood had been shed, but
Prestonpans brought with it a memory and a tradition of horror, for
all of the slain English had perished by the sword, and the field
presented a frightful spectacle of severed limbs and mutilated
bodies. Charles was for taking advantage of the moment and marching
immediately upon London; and if he had done so it is probable that
he would at least have reached the capital. There was little or
no enthusiasm among the English for the cause of the Guelphs, and
there were few or no troops to stand in Charles's way; there was
only one fortified place, Newcastle, to trouble him to the south of
the Tweed, and the whole district was profoundly scared. But the
Highlanders were already hurrying homeward with the plunder gained
by the action, diminishing the strength of his force by one-half;
so that it was deemed more prudent to return to Edinburgh.

Charles's great object now was the reduction of Edinburgh Castle,
which with Stirling Castle and the forts in the Highlands was
practically all of Scotland that remained to the Guelphs. A
blockade of a few weeks would have forced it to submission by
famine, but General Guest, the Governor, threatened to lay the
town in ashes if his supplies were cut off. A few shots from his
cannon showed that he was in earnest, and, in deference to the
entreaties of the townsfolk, Charles was fain to let him have his
way. The circumstance might in itself have sufficed to show the
futility of military operations on such terms, but the gain of
certain prominent Scottish nobles to the cause, and the addition of
several hundred volunteers to the rebel army, seemed to afford some
compensation for this enforced inactivity. By the end of October
Charles's force was augmented to six thousand men, five-sixths
of them excellent material, while its efficiency was further
heightened by the arrival of several French and Irish officers,
who brought with them money, five thousand stand of arms, and six
pieces of field artillery.

Meanwhile military preparations went forward in England with
feverish activity. Cumberland, as has already been told, received
orders to send back first a part, and then the whole of his
army: and now the full peril of the situation in Flanders can be
realised. It is plain from Ligonier's letters that Saxe had it
in his power to destroy the British force encamped at Vilvorde,
and that one good soldier at least lived in daily dread of the
catastrophe. Had Ligonier's apprehension been fulfilled the
throne of the Guelphs must have fallen: and the fault would have
been King George's own, for his folly in trifling with the war
for two campaigns instead of pursuing it vigorously as Stair had
advised. As things were, however, the British passed the North
Sea in safety, together with certain Dutch and Hessians who had
been summoned, as in 1715, the help of England in pursuance of
the Treaty. The Dutch indeed arrived before the British could be
despatched, and thus of ten battalions placed under the command of
Marshal Wade for the defence of the kingdom no fewer than seven
were foreign.[206] Pending the arrival of the troops from over sea
frantic efforts were made to fill the ranks, as usual much depleted
by drafts, of the regiments at home. On the 6th of September a
bounty of no less than six pounds was offered to every recruit who
would join the Guards before the 24th, and of four pounds to any
enlisting between the 24th and the 1st of October.[207] The spirit
of the country also began slowly to kindle: and the newspapers
fanned the rising flame by an incessant blast of "No popery, no
arbitrary power, no wooden shoes."[208] Fifteen leading noblemen
offered to raise and equip two regiments of horse and thirteen
of foot at their own expense. The gentlemen of Yorkshire raised
a Royal Regiment of Hunters, first germ of our present Yeomanry,
which served without pay. Companies of volunteers were formed in
London. The peaceful Quakers combined to present every soldier
with a flannel waistcoat for the coming winter campaign: and a
subscription was started in the City to provide a blanket and two
paillasses to each tent, thirty watch-coats to each battalion, and
a pair of worsted gloves to every man.[209] The militia also was
called out in several counties: and finally Cope was removed from
the command in Scotland and replaced by General Handasyde.[210]

[Sidenote: Oct. 31/Nov. 11.]

Charles in the meantime was anxious to move southward with the
least possible delay, and fight the motley force which was gathered
together under Wade at Newcastle;[211] but his Scottish adherents
were most unwilling to move, and it was only when he declared his
determination to enter England alone, if no one would follow him,
that they grudgingly consented to march for a little distance over
the border. Lord George Murray with great wisdom advised that the
advance should be through Cumberland rather than Northumberland,
which would compel Wade to harass his troops by marches along bad
roads through a difficult country. If Wade should remain inactive,
which his previous behaviour in command suggested to be more
than likely, the rebels would be at liberty to move whither they
pleased. The better to conceal the true direction of the advance
the army was divided into two columns, the one under Charles
himself to march by way of Kelso and the other by way of Moffat,
both to converge ultimately on Carlisle. Thus at length, on the
31st of October, the rebels began their advance southward, but
still in no very good heart. The letters of the chiefs show that
they looked upon the whole enterprise as desperate, and that they
longed to be at their homes reaping their harvest, and looking
to the wintering of their herds.[212] The rank and file of the
Highlanders did not write letters, but simply betook themselves in
scores to their homes.

[Sidenote: Nov. 8/19.]

[Sidenote: Nov. 17/28.]

[Sidenote: Nov. 20/Dec. 1.]

Murray's plan of invasion succeeded admirably. On his arrival at
Kelso Charles sent forward an advanced party to order quarters at
Wooler, and having thus alarmed Wade for Newcastle turned sharply
to the westward and entered Cumberland by Liddesdale. On the
following day he was joined by the other column, and the united
army, some five thousand strong, proceeded to the investment of
Carlisle. The town was held only by a garrison of militia, but the
commander and the mayor refused to surrender, and the siege was
delayed by a false alarm that Wade was marching to rescue. On the
13th of November, however, batteries were raised by the rebels,
whereupon the mayor's courage evaporated and his worship requested
a capitulation for the town. Charles refused to grant it unless the
Castle also was included, and the result was that he gained both
Castle and town with the loss of hardly a man. Wade, when it was
too late, started to relieve Carlisle, but, being stopped by a fall
of snow, returned again to Newcastle, and sent General Handasyde
with two battalions of foot and a regiment of dragoons to re-occupy
Edinburgh. This movement increased the anxiety of the Highlanders
to return home: but after some debate it was decided to continue
the advance. Two hundred men were left to garrison Carlisle, and
with a force greatly reduced by desertion Charles, on the 20th,
renewed his march to the south without the least molestation from
Wade. On the 27th he passed the Ribble, that barrier so often fatal
to Scottish invasion, at Preston, where he was well received, and
a few recruits were added to his army. Acclamations, too, greeted
him on his way to Wigan and Manchester, but the people refused to
accept the arms that were offered to them or to enlist themselves
for his cause. Only at Manchester the exertions of Mr. Francis
Townley, a Roman Catholic of a very old family in the county,
availed to raise a couple of hundred men. It was but a trifling
addition compared with that expected by the Highland chiefs, and
served to confirm their misgivings as to the desperate character of
the enterprise.

[Sidenote: Dec. 4.]

English troops now began to close in upon the little rebel army
from every side. Wade was moving down upon it from the north;
Cumberland lay before it with eight thousand men at Lichfield,
while a still larger force of militia, stiffened by battalions of
the Guards, was in process of concentration at Finchley Common
for the defence of London. Still the rebels pursued their march
southward, the people staring at them as they passed, amused
but indifferent, and apparently hardly able to take the matter
seriously. At Cambridge sensible middle-aged men talked of taking
a chaise to go and see them on the road;[213] and Hogarth, to the
great good fortune of posterity, could see nothing in the march of
the Guards to Finchley but an admirable subject for the exercise of
his pencil and the indulgence of his satire. Yet there was still
a panic in store for London. From Macclesfield Lord George Murray
sent forward a small force to Congleton, which pushed away a party
of horse that lay there and pursued it for some way along the road
to Newcastle-under-Lyme. Cumberland, thinking that the rebels were
about to advance by that line or turn westward into Wales, turned
also westward to Stone to intercept them, and Murray, making a
forced march eastward, reached Ashbourne and on the following
day entered Derby. By this manœuvre the rebel army had gained
two marches on Cumberland and successfully passed by the most
formidable force interposed between it and London. The capital was
in consternation. Business was suspended, all shops were shut, and
the Bank of England only escaped disaster by making its payments
in sixpences in order to gain time. Cumberland on discovering his
mistake hurried his cavalry by desperate marches to Northampton
in order to regain, if possible, the ground that he had lost, but
the only result was utter exhaustion of the horses; and the Duke
of Richmond, who was in command of this cavalry, frankly confessed
that he did not see how the enemy could be stopped. The rapidity
of the rebels' movements, the difficulty of moving regular troops
during the winter along execrable roads, and above all the want of
an efficient head at Whitehall to replace the timid and incompetent
Newcastle, served to paralyse the whole strength of England.

[Sidenote: Dec. 6/17.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 18/29.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 26.]

[Sidenote: 1746.]

[Sidenote: Jan. 3/14.]

On the night of his arrival at Derby Charles discussed at length
the question of the dress which he should wear on his entry into
London; but on the following day his officers represented to him
the danger of further advance, with Wade and Cumberland closing in
upon his rear. News had arrived of the landing of French troops at
Montrose; it would be better, they urged, to retreat while there
was yet time and to join them. Charles combated the proposition
hotly for the whole day, but yielded at last; and on the morrow the
retreat was begun. Cumberland, who had fallen back to Coventry,
at once caught up four thousand men and followed the rebels by
forced marches, but did not overtake them until the 18th, when his
advanced parties made an attack on Murray's rear-guard at Clifton
Moor, a few miles to the south of Penrith. The English, however,
were repulsed with the loss of a hundred men, a misadventure easily
explained by the fact that the action was fought after dark, when
the musket was a poor match for the claymore. Still the repulse
was not creditable to the royal troops nor encouraging for further
attempts upon the rebel rear-guard. Wade meanwhile made no attempt
to intercept the northward march of Charles, who crossed the Esk
into Scotland unmolested on the 20th of December, and six days
later occupied Glasgow. His force, despite many days of halt, had
covered the distance from Edinburgh to Derby and from Derby back
to Glasgow in exactly eight weeks. A few days later he resumed
his march to Stirling, where he was joined by the French, who had
landed at Montrose, and by other levies which, notwithstanding
General Handasyde's entreaties that they might be attacked from
Edinburgh and Inverness, had been allowed to assemble in the north.
These reinforcements augmented his strength to nine thousand men:
and since the French had brought with them battering guns Charles
resolved to besiege the Castle of Stirling and so to secure for
himself, if possible, all Scotland north of the Firths of Forth and

Meanwhile Cumberland after recovering Carlisle had been recalled
to the south of England with most of his infantry to guard the
southern coast in case of a French invasion. Wade, who was
quite worn out with age and infirmity, was also removed from
his command, and at Cumberland's nomination General Hawley was
appointed to be Commander-in-Chief in Scotland. Hawley was
a man of obscure origin, rough and brutal in manners, but a
strict disciplinarian of the ruder school which was beloved of
Cumberland, and very far from an incapable soldier. On his arrival
at Edinburgh he found himself entrusted with twelve battalions and
four regiments of dragoons, and with absolute liberty to do with
them as he thought best. Still his difficulties were considerable.
Artillery had been given to him but no gunners, his instructions
being that he should draw the latter from the garrisons of Berwick
and of Edinburgh. On being summoned, however, these gunners proved
to be civilians who had been foisted on to the establishment for
the sake of their votes, and were not intended to be of any other
service.[214] The same principle could be traced in every other
detail relating to these two garrisons, for the trail of corruption
was over all.[215] Many of the battalions again were no better
than militia, and the infantry generally was in so bad a state
that it was hard to raise above three or four thousand men fit for
service from the whole of it. "I hope we shan't be blamed," wrote
Hawley, in explaining his inaction, "but it is not the name of
twelve battalions that will do the business. No diligence in me
shall be wanting, but a man cannot work without tools. The heavy
artillery is still at Newcastle for want of horses, which were sent
to Carlisle for no use. The major of artillery is absent through
sickness. I suspect his sickness to be a young wife: I know him.
I have been obliged to hire a conductor of artillery, and seventy
odd men to act as his assistants for the field-artillery. I was
three days getting them from the Castle to the Palace-yard and now
they are not fit to march."[216] At length by great exertion the
whole force of twelve battalions and three regiments of dragoons,
with its artillery, was made ready for the field. Hawley then moved
up to Falkirk on the way to relieve the beleaguered Castle of
Stirling, and encamped on the western side of the town.

[Sidenote: Jan. 17/28.]

The rebels so far had made little progress with the siege. The
French engineer with them, who was a coxcomb of little skill, had
chosen wrong sites for his batteries, and General Blakeney, who was
in command of the garrison, had made him sensible of the fact by
a most destructive fire. On the 16th of January Charles, hearing
of Hawley's march upon Falkirk, left a few hundred men to maintain
the blockade of the Castle, and advanced with the remainder to
Bannockburn, where he drew them up, as on a field of good omen, in
order of battle. Hawley, however, declined to move, his artillery
being but just come up: so on the following day Charles determined
to attack him. While he was moving forward Hawley was enjoying the
hospitality of Callendar House from Lady Kilmarnock, wife to one of
the rebel leaders, having left General Huske, an excellent officer,
in command. Manœuvring with a small detachment to distract Huske's
attention to the northward along the road that leads to Stirling,
Charles led his army to the south of the English camp, and then
advanced upon it towards a ridge of rugged upland known as Falkirk
Muir. The English drums promptly beat to arms, and urgent messages
were despatched to Callendar House for Hawley, who presently
galloped up at speed without his hat. Hastily placing himself at
the head of the three regiments of dragoons he hurried with them in
the teeth of a storm of rain and wind to the top of Falkirk Muir,
ordering the foot to follow with bayonets fixed. The rebels however
reached the summit of the ridge before him; and Hawley then formed
his army on the lower ground, drawing up the infantry in two lines,
with the cavalry before them on the left of the first line. His
left was covered by an impassable morass, and thus it came about
that the left of the rebels, who were also formed in two lines,
stood opposite to his centre. The numbers of each army were about
nine thousand men. The formation of the British being complete,
Hawley, who had great faith in the power of cavalry against
the Highlanders, ordered the dragoons to attack. They advanced
accordingly. The Highlanders waited with perfect coolness until
they were within ten yards of them, and then poured in an effective
volley. Therewith the evil tradition of panic seized at once upon
the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Dragoons, which turned about and
galloped off in disorder. The Ninth Dragoons showed more firmness,
but the Highlanders throwing themselves on the ground thrust at
the bellies of the horses with their dirks, and they also were
beaten back. Then the Highlanders advanced, and the foot, shaken
by the defeat of the horse and blinded by wind and rain, fired
an irregular volley. One-fourth of the muskets missed fire owing
to the rain, and every regiment excepting two at once turned and
fled. No efforts of their officers, who behaved with the greatest
gallantry, had the least effect in stopping them, though many
were regiments of famous reputation; and the Highlanders pursuing
with the claymore made not a little havoc among the fugitives. On
the right of the first line, however, the Fourth and Forty-eighth
stood firm, their front ranks kneeling with bayonets fixed while
the middle and rear ranks fired, and repulsed the left wing of the
rebels: the Fourteenth soon rallied and joined them, the Royal
Scots and Buffs rallied also, and these troops keeping up a steady
fire made, with the Ninth Dragoons, an orderly retreat. The losses
did not exceed two hundred and eighty of all ranks, killed, wounded
or missing, the two regiments that stood firm coming off with
little hurt, the Forty-eighth indeed without injury to a man.

The action cannot be called a great defeat if a defeat at all,
but it was a disgrace, and Hawley felt it to be so. "My heart is
broke," he wrote to Cumberland, "I can't say we are quite beat,
but our left is beat and their left is beat.... Such scandalous
cowardice I never saw before. The whole second line of foot ran
away without firing a shot." It may well be that Hawley's absence
during the preliminary manœuvres of the rebel army and his hurried
arrival immediately before the action contributed to make the
troops unsteady, but in reality there was nothing to excuse their
precipitate flight except that, as Hawley had himself written from
Edinburgh, they were little better than militia. The truth was,
that by constant talk of the desperate prowess of the Highlanders
and by endless gloating, such as the ignorant delight in, over the
horrors of the field of Prestonpans, the men had worked themselves
into a state of almost superstitious terror.[217] Such a thing is
not rare in military history and has, unless I am mistaken, been
seen again in our own army within our own time.[218]

Hawley was soon able to report that the whole of his force
had recovered itself with the exception of the Thirteenth and
Fourteenth Dragoons, which appear to have been hopelessly
demoralised. Nor can it be denied that the General's remedies were
stern enough. "There are fourteen deserters taken," he wrote, a
fortnight after the action, "shall they be hanged? Thirty-one of
Hamilton's dragoons are to be hanged for deserting to the rebels,
and thirty-two of the foot to be shot for cowardice."[219] Still
it was felt that there was but one way thoroughly to restore the
spirit of the troops, namely that the Duke of Cumberland should
take command of them in person. The Duke no sooner received his
orders than he hurried to Edinburgh, travelling night and day with
such speed that he accomplished the journey from London in less
than six days. Neither he nor the King blamed Hawley. Indiscipline
was in his opinion the reason for the failure, and he came up to
Scotland fully resolved to put an end to it. He seems in fact to
have joined the army, asking in scornful and indignant surprise
what was the meaning of this foolish flight of English infantry
before wild Highlanders: and this attitude was almost sufficient in
itself to put the soldiers upon their mettle.

[Sidenote: Feb. 1/12.]

Hawley had made all preparations for an advance against the Duke's
arrival, and on the 31st of January Cumberland moved forward to
Falkirk with twelve battalions of foot, two regiments of dragoons,
in which neither the Thirteenth nor the Fourteenth was included,
and several companies of loyal Highlanders. The rebels thereupon
raised the siege of Stirling and retired, much against the will
of Charles, to Inverness, leaving their battering guns in the
trenches behind them. Cumberland at once sent forward his dragoons
in pursuit, and pushed on as rapidly as possible to Perth. He
was in no amiable mood, and gave an indication of his feelings
towards the rebels by granting his troops licence to plunder the
estates of rebel leaders on the march.[220] Arriving at Perth he
was detained for several days by the difficulty of collecting
supplies and transport. Nevertheless the campaign was at last to
be conducted with common sense. Cumberland was careful to give his
troops special training against their enemy, prescribing for the
infantry the formation so successfully adopted by the Fourth and
Forty-eighth at Falkirk, and directing that when at close quarters
with Highlanders each soldier should turn his bayonet not against
the enemy immediately before him, but against the man on his own
right front, where the target could not parry the thrust. But this,
though creditable to Cumberland, was of small importance compared
to the change in the general situation. The rebels were in full
retreat from the fertile lowlands into the barren mountains, and
their supplies from France were cut off by British ships of war,
while Cumberland's force was fed from the sea. When one army is
full and another starving, lead and steel are hardly needed to
decide the victory.

[Sidenote: Feb. 18/March 1.]

Nevertheless, even after his retreat from Stirling Charles met
with some trifling successes. Inverness, when he reached it, was
held by Lord Loudoun with some raw Highland levies. Loudoun made a
night march in the hope of seizing Charles's person at Moy Castle,
some ten miles distant; but half a dozen of the rebel Highlanders,
firing a few shots and raising the war-cry of their clans, kindled
the inevitable panic, and Loudoun's men ran away to Inverness in
such disorder that he decided to evacuate the town, and retired
across the Moray Firth. In the course of the evacuation panic again
overtook his men, and fully a third of them deserted.[221] Charles
occupied the town on the following day, and thus obtained a port
into which such French ships as might elude the British cruisers
could bring him supplies. Another of his parties, again, contrived
to capture Fort Augustus, together with three companies of the
Sixth Foot which formed its garrison. But his attempts against Fort
William and Blair Castle were fruitless, for both posts though
besieged, and the latter indeed hard pressed, held out with the
greatest firmness and determination. Thus the barrier of Loch Lochy
and Loch Ness was never wholly broken through.

During all this time Cumberland's temper was steadily rising. For
all his impatience, his operations were delayed by bad weather
and difficulties of transport; though his troops scoured the
country overawing and disarming the inhabitants he could obtain
no intelligence of the rebels whatever; and the petty defeat of
Loudoun, though of no very great importance, was from its moral
effect extremely irritating. Throughout the month of March he
remained at Aberdeen unable to move; and meanwhile a further
revival of the spirit of panic exasperated him beyond measure. Five
thousand Hessians under Prince Frederick of Hesse-Cassel had been
taken into British pay, landed in Scotland, and posted at Perth
to check any attempt of the rebels to return to southward. On the
intelligence of a petty inroad of rebel parties upon Blair and
Rannoch Prince Frederick actually decided to evacuate Perth and
fall back to Stirling. Cumberland was no sooner apprised of this
decision than he ordered the Hessians forward to relieve Blair
Castle, but the Prince from sheer timidity shrank from any attempt
to execute the command. Fortunately Blair was able to defend
itself: but Cumberland did not fail to let the Prince know what he
thought of his conduct.

[Sidenote: April 15/26.]

At length on the 8th of April the Duke was able to advance from
Aberdeen, and having crossed the Spey successfully on the 12th,
pushed forward by forced marches upon Nairn. On the evening of the
14th his advanced parties had a brush with the rebels' rear-guard,
and he knew that his enemy lay at last within his reach. Charles
lodged for that night at Culloden House, some twelve miles from
Nairn, while his troops, now reduced to five thousand starving,
dispirited men, bivouacked on Culloden Moor. On the following day
he drew up his army in order of battle; but the Duke had granted
his troops a halt at Nairn after their exertions, and the more
readily since the 15th was his birthday. Charles therefore formed
the bold design of surprising him in his camp on that same night;
but though his troops were actually set in motion for the purpose,
the men were too weak from privation to traverse the distance
within the appointed time; and they fell back weary and despondent,
having fatigued themselves to no purpose. Charles's officers were
now for moving to some stronger position, but the young Prince's
head seems to have been turned by his previous successes, and he
resolved to accept battle where he stood.

[Sidenote: April 16/27.]

Between four and five in the morning of the next day the Duke
broke up from Nairn, and after a march of eight miles received
intelligence from his advanced parties that the rebels were in his
front. He at once formed in order of battle, but finding that the
enemy did not come forward, continued his march. The rebels were
formed in two lines, their right resting on some straggling park
walls and huts, their left extending towards Culloden House. The
Duke's army was disposed in three lines, the two first consisting
each of six battalions of infantry and two regiments of dragoons,
while the Highland irregulars formed the third line. The entire
force numbered about ten thousand men with ten guns, which were
stationed in pairs between the battalions of the first line. "Now,"
said the Duke, turning to his men when all was in order, "I don't
suppose that there are any men here who are disinclined to fight,
but if there be, I beg them in God's name to go, for I would rather
face the Highlanders with a thousand resolute men at my back than
with ten thousand half-hearted." The men answered with cheers,
and there could be little doubt as to the issue of the battle.
Hawley and the dragoons were then sent forward to break down the
enclosures on the enemy's right, and at ten o'clock the rebels
opened the action with a discharge from their artillery.

The Duke's cannon instantly took up the challenge; but the
duel could not last long, for Charles's guns were ill-aimed
and ill-served, whereas the British fire was most accurate and
destructive. The right and centre of the Highlanders, unable to
endure the grape, presently rushed forward, swept round the left
of the British line upon the flank and rear of the Fourth and
Twenty-seventh Regiments, and for a short time threw them into
some confusion. At every other point, however, they were speedily
driven back by a crushing fire, and the Fourth and Twenty-seventh,
recovering themselves, turned bayonet against claymore and target
for the first time with success. In utter rage at this repulse the
rebels for a few minutes flung stones at the hated red-coats; but
by this time Hawley had broken through the enclosures and turned
four guns upon Charles's second line. On the left of the rebels
the Macdonalds, sulking because they had not the place of honour,
refused to move, and now the English dragoons burst in upon the
Highlanders from both flanks, and, charging through them till they
met in the middle, shivered them to fragments. The rout of the
enemy was complete and the dragoons galloped on to the pursuit.
One thousand of Charles's troops were killed on the spot, and five
hundred prisoners, of whom two hundred were French, were taken. The
remainder fled in all directions. The loss of the Duke's army was
slight, barely reaching three hundred men killed and wounded, of
whom two-thirds were of the Fourth and Twenty-seventh. The victory
was decisive: the rebellion was crushed at a blow, and all hopes of
a restoration of the Stuarts were at last and for ever extinguished.

The campaign ended, as a victorious campaign against mountaineers
must always end, in the hunting of fugitives, the burning of
villages, and the destruction of crops. To this work the troops
were now let loose, as they had already been in the march to
Perth, though now with encouragement rather than restraint, and
with no attention to "proper precautions." But enough and too much
has been written of the inhumanity which earned for Cumberland
the name of the butcher; his services were far too valuable to
be overlooked, and himself of far too remarkable character to be
tossed aside with the brand of a single hateful epithet. Charles
Edward, and Murray, the ablest of his officers, had turned the
gifts which fortune gave them, and the peculiar powers of their
little force in rapidity of movement and vigour of attack, to an
account which entitles them to very high praise as commanders. It
was by such bold actions as Falkirk and Prestonpans, and by such
skilful manœuvres as left Wade astern at Newcastle and Cumberland
at Stone, that our Indian Empire was won. Thus it was against
no unskilful leaders that Cumberland was matched; and on taking
the command he found the British regular troops in a state of
demoralisation, through repeated panic, which is almost incredible.
Whole regiments were running away on the slightest alarm, in spite
of the heroism of their officers; and even a General, a foreigner
and a royal prince, Frederick of Hesse-Cassel, prepared to retreat
at the mere rumour of the approach of a few score of Highlanders.
To all this, Cumberland, by the prestige of his position and
rugged force of character, put an end. He was called up, young
as he was, to a duty from which almost every General in Europe,
of what experience soever, would have shrunk--a winter campaign
in a mountainous country. Ninety-nine men out of a hundred would
have waited for the summer, and indeed such delay was expected of
Cumberland, but he pressed on to his task at once. He restored the
confidence of his troops partly by the dignity of his station,
partly by his own ascendency as a man, partly by his skill as a
soldier, encouraging them not by mere words only, but also by
training them to meet the peculiar tactics of a peculiar enemy
by a new formation and a scientific, if simple, method of using
the bayonet. He pursued his work persistently, despite endless
difficulties, disappointments, and vexations, and did not rest
until he had achieved it completely. Jacobitism, which had been the
curse of the kingdom for three quarters of a century, was finally
slain, and the Highlanders, who had been a plague for as long and
longer, were finally subjugated, for no one's advantage more than
for their own. The methods employed were doubtless harsh, sometimes
even to barbarity, being those generally used by barbarians
towards each other and therefore held inexcusable among civilised
men; but it is not common for half-savage mountaineers--and the
Highlanders were little else--to be brought to reason without
some such harsh lesson. Military execution, as it was called, was
not yet an obsolete practice in war, whether for injury to the
enemy or indulgence of the troops, while Tolpatches, Pandours, and
other irregular bands, whose barbarities were unspeakable, were
esteemed a valuable if not indispensable adjunct to the armies
of the civilised nations of Europe. Moreover, French regular
troops behaved quite as ill in Germany during the Seven Years'
War as any of the irregulars. Still wanton brutality and outrage,
however excused by the custom of war, must remain unpardoned and
unpardonable, on the score not only of humanity but of discipline.
But though the blot upon Cumberland's name must remain indelible,
it should not obscure the fact that, at a time of extreme national
peril, the Duke lifted the army in a few weeks, from the lowest
depth which it has ever touched of demoralisation and disgrace, to
its old height of confidence and self-respect.

  AUTHORITIES.--The literature of the rebellion of 1745 is of
  course boundless, but the military operations and the state of
  the Army can hardly be better studied than in the _S.P., Dom.,
  Scotland_, vols. xxvi.-xxxi., in the Record Office. On the other
  side, the Narrative of the Chevalier Johnstone, though frequently
  inaccurate, throws useful light on divers points.


[Sidenote: 1746.]

[Sidenote: May 20/31.]

The virtual evacuation of the Low Countries by the British in
consequence of the Jacobite Rebellion was an advantage too
obvious to be overlooked by the French. At the end of January,
though winter-quarters were not yet broken up, they severed the
communication between Antwerp and Brussels, and a week later
took the town of Brussels itself by escalade. The citadel, after
defending itself for a fortnight, went the way of the town, and
the capital of the Spanish Netherlands was turned into a French
place of arms.[222] The consternation in Holland was great, and
it was increased when the French presently besieged and captured
Antwerp. Meanwhile the British Commander, Lord Dunmore, who had
been left in the Netherlands with a few squadrons of cavalry, could
only look on in utter helplessness. It was not until June that
the Hessian troops in British pay and a few British battalions
could be embarked, together with General Ligonier to command them,
from England; and it was not until July, owing to foul winds,
that they were finally landed at Williamstadt. The change of base
was significant in itself, for since the capture of Ostend and
Antwerp there was no haven for British ships except in the United
Provinces. Even after the disembarkation these forces were found to
be still unready to take the field. The Hessians had not a grain of
powder among them, and there were neither horses for the artillery
nor waggons for the baggage. Again, to add small difficulties to
great, the Austrian General, Batthyany, having no British officer
as his peer in command, denied to the British troops the place of
honour at the right of the line. It was a trifling matter, but
yet sufficient to embarrass counsel, destroy harmony, and delay

[Sidenote: June 30/July 11.]

[Sidenote: July 13/24.]

While the Allies were thus painfully drawing their forces together,
the activity of the French never ceased. The Prince of Conti was
detached with a considerable force to the Haine, where he quickly
reduced Mons and St. Ghislain, thus throwing down almost the last
relics of the Austrian barrier in the south. Thence moving to the
Sambre, Conti laid siege to Charleroi. It was now sufficiently
clear that the plan of the French campaign was to operate on the
line of the Meuse for the invasion of Holland. Maestricht once
taken, the rest would be easy, for most of the Dutch army were
prisoners in the hands of the French; and with the possession of
the line of the Meuse communication between the Allied forces of
England and of Austria would be cut off. But before Maestricht
could be touched Namur must first be captured; and the campaign of
1746 accordingly centred about Namur.

[Sidenote: July 6/17.]

[Sidenote: July 16/27.]

[Sidenote: July 21/Aug. 1.]

For the first fortnight of July the Allies remained at Terheyden, a
little to the north of Breda, Saxe's army lying some thirty miles
south-westward of them about Antwerp. On the 17th of July the
Allies at last got on march, still with some faint hopes of saving
Charleroi, and proceeded south-eastward, a movement which Saxe at
once parried by marching parallel with them to the Dyle between
Arschot and Louvain. Pushing forward, despite endless difficulties
of transport and forage, through a wretched barren country, the
Allies, now under command of Prince Charles of Lorraine, reached
Peer, turned southward across the Demer at Hasselt, and by the 27th
of July were at Borchloen. They were thus actually on the eastern
side of the French main army, within reach of the Mehaigne and
not without good hope of saving Namur if not Charleroi. On the 1st
of August they crossed the Mehaigne, only to learn to their bitter
disappointment that Charleroi had surrendered that very morning.
Saxe meanwhile, with the principal part of his army, still lay
entrenched at Louvain with detachments pushed forward to Tirlemont
and Gembloux. The Allies continued their march before the eyes
of these detachments to Masy on the Orneau, and there took up a
position between that river and the head-waters of the Mehaigne,
fronting to the north-east. This was the line approved through many
generations of war as the best for the protection of Namur.[224]

[Sidenote: Aug. 18/29.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 2/13.]

Saxe now drew nearer to them, and the two armies lay opposite to
each other, in many places not more than a musket-shot apart,
both entrenched to the teeth. The Allies so far had decidedly
scored a success, but they were outnumbered by the French by three
to two, and they were confined within a narrow space wherein
subsistence was extremely difficult; while if they moved, Namur
was lost. Ligonier, who was most uneasy over the situation,
longed for five thousand cavalry with which to make a dash at
Malines and so call the enemy back in haste to defend Brussels and
Antwerp.[225] Prince Charles, however, was averse to operations
of such a nature. His hope was that Saxe would offer him battle
on the historic plain of Ramillies where, notwithstanding the
disparity of numbers, he trusted that the quality of his troops
and the traditions of the field would enable him to prevail. But
Saxe had no intention of doing anything of the kind. He did indeed
shift his position further to the north and east, with the field
of Ramillies in his rear, but it was not to offer battle. Pushing
out detachments to eastward he captured Huy, and cutting off the
Allies' communications with Liége and Maestricht forced them
to cross the Meuse and fall back on Maestricht from the other
side of the river. Cross the Meuse the Allies accordingly did,
unmolested, to Ligonier's great relief, by twenty thousand French
who were stationed on the eastern bank of the stream. They then
opened communication with Maestricht, five leagues away, while Saxe
extended his army comfortably with its face to the eastward along
the line of the Jaar from Warem to Tongres, waiting till want of
forage should compel the Allies to recross the Meuse. Back they
came over the river within a fortnight, as he had expected, and
the Marshal, without attempting to dispute the passage, retreated
quietly for a few miles, knowing full well that his enemy could not
follow him from lack of bread. Ligonier never in his life longed so
intensely for the end of a campaign.[226]

[Sidenote: Sept. 6/17.]

[Sidenote: Aug. 30/Sept. 10.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 27/Oct. 7.]

On the 17th of September the Allies advanced upon the French
and offered battle. Saxe answered by retiring to an impregnable
position between Tongres and the Demer. There was no occasion
for him to fight, when his enemies were short of provisions and
their cavalry was going to ruin from want of forage. So there the
two armies remained once more, within sight of each other but
unwilling to fight, since an attack on the entrenchments of either
host would have entailed the certain destruction of the attacking
force. But meanwhile the trenches had been opened before Namur by
a French corps under the Prince of Clermont, and within nine days
the town had fallen. Ligonier again urged his design, for which he
had prepared the necessary magazines, to upset Saxe's plans by a
dash upon Antwerp, but he could find no support in the council of
war; so there was nothing for the Allies to do but to wait until
some further French success should compel them to move. Such a
success was not long in coming. The castle of Namur surrendered
after a miserable defence of but eleven days; Clermont's corps
was released for operations in the field, and the Allies were
forced to fall back for the protection of Liége. Accordingly, on
the 7th of October they crossed the Jaar, not without annoyance
from the enemy, and took up a new position, which gave them indeed
possession of Liége, but placed them between the Meuse in their
rear, and an enemy of nearly twice their strength on the Jaar
before their front.[227]

[Sidenote: Sept. 29/Oct. 10.]

Now at last Saxe resolved to strike a blow. On the 10th of October
he crossed the Jaar with evident intention of an attack, and the
Allied army received orders to be ready for action before the
following dawn. The Allies' position faced very nearly due west,
the army being drawn up astride of the two paved roads leading
into Liége from Tongres and St. Trond. Their extreme right rested
on the Jaar and was covered by the villages of Slins, Fexhe, and
Enick, all of which were strongly entrenched and occupied by
the Austrians. South of Enick extended an open plain from that
village to the village of Liers, and in this plain was posted
the Hanoverian infantry and four British battalions, the Eighth,
Nineteenth, Thirty-third, and Forty-third Foot, with the Hessian
infantry on their left in rear of Liers. The Hanoverian cavalry
prolonged the line southward to the village of Varoux, and the
Sixth and Seventh Dragoons and Scots Greys continued it to the
village of Roucoux, from which point Dutch troops carried it on
to the village of Ance, which formed the extreme left of the
position. Ligonier did not like the situation, for he did not see
how the turning of the left flank could be prevented if, as would
certainly be the case, the French should seriously attempt it.
Prince Charles, knowing that if his right were turned his retreat
to Maestricht would be cut off, had taken care to hold the right
flank in real strength and dared not weaken it; but the position,
with the Meuse in its rear, was perilously shallow, while the
convergence of two ravines from the Jaar and Melaigne into its
centre allowed of but one narrow way of communication between the
right and left of the army. The defects of the Allies' dispositions
were in fact not unlike those which had proved fatal to King
William at Landen, and Ligonier's anxiety was proved to rest on all
too good foundation.

[Sidenote: Sept. 30/Oct. 11.]

The morning of the 11th of October opened with bad news for the
Allies. The French had been admitted into Liége by the inhabitants
behind the backs of the Dutch, so that the Prince of Waldeck, who,
commanded on the left, was obliged to withdraw eight battalions
from Roucoux and post them _en potence_ on his left flank, with
his cavalry in support. Thus the defence of Roucoux, as well as
of Liers and Varoux, was left to eight battalions of British,
Hanoverians, and Hessians only. This made the outlook for the
Allied left the worse, since it was evident that the brunt of the
French attack would fall upon it. Saxe gave Prince Charles little
time for reflection. He had one hundred and twenty thousand men
against eighty thousand, and he knew that of the eighty thousand
at least one-third were tied to the Austrian entrenchments about
the Jaar. He opened the action by a furious assault upon the Dutch
on the left flank, his infantry being formed in dense columns,
so that the attack could be renewed continually by fresh troops.
Simultaneously fifty-five battalions in three similar columns
were launched upon Liers, Varoux, and Roucoux. Outmatched though
they were, Dutch, Germans, and British all fought splendidly and
repelled more than one attack. But, to use Ligonier's words, as
soon as two French brigades had been repulsed in each village, a
third brigade ran in; and the eight battalions, though they still
held Liers, were forced to withdraw both from Roucoux and Varoux.
Being rallied, however, by Ligonier, they advanced again and
recaptured both villages; and the Nineteenth and Forty-third took
up a position in a hollow road which they held to the last. The
Dutch now began to retire across the rear of the position from the
left, in good order despite heavy losses, while Ligonier checked
the enemy in the plain with the British cavalry. When the Dutch had
passed he ordered his own men to retreat in the same direction,
still covering the movement with the cavalry and with the
Thirteenth and Twenty-sixth Foot, which had been sent to the field
from the garrison of Maestricht. The Austrians formed a rear-guard
in turn when the British and their German comrades had passed, and
thus the whole army filed off, unpursued and in perfect order, and
crossed the Meuse in safety on the following morning.

The action may be looked upon as a fortunate escape for the Allies,
since it was impossible, humanly speaking, that it could have
issued favourably for them. Prince Charles, in seeking to cover
both Liége and Maestricht, had attempted too much. His army thus
occupied too wide a front, the villages in the centre were too
weakly held, there was hardly anywhere a second line of infantry,
and the left flank could not be sustained against so superior an
enemy. The total loss of the Allies was about five thousand men,
which was sufficiently severe considering that but a third of the
army was engaged. The casualties of the British were three hundred
and fifty killed and wounded, of whom no fewer than two hundred
belonged to the Forty-third. The French lost as many men as the
Allies, or more, and gained little by the action except eight guns
captured from the British, Hanoverians, and Hessians. Had not the
Allied troops been far better in quality and discipline than the
French, they must have been lost during their retreat with superior
numbers both in flank and rear. Both armies presently retired into
winter-quarters, and the campaign ended far less disastrously than
might have been feared for the Allies.[228]

[Sidenote: Sept. 20/Oct. 1.]

[Sidenote: Oct. 1/12.]

Unfortunately, however, it was not in Flanders only that discredit
fell upon the British arms. At the end of September a force of
six battalions[229] was sent, under command of General St. Clair,
to the coast of Brittany to attack Port L'Orient and destroy the
stores of the French East India Company there. The enterprise was
conducted with amazing feebleness. The troops landed at Quimperle
Bay practically unopposed, but, being fired at on their march on
the following day, were turned loose to the plunder of a small
town as a punishment to the inhabitants for their resistance. On
the following day they reached L'Orient, which the Deputy Governor
of the East India Company offered to surrender on good terms. His
overtures, however, were rejected and a siege was begun in form;
but after a few days of firing and the loss of about a hundred men
killed and wounded, St. Clair thought it prudent to retreat; and on
the 12th of October the troops re-embarked and returned to England.
Anything more pointless than the design or more contemptible than
the execution of this project can hardly be conceived, for it
simply employed regiments, which were badly needed in Flanders and
America, in useless operations which did not amount to a diversion.

[Sidenote: 1747.]

If the cause of Queen Maria Theresa was to be saved, it was evident
that great efforts were imperative in the coming campaign of 1747.
To meet the vast numbers brought into the field by the French the
Austrians promised to have sixty thousand men at Maseyck on the
Meuse by April; the British contributed four regiments of cavalry
and fourteen battalions of infantry; and it was hoped that the
Allies would take the field with a total strength of one hundred
and ten battalions, one hundred and sixty squadrons, and two
hundred and twenty guns, besides irregular troops, the whole to be
under command of the Duke of Cumberland.[230] Unfortunately the
weather was adverse to an early opening of the campaign; and the
French, by the seizure of Cadsand and Sluys, which were shamefully
surrendered by the Dutch, closed the southern mouth of the Scheldt
below Antwerp. This was a sad blow to the arrangements for the
transport of the Allies, since it brought about the necessity of
hauling all the forage for the British overland from Breda. Had
Cumberland been in a position to open the campaign before the
French, he meant to have laid siege to Antwerp; as things were,
he was compelled, thanks chiefly to the apathy of the Dutch, to
attempt to bring Saxe to a general action. His last letter before
beginning operations has, however, an interest of another kind. It
contains a recommendation that Major James Wolfe may be permitted
to purchase a vacant lieutenant-colonelcy in the Eighth Foot, that
officer having served constantly and well during the past two years
as a major of brigade and proved himself capable and desirous to do
his duty.[231]

[Sidenote: May 15/26.]

[Sidenote: June 15/26.]

[Sidenote: June 18/29.]

[Sidenote: June 19/30.]

[Sidenote: June 20/July 1.]

The French being encamped between Malines and Louvain, Cumberland
collected his troops at Tilburg and advanced straight upon them,
encamping on the 26th of May on the Great Nethe, a little to the
east of Antwerp, between Lierre and Herenthout. Saxe, entrenched
as usual to the teeth, remained immovable for three weeks, and
Cumberland despaired of bringing him to action. At length the news
that a detached corps of thirty thousand French, under the Prince
of Clermont, was on the old ground about Tongres, moved Cumberland
to march to the Demer, in the hope of overwhelming Clermont before
Saxe could join him. Saxe, however, was on his guard, and on the
29th of June prepared to concentrate the whole of his army at
Tongres. Cumberland thereupon decided to take up Saxe's camp of
the previous year, from Bilsen, on the head-waters of the Demer,
to Tongres. So sending forward Count Daun, afterwards well known
as an antagonist of Frederick the Great, with a corps of Austrians
to occupy Bilsen, he ordered the rest of the army to follow as
quickly as possible on the next day. Riding forward at daybreak of
the morrow, Cumberland was dismayed to see the French advancing
in two columns from Tongres, as if to fall upon the head of his
own army. This was a surprise. Cumberland knew that Saxe was in
motion but had not expected him so soon; and indeed Saxe had made
a notable march, for his army had not left Louvain until the 29th
of June and had traversed little less than fifty miles in two days.
The Duke lost no time in setting such troops as were on the spot
in order of battle, and hurried away to see if those on the march
could be brought up in time to force back the French, and to secure
the position of his choice. But the French cavalry was too quick
for him, and, before Ligonier could bring up the English horse, had
occupied the centre of the ground which Cumberland had intended for
himself. Ligonier drew up his squadrons before them to bar their
further advance, and the Allied infantry, as it came up, was formed
in order of battle, fronting, however, not to eastward, as had been
originally designed, but almost due south. In fact, owing to Saxe's
unexpected arrival and to deficient arrangements by the staff of
the Allies, there seems to have been considerable delay in putting
the Allied army into any formation at all, or the French might
certainly have been forced back to Tongres. Saxe's rear had not yet
come up and the men were fatigued by a long and harassing march;
but Cumberland was not the man to fight an action of the type of
Oudenarde, and the opportunity was lost.[232]

The position now occupied by the Allies extended from some rising
ground known as the Commanderie, a little to the south-east of
Bilsen, along a chain of villages and low heights to the Jaar,
a little to the south of Maestricht. The Commanderie being the
right of the line was held by the Austrians, with a strong corps
thrown back _en potence_ to Bilsen to protect the right flank; for
it was as important on this field as on that of Roucoux that the
retreat into Holland should not be cut off. The ground possessed
natural features of strength which were turned to good account, so
good account indeed that the Allied right, like the French left
at Ramillies, could neither attack nor be attacked. Eastward from
the Commanderie the Austrians occupied the heights of Spaeven,
together with the villages of Gross and Klein Spaeven; next to them
the Dutch formed the centre of the line, while the Hanoverians and
British held the villages of Val, or Vlytingen, and Lauffeld, and
prolonged the line to its extreme left at the village of Kesselt.

[Sidenote: June 21/July 2.]

There the Allies lay on their arms until nightfall, while Saxe's
weary battalions tramped on till far into the night up to their
bivouacs. At daybreak the French were seen to be in motion,
marching and countermarching in a way that Cumberland did not
quite understand; the fact being that Saxe, as at Roucoux, was
doubling the left wing of his army in rear of the right, for the
formation of those dense columns of attack which he could handle
with such consummate skill. After observing them until nine o'clock
Cumberland came to the conclusion that the Marshal meditated no
immediate movement and retired to the Commanderie for breakfast;
but he had hardly sat down when an urgent message arrived from
Ligonier that the enemy was on the point of attacking. Cumberland
at once returned and moved the left of his line somewhat forward,
setting fire to the village of Vlytingen and occupying Lauffeld
with three British and two Hessian battalions. Lauffeld was a
straggling village a quarter of a mile long, covered by a multitude
of small enclosures with mud walls about six feet high, topped by
growing hedges. It was thus easily turned into a strong post for
infantry, and cannon were posted both in its front and flanks. The
remainder of the British were drawn up for the most part in rear
of Lauffeld in order to feed and relieve its garrison, the brigade
of Guards being posted in the hedges before Vlytingen. The British
cavalry stood on the right of the infantry and joined their line to
that of the Dutch.

Meanwhile Saxe, sending forward a cloud of irregular troops to
mask his movements, had despatched Count d'Estrées and the Count
of Segur with a strong force of infantry and cavalry to seize the
villages of Montenaken and Wilre on the left flank of the Allies.
This service was performed with little loss. At the same time he
directed the Marquis of Salières, with six brigades of foot and
twenty guns, to attack Vlytingen, and launched five brigades,
with as many guns, backed by a large force of cavalry, against
Lauffeld. The assault of the French infantry upon Lauffeld was met
by a furious resistance. It was just such another struggle as that
of Neerwinden, from hedge to hedge and from wall to wall; and the
French, for all their superiority of numbers, were driven back
headlong from the village with terrible loss. Salières met with
little better success against the brigade of Guards in the hedges
of Vlytingen; but with great readiness he turned half of his guns
to his right against Lauffeld and the remainder against a ravine
on his left, with most destructive effect. Cumberland, observing
the fury with which Saxe had concentrated his attack against these
two villages, asked the Austrians to relieve him by a diversion
upon his right; but the Austrian troops could not face the fire of
Salières' guns, and it became clear that Vlytingen and Lauffeld
must be held by the British and Hanoverians alone.

Saxe's first attack had been brilliantly repulsed. He at once
replaced the beaten troops by two fresh brigades of infantry,
with cavalry to support them, and renewed the assault, but with
no better success. The British were driven back from the outer
defences only to stand more fiercely by those within, and Lauffeld
remained unconquered. But Saxe was not to be deterred from his
purpose. Two more brigades, including the six Irish battalions that
had saved the day at Fontenoy, were added to those already on the
spot, and the whole of them launched for a third attack against
Lauffeld. They were met by the same stubborn resistance and the
same deadly fire; and the Irish brigade lost no fewer than sixty
officers in the struggle. Nevertheless Irish impetuosity carried
the rest of the troops forward; the British were borne back to the
rearmost edge of the village and the French began to swarm up the
slope beyond it. Cumberland promptly ordered the whole of his line
of infantry to advance; and the French at once gave way before
them. The French cavalry was obliged to drive the foot forward
at the sword's point, but Cumberland continued steadily to gain
ground despite their efforts. Then at an unlucky moment, some Dutch
squadrons in the centre were seized with panic and came galloping
straight into the British line, carried away the Hessians and one
squadron of the Greys and fell pell-mell upon the Twenty-first
and Twenty-third Fusiliers. The Twenty-first, anticipating the
treatment of the Belgians at Waterloo, gave the Dutchmen a volley
and partly saved themselves, but the Twenty-third suffered terribly
and the whole line was thrown into confusion. Before order could
be restored Salières had thrown three more brigades upon Lauffeld,
which closed in round it, blocking up a hollow road which formed
the entrance into it from the rear, and barring the way for all
further reinforcements of the Allies. The few troops that were left
in the village were speedily overpowered, and Lauffeld was lost.

Some of Daun's Austrians now advanced to Cumberland's help from
the right; but three French brigades of cavalry that were waiting
before Vlytingen at once moved forward to check them, and charging
boldly into them succeeded in turning them back, though themselves
roughly handled when retiring from the charge. Meanwhile Saxe had
brought up ten guns to right and left of Lauffeld, and reinforcing
the cavalry of D'Estrées and Segur extended it in one long line
from Lauffeld to Wilre, for a final crushing attack on the Allied
left. Order had been restored among the British infantry, who
were now retreating with great steadiness, but they were wholly
unsupported. Ligonier, determined to save them at any cost, caught
up the Greys, Inniskillings, and Cumberland's dragoons, and led
them straight against the masses of the French cavalry. The gallant
brigade charged home, crashed headlong through the horse, and
fell upon the infantry beyond, but being galled by their fire and
attacked in all quarters by other French squadrons, was broken
past all rallying and very heavily punished. Ligonier himself was
overthrown and taken prisoner. Cumberland, who had plunged into
the broken ranks to try to rally them, was cut off by the French
dragoons, and only with difficulty contrived to join the remainder
of his cavalry on the left. With these he covered the retreat of
the army, which was successfully effected in good order and with
little further loss.

So ended the battle of Lauffeld, in which the British bore the
brunt with a firmness that extorted the praise even of Frenchmen,
but of which few Englishmen have ever heard. The troops, in
Cumberland's words, behaved one and all so well that he could not
commend any one regiment without doing injustice to the rest. The
total loss of the five regiments of horse and fourteen battalions
of foot was close upon two thousand men.[233] The three devoted
regiments which charged with Ligonier were the worst sufferers,
the Greys losing one hundred and sixty men, the Inniskillings one
hundred and twenty, and Cumberland's dragoons nearly one hundred.
The loss of the whole of the Allies was about six thousand men,
that of the French decidedly greater, amounting indeed, according
to Saxe's account, to not less than ten thousand men. The British,
moreover, had nine French colours and five French standards as
trophies for their consolation. Finally, the French failed to
accomplish the object of the action, which was to cut off the
Allies from Maestricht.

After the battle the Allies crossed the Meuse and encamped at
Heer, a little to the east of Maestricht, while Saxe returned to
his quarters at Tongres. The French then detached a corps for the
capture of Bergen op Zoom; but the most important transactions
of the war still went forward on the Meuse, where constant
negotiations were carried on between Saxe and Cumberland. The
campaign closed with the fall of Bergen op Zoom and the capture of
most of the strong places in Dutch Brabant.

[Sidenote: 1748.]

[Sidenote: April 19/30.]

[Sidenote: October.]

By this time King George and his people in England were thoroughly
sick of the war. The British had suffered severely in every action,
but had reaped no success except in the fortunate victory of
Dettingen. The Dutch had proved themselves useless and contemptible
as Allies, their Government feeble and corrupt in council, their
troops unstable if not dangerous in action. The Austrians, in spite
of lavish subsidies, had never furnished the troops that they had
promised, and had invariably obstructed operations through the
obstinacy of their Generals and the selfishness of their ends.
The opening of the campaign of 1748 was even more unpromising for
the Allies. Saxe, strong in the possession of a superior force,
kept Cumberland in suspense between apprehensions for Breda and
for Maestricht, and when finally he laid siege to Maestricht could
match one hundred and fifteen thousand men against Cumberland's
five-and-thirty thousand. War on such terms against such a master
as Saxe was ridiculous. Moreover, the Dutch, despite a recent
revolution, were more supine than ever; the Prince of Orange, who
was the new ruler, actually keeping two thousand of his troops
from the field that they might adorn the baptism of one of his
babies. In the face of such facts Cumberland pressed earnestly for
peace;[234] and on the 30th of April preliminaries were signed,
which six months later were expanded into the definite treaty of

The peace left matters practically as they had stood before the
war, with the significant exception that Frederick the Great
retained Silesia. Not a word was said as to the regulation of trade
between England and Spain, which had been the original ground of
quarrel; and as between England and France it was agreed that there
should be mutual restitution of all captures. Yet this could not
set the two countries in the same position as before the war. The
French were utterly exhausted; but the British, though not a little
harassed by the cost of maintaining armies and producing subsidies,
had received a military training which was to stand them in good
stead for the great struggle that lay before them. To understand
this struggle aright it must first be seen what was implied by the
mutual restitution of all captures, for among the possessions that
had changed hands during the war were Cape Breton and Madras. The
time is now come to watch the building up of empire in distant
lands to east and west. Let us turn first to the great Peninsula of
the East.

  AUTHORITIES.--The official correspondence in the Record Office.
  _F. O. Military Auxiliary Expeditions._ _Campagnes de Louis XV._
  _Espagnac._ _Life of the Duke of Cumberland._ Some useful details as
  to Lauffeld are to be found in the _Gentleman's Magazine_.

[Illustration: ROUCOUX. Sept. 30^{th}/Oct. 11^{th} 1746.]

[Illustration: LAUFFELD. June 21^{st}/July 2^{nd} 1747.

  _Walker & Boutall del._      _To face page 164._



[Sidenote: 1023.]

[Sidenote: 1193.]

[Sidenote: 1526, April 20.]

[Sidenote: 1672.]

[Sidenote: 1680.]

[Sidenote: 1687.]

[Sidenote: 1707.]

As English history to the vast majority of Englishmen begins with
the Norman, so does also the modern history of India begin with
the Mohammedan, conquest. As early as in the eighth century Arab
conquerors made incursions into Scinde as far as Hyderabad, only
to be driven back by a revolt of Hindoos; but it was not until
the eleventh century that Sultan Mahmoud, the second of the House
of Ghuznee, established a Mohammedan garrison to the south of the
Indus at Lahore, nor until the end of the twelfth century that
Shahab-ud-din penetrated as far as Benares and fixed the seat of
government at Delhi. It was at his death that India assumed the
form of an independent kingdom distinct from the governments to
the north of the Indus; and it was only a few years later that the
invasion of the Moguls under Zinghis Khan heralded the approach
of the race that was first to gather the greatest portion of the
peninsula into a single empire, and to found a dynasty which
should rule it. The battle of Delhi placed Baber, the first of
this dynasty, in possession of the capital, and set up therein the
throne of the Great Mogul. Baber's grandson, Akbar, after fifty
years of conquest, wise policy and incessant labour, reduced the
whole of Hindostan and great part of the Deccan under the Mogul
Empire, dividing it for administrative purposes into eighteen
provinces, each under the rule of a governor or _subahdar_. But the
Deccan had never been firmly secured; and even after the Hindoos
had submitted there were Mohammedan chieftains who refused to
acknowledge the supremacy of the Moguls. Too jealous, however, to
unite in resistance, these chieftains allowed themselves to be
crushed in detail; and in 1656 the Emperor Shah Jehan seemed to
have established his authority over all the Mohammedan kingdoms of
the Deccan. But even so the work of Shah Jehan did not endure. In
the reign of his son Aurungzebe a new power appeared to dispute the
rule of the Moguls in the Deccan. A race of Hindoo mountaineers,
the Mahrattas, came down from their fastnesses in the Western
Ghauts and hired themselves out as mercenary soldiers to the
Mohammedan chiefs. Led by a man of genius, the famous Sevajee,
the Mahrattas grew continually in strength, and at length fairly
defeated the army of the Moguls in the open field. It was not until
after the death of Sevajee that Aurungzebe was able to drive his
followers back to the hills, and push his Empire to its farthest
limits to southward, so far indeed as to include in it even a
portion of Mysore. Never before, it should seem, had so much of
the peninsula been united under the dominion of one man; but the
Mahrattas none the less had laid the axe to the root of the Mogul
Empire, and from the death of Aurungzebe the tree, though destined
to totter for yet another fifty years, was already doomed. It must
now be told how the foundation of a new Indian Empire fell not to
the Mahrattas but to invaders from Europe.

[Sidenote: 1498.]

[Sidenote: 1600, Dec. 31.]

The first of the European nations to gain a footing in the
peninsula was of course the Portuguese. In 1493 Bartholemew Diaz
doubled the Cape of Good Hope, and five years later Vasco da Gama
arrived on the Western or Malabar coast, and after a second voyage
obtained permission to establish a factory at Calicut. His work was
continued by Albuquerque, under whose care the Portuguese power in
India was more widely extended than at any time before or since.
To him it was due that Goa was made the chief centre of Portuguese
influence, and that Ceylon became tributary to Portugal's king. It
was not, however, conceivable that Portugal should long be allowed
to enjoy the monopoly of this lucrative traffic; and competitors
soon presented themselves from the maritime powers of Europe.
Moreover, in 1580, Portugal passed under the crown of Spain, so
that any encroachment on her East Indian trade inflicted also some
damage on the detested Spaniard. In 1582 an Englishman, Edward
Fenton, led the way by attempting a voyage direct to the east. The
venture, however, was a failure, as was also a second attempt made
by James Lancaster in 1589. Finally, a Dutchman, James Houtmann,
sailed from the Texel in 1595, and presented himself as the first
rival of the Portuguese by the establishment of a factory at Bantam
in Java. But though thus distanced for a moment in the race for
a new market the English speedily resolved to make up the lost
ground; and in 1599 an association of Merchants Adventurers was
formed in London with the object of prosecuting a voyage to the
East Indies. In the following year they received a charter from
Queen Elizabeth, and thus came into being the famous East India

[Sidenote: 1607.]

[Sidenote: 1611.]

[Sidenote: 1612.]

[Sidenote: 1628.]

[Sidenote: 1651.]

The two first voyages of the new Company followed the track of
the Dutch to Sumatra and Java, but in the third the ships were
driven by stormy weather into Sierra Leone, whence one of them
under Captain Hawkins sailed direct to Surat, and found there good
promise of opening trade. In 1609 Hawkins visited Agra in person
and obtained privileges from the reigning Mogul, eldest son of the
great Akbar; but his influence was soon undermined by Portuguese
Jesuits, and he was fain to return with little profit. Two years
later, however, an English vessel touched at Point de Galle, sailed
up the Coromandel, or eastern, coast of India as far as Masulipatam
and founded the nucleus of a factory at Petapolee, the germ from
which was to spring the trade of England in the Bay of Bengal. The
jealousy of Dutch and Portuguese had by this time risen so high
that the Company was obliged to employ force against them. In
1612 Captain Best boldly attacked a superior Portuguese fleet in
the Bay of Surat, and defeated it so thoroughly that the reigning
Mogul disallowed the Portuguese claim to a monopoly of the trade,
agreed to a treaty granting important privileges to the English,
and consented to receive an ambassador from them at his Court.
One formidable rival was thus crippled, but the Dutch were not
so easily to be dealt with, more particularly since the troubles
which followed on the accession of Charles the First in England
left them little to fear from an armed force. The affairs of the
Company began to languish, but fresh outlets for trade were none
the less sought for. One factory was definitely established at
Masulipatam, a second on the coast further northward, and finally,
in 1640, a third was settled at Madras under the name of Fort St.
George. This was the one gleam of sunshine at that period amid all
the troubles of England at home and abroad. Then at last the cloud
of the Civil War passed away; the power of England began to revive,
and the Company addressed a petition to Parliament for redress of
injuries received from the Dutch. Thereupon followed the Dutch war
and the seven furious actions of Blake and Monk, which dealt Dutch
maritime ascendency a blow from which it never recovered. A piece
of unexpected good fortune, namely the recovery of Shah Jehan's
daughter from dangerous sickness under the care of an English
surgeon at Surat, procured for the Company free trade with Bengal.
At the close of the Protectorate the Company had organised its
markets into three divisions. A supreme presidency was established
at Surat with special charge of the Persian trade, a subordinate
presidency at Madras with control of the factories on the eastern
coast and in Bengal, and a third presidency at Bantam for direction
of the traffic with the Eastern Islands.

[Sidenote: 1660.]

[Sidenote: 1661.]

Then came the Restoration, and with it a new charter empowering the
Company to send ships of war, men, and arms to their factories for
defence of the same, and to make peace or war with any people not
Christians. Authority was also granted for the fortification of St.
Helena, which since 1651 had become the port of call on the voyage
to India, and stringent provision was made for the maintenance of
the Company's monopoly. The following year brought Bombay by dowry
to the British Crown, and in 1662 Sir Abraham Shipman was sent out
with four hundred soldiers to take possession and to remain as
governor. These were the first British troops to land in India,
but as there was a dispute with the Portuguese as to whether the
word Bombay, as inscribed in the treaty of marriage, signified the
island only or included its dependencies also, the poor fellows
were landed on the island of Anjediva, near Goa, where they at once
began to sicken. In 1664 they were transferred to Madras, in view
of the war with Holland; but by the end of the year Shipman and a
vast number of the men were dead, and when at last they landed in
Bombay, in March 1665, the four hundred had dwindled to one officer
and one hundred and thirteen men. Such was the first experience of
the British Army in India.[235]

[Sidenote: 1668.]

In 1668 Bombay, together with the whole of its military stores,
was made over to the Company for a rent of ten pounds a year; and
authority was also given for the Company to enlist officers and
men for their own service, as well as to call in certain garrisons
of the King's troops at Bombay and Madras to fill up vacancies.
Further, in order to form a local militia, half-pay was granted
to all soldiers who would settle on the island, new settlers were
promised from England, and a rule was made that not more than
twenty soldiers should return to Europe in any one year. The men
and officers of the King's troops at once took service with the
Company under its own military code and articles of war, and thus
was founded the first military establishment in Bombay. The men
agreed, it seems, to serve for three years only, which gives
them an additional interest as the first English soldiers ever
enlisted for short service. Having thus provided itself with men
the Company proceeded next to the improvement and fortification of
Bombay itself, and with such vigour that by 1674 no fewer than one
hundred cannon were mounted for its defence. Finally, in 1683-84
the garrison was increased from four hundred to six hundred men,
two companies of Rajpoots were embodied as an auxiliary force, and
Bombay was made the headquarters of the Company in India.

[Sidenote: 1685.]

The Company thus strengthened forthwith became ambitious. Hitherto
it had addressed the native princes in terms of humble submission:
it now assumed the tone of an equal and independent power, able
to command respect by force of arms. It also equipped a fleet of
twelve powerful men-of-war, which was first to capture Chittagong
and then to proceed up the eastern branch of the Ganges to seize
Dacca. Hostilities were precipitated by a quarrel between English
and native soldiers in the bazaar at Hooghly, wherein the forces
of the nabob of the province were defeated. The nabob, however,
avenged himself by pouncing upon the British factory at Patna; and
the approach of Aurungzebe caused the British to withdraw from
Hooghly to Chuttamuttee, the site of the present Calcutta. Thus
the war against the Moguls ended in the utter humiliation of the
Company. The period of conquest was not yet come.

[Sidenote: 1642.]

[Sidenote: 1668.]

[Sidenote: 1669.]

[Sidenote: 1697.]

[Sidenote: 1701.]

Meanwhile a new rival had sprung up in the East Indies. In 1609 a
French East India Company had been formed, which after thirty years
of ineffectual life at last gave definite evidence of vitality by
the formation of a settlement at Madagascar. The venture was not
a success; but the great minister Colbert, quickly awake to the
advantages of an Indian trade, granted the help of the Government
to form a new Company, which, after wasting some time and money
on a second experiment in Madagascar, sent an expedition to
Surat. There in 1668 was established the first French factory in
India, which was quickly followed by the erection of a second
at Masulipatam. But, if the Company were to prosper, something
more than a factory with a rival factory alongside it was needed;
and this want was made good by the foundation of Pondicherry
by François Martin in 1674. Two or three years later a French
fleet entered the Hooghly and disembarked a body of settlers at
Chandernagore, which was finally granted to them by Aurungzebe in
1688. Meanwhile the foolish quarrel of the English Company with
the Moguls had given the French an opportunity to take a share
of the Indian trade, of which they did not fail to make good
use. Their further progress was, however, checked for the moment
through the capture of Pondicherry by the Dutch in 1693; but the
settlement was restored at the Peace of Ryswick, and no time was
lost in improving and fortifying it. Shortly afterwards the French
abandoned their factory at Surat and transferred their headquarters
to Pondicherry. On the whole they had made good use of their time.
The settlements of the British Company after one hundred years of
existence were set down, in contemporary spelling, as follows:
Bombay, with factories at Surat, Swally, Broach, Amadavad, Agra,
and Lucknow; on the Malabar coast the forts of Carwar, Tellicherry,
and Anjengo, with the factory of Calicut; on the Coromandel coast
Chinghee, Orixa, Fort St. George or Madras, Fort St. David (which
had been purchased in 1692 as a counterpoise to Pondicherry), and
the factories of Cuddalore, Porto Novo, Petapolee, Masulipatam,
Madapollam, and Vizagapatam; in Bengal, Fort William (Calcutta),
with factories at Balasore, Cossimbazar, Dacca, Hooghly, Moulda,
Rajahmaul, and Patna. The French could show Pondicherry, with a
factory at Masulipatam on the eastern coast, and Chandernagore and
Cossimbazar on the Hooghly as the result of barely five-and-thirty
years of work.

Such competition as this might not at first appear formidable to
the English, but the comparative strength of the rival nations
in India was not to be measured by mere counting of forts and
factories. François Martin had shown considerable dexterity in
handling the native authorities during the negotiations by which
he acquired Pondicherry, and had established good traditions for
the management of similar business in future. All Frenchmen had and
still have a passion for interference with the internal politics
of any barbarous or semi-civilised races with which they may be
brought into contact, and will spare no pains to gratify it. The
emissaries of the most insolent nation in Europe approached the
Indian princes with flattery of their self-esteem, deference for
their authority, respect for their prejudices, conformity with
their customs and imitation of their habits; while the French
love of dramatic action and of display brought them at once into
touch with the oriental character. They gave sympathy, sometimes
in reality, always in appearance; and they obtained in return not
only toleration but friendship and influence. Mere trading was
sufficient for the English; it was not so for the French. Their
ambition rose above the mere bartering of goods to the governing
of men and the swaying of them by subtle policy to the glory of
France. It was no ignoble aim, and might well lead to the making,
if not to the keeping, of an Empire.

[Sidenote: 1707.]

[Sidenote: 1719.]

Aurungzebe at his death divided his dominions among his three
sons, who at once fell to fighting for the succession to the
entire realm. The contest was decided after a year in favour of
the eldest of them, Bahadur Shah, who hastened to make terms with
the Mahrattas in the south, but secured a precarious peace in
that quarter only to find himself confronted with an insurrection
of Rajpoots and with the sudden and alarming rise of the Sikhs
in the Punjaub. He died in 1712, when the succession after the
inevitable dispute passed to his grandson Farokshir, who succeeded
in crushing the Sikhs but made little head against the Mahrattas,
whose territory continued to increase in the south. Finally,
on Farokshir's death in 1719 Nizam-ul-Mulk, the Governor of
Malwa, rose in revolt against his successor, made terms with the
Mahrattas, and was soon virtually master of the Deccan; to which,
after a short-lived reconciliation with the Court of Delhi, he
returned in 1724, openly and avowedly as an independent monarch.

[Sidenote: 1725.]

[Sidenote: 1735.]

During this period the English Company acquired from Farokshir an
extension of territory on the Hooghly, amounting to a tract of
nearly ten miles on both sides of the river. The French, on the
other hand, were declining owing to the virtual insolvency of the
Company; nor was it until 1723, five years after the reconstruction
of a new Company, that their prospects in India began to revive.
But already, in 1720, a man had been appointed to high station in
Pondicherry who was destined to raise French influence in India to
a height undreamed of by friend or foe. This was Joseph François
Dupleix, son of a director of the French East India Company, who,
though in boyhood averse to a mercantile life, had been converted
by travel at sea to a passion for commercial enterprise and to a
longing for a field wherein to indulge it. Such a field was now
opened to him, when no more than twenty-three years of age, in
India. His idea was to extend the operations of the Company beyond
the mere trade between Europe and Pondicherry, and, by opening
up traffic with the cities both inland and on the coast, to make
Pondicherry the centre of the commerce of Southern India. To show,
by example, that such a scheme was feasible, he embarked his own
fortune in the trade and made a handsome profit. In 1731 he was
sent to Chandernagore, then fast sinking into stagnation and decay,
and by his energy soon raised it to the most important European
centre in Bengal. Concurrently a second great Frenchman, who was
also to leave his mark on India, had made his appearance in 1725.
The occasion was the capture of Mahé, a little town on the western
coast, where the French desired a port to compensate them for the
abandonment of Surat. The feat was accomplished by a captain in the
French navy named Bertrand de la Bourdonnais. His next duty, though
not performed in India, was none the less of high importance to
it, namely the improvement of the island of Mauritius. The French
attempts at colonisation in Madagascar had been foiled alike by
the climate and by the hostility of the natives; and the settlers
had perforce betaken themselves to the adjacent island of Bourbon.
La Bourdonnais found Mauritius a mere forest, yet within two years
he converted it into a flourishing settlement, well cultivated
and well administered, with arsenals, magazines, barracks,
fortifications, dockyards, and all that was necessary to make it
not only a commercial station but a base for military operations in

Meanwhile the confusion that accompanied the gradual dissolution
of the Mogul Empire was turned to useful account by yet another
Frenchman, Dumas, the Governor of Pondicherry. In 1732 the
Nabob of the Carnatic died and was succeeded by his nephew Dost
Ali, who however was on such ill terms with his superior, the
viceroy Nizam-ul-Mulk of the Deccan, that he could not obtain
from him authentic confirmation of his succession. He therefore
courted the support of the Governor of Pondicherry, conceding to
him substantial privileges in return, and soon formed intimate
relations with him. Dost Ali, moreover, had a son, Sufder Ali, and
two sons-in-law, Mortiz Ali and Chunda Sahib, of whom the last
named was imbued with a particular admiration for the French.
The extension of French influence through these new friendships
advanced rapidly. In 1735 the death of the Hindoo Rajah of
Trichinopoly was followed, as usual, by a quarrel over the
succession. The widow of the Rajah, who was one of the claimants,
took the fatal step of invoking the help of Dost Ali, who sent
Chunda Sahib with an army to her assistance. Chunda Sahib, however,
once admitted to the city refused to leave it, but assumed the
government in the name of Dost Ali; and thus Trichinopoly passed
into the hands of a friend to the French. Adjoining Trichinopoly
and between it and the eastern coast lay the Hindoo kingdom of
Tanjore; the Coleroon river, which formed its northern boundary,
running within thirty miles of Pondicherry. Here again the death
of the Rajah in 1738 led to a dispute over the succession, and
one of the competitors, named Sauhojee, offered Governor Dumas
the town of Carical in the delta of the Cauvery and Coleroon, as
the price of French assistance. Dumas promptly supplied money,
arms, and ammunition; and when Sauhojee, having thus gained his
kingdom, declined to fulfil his agreement, Chunda Sahib stepped in
unasked to compel him. Thus Carical also was added to the French
settlements in India.

[Sidenote: 1739.]

[Sidenote: 1740.]

[Sidenote: 1741, March.]

But now the Mahrattas, jealous of the advance of the Mohammedans
in the south, gathered themselves together for the conquest of the
Carnatic, defeated and killed Dost Ali, and spread panic from end
to end of the province. Sufder Ali, thus become Nabob, and Chunda
Sahib fell back on their French allies and sent their families
and goods for security to Pondicherry. Dumas gave them asylum
without hesitation, nor could all the threats of the Mahrattas
shake his loyalty to his friends. He answered their menaces by
strengthening the defences of the town, formed a body of European
infantry, and by a happy inspiration armed four or five thousand
Mohammedan natives and trained and drilled them after the European
model. Thus was conceived in danger and emergency the embryo, now
grown to such mighty manhood, of a Sepoy Army. Meanwhile Sufder
Ali, after the Oriental manner, succeeded in purchasing immunity
from the Mahrattas by secretly betraying Chunda Sahib into their
hands; but none the less his gratitude to the French was extreme.
He declared that from henceforth they should be as much masters of
the Carnatic as himself, and granted to them additional territory
on the southern bounds of Pondicherry. The Mahrattas, pursuant to
their agreement with Sufder Ali, then beleaguered Chunda Sahib in
Trichinopoly, captured the city after a siege of three months, and
carried him off as their prisoner. This done they turned again upon
Dumas, and required of him, among other demands, the surrender of
Chunda Sahib's property. Dumas received the Mahratta envoy with
courtesy but refused inflexibly to comply; and having shown him the
preparations which he had made for the defence of Pondicherry he
dismissed him with the assurance that he would stand by the city
so long as a man was left with him. This resolute bearing had its
effect. The further wrath of the Mahratta chief was allayed by a
present of French liqueurs; and the danger passed away. Dumas,
as the man who had defied the dreaded Mahrattas, became the hero
of Southern India. Presents and eulogies were showered on him by
Sufder Ali and Nizam-ul-Mulk; and even the effete Mogul Emperor
at Delhi conferred on him the title of Nabob, adding thereto the
favour, conferred at Dumas's own request, that the rank should
descend to his successor.

[Sidenote: Oct.]

Dumas then resigned and returned to France, leaving Dupleix to
reign in his stead. The latter, after ten years' administration
of Chandernagore, had raised it to the head of the European
settlements in Bengal, and had concurrently amassed for himself an
enormous fortune by private trading. He at once assumed all the
pomp and circumstance of his rank of Nabob, caused himself to be
installed with great ceremony at Chandernagore, and took pains to
impress upon the neighbouring princes that he was one of themselves
and armed with like authority from the court of Delhi. He could
wear the dignity of his position the more naturally since he had
an innate passion for display, and could turn the outward glitter
to the better account for that he loved it for its own sake. But
his was no spirit to be content with the mere robes of royalty.
The weakness of the court of Delhi and his own remoteness from it
left him free from all restraint. He had the power, and he knew
how to use it; and it had come to him in the nick of time, when
hostilities between France and England were hastening to their
development into avowed and open war.

[Sidenote: 1742, Sept.]

[Sidenote: 1744.]

But meanwhile native affairs had undergone their usual swift
changes in the Carnatic. Sufder Ali, once established as
Nabob, refused to pay the revenue due from him to the viceroy
Nizam-ul-Mulk, and, having little hope of French support in such
defiance of authority, transferred his treasures from Pondicherry
to the custody of the English at Madras. Shortly afterwards he
was assassinated by his brother-in-law, Mortiz Ali, who thereupon
proclaimed himself Nabob. His principal officers then appealed
to the Mahratta chief, Morari Rao, to drive him out, and Mortiz
Ali fled, leaving Sufder Ali's infant son to reign in his place.
The whole province fell into anarchy, and in 1743 the viceroy
Nizam-ul-Mulk appeared with a large army to restore order. The
Mahrattas therefore retired from Trichinopoly; and, the infant
ruler having been made away with, Anwarudeen, one of the viceroy's
officers, was installed as Nabob. By this time Dupleix had received
intelligence that war had been declared between France and England,
and that a British squadron was on its way to destroy Pondicherry.
The French squadron in East Indian waters had been recalled to
France; the fortifications of the city were open to destruction by
the cannon of men-of-war; and there were less than five hundred
Europeans in garrison to defend it against a joint attack by
sea and land. At this crisis Dupleix appealed to Anwarudeen for
protection, pleading the friendship of the French with the Nabobs
of the Carnatic in the past. The Nabob responded by sending a
message to Madras that he intended to enforce strict neutrality
within his province, and would permit no attack to be made on the
French possessions on the coast of Coromandel.

[Sidenote: 1745.]

[Sidenote: 1746, June 25/July 6.]

At the close of 1745 the British squadron duly arrived, but
found itself, through Anwarudeen's action, limited exclusively to
operations by sea. Meanwhile, also La Bourdonnais, aided partly
by the arrival of a few weak ships from France, but chiefly by
his own amazing energy and resource, had fitted out a squadron at
Mauritius, with which he appeared in July 1746 off the southern
coast of Ceylon. An indecisive engagement followed, at the close
of which the British commander, Commodore Peyton, with strange
pusillanimity sailed to Trincomalee to repair the trifling damage
sustained in the action, leaving Pondicherry untouched and Madras
unprotected from French attack. The French therefore had won a
first and most important point in the game: if the Nabob could
be persuaded to let that game proceed without interference, the
ultimate victory must lie with France.

[Sidenote: Aug. 18/29.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 3/14.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 10/21.]

The town of Madras at that time consisted of three divisions; that
on the south side, which was known as the White Town or Fort St.
George, being inhabited by Europeans, that next to northward of
it being given up to the wealthier class of Indian and Armenian
merchants, while a suburb to the north of all was filled with all
other classes of natives. Of these divisions the White Town, which
was about four hundred yards long by one hundred broad, alone
possessed defences worthy the name, being surrounded by a slender
wall with four bastions and as many batteries. The total number
of English did not exceed three hundred, two-thirds of which was
made up of the soldiers of the garrison. The Directors of the East
India Company had too often been neglectful of defences in the
past, and had improved little in this respect during the past half
century. They relied upon the British fleet and upon that alone.
The Governor, Mr. Morse, was simply a merchant, a man of invoices
and ledgers, with little knowledge of affairs beyond the scope of
his business, and ignorant of the very alphabet of intercourse with
native princes. There was, it is true, a clerk in his office named
Robert Clive, who had arrived in India two years before; but this
clerk was known only as a quiet, friendless lad, not without spirit
when provoked, but lonely and out of harmony with his environment,
and grateful to be able to escape from it to the refuge of
the Governor's library. On receiving intelligence of hostile
preparations by the French at Pondicherry, Governor Morse appealed
to the Nabob Anwarudeen to fulfil his determination of enforcing
neutrality within the Carnatic; but his envoy, being unprovided
with the indispensable credentials of a present, met with little
success in his mission. On the 29th of August the French squadron
appeared before Madras, cannonaded it for a time with little effect
and sailed away again; but a fortnight later it reappeared with
eleven hundred European soldiers and four hundred drilled natives,
under the command of La Bourdonnais in person. The troops were at
once landed, batteries were erected, and after a short bombardment
Madras was forced to capitulate. The terms agreed on were, that all
the English inhabitants should be prisoners on parole, and that
negotiations might be reopened later for ransom of the town.

[Sidenote: Oct. 3/14.]

[Sidenote: Oct. 10/21.]

The Nabob Anwarudeen no sooner heard that the French were actually
besieging Madras than he sent a message to Dupleix that unless
further operations were suspended he would put an end to them by
force. Dupleix answered astutely that he was conquering the town
not for France but for the Nabob himself, and would deliver it
to him immediately on its surrender. Fortunately for England La
Bourdonnais's views as to the future treatment of Madras differed
materially from those of Dupleix. As conqueror of the settlement
he claimed that the ultimate disposal of it lay with himself:
Dupleix, intent above all things on conciliating the Nabob, as
vehemently contended that his authority as Governor-General was
supreme in such matters. The two masterful men fell bitterly at
variance over the question, and lost sight of all greater interests
in the acrimony of their quarrel. La Bourdonnais, fully aware of
the danger of waiting on the coast when the northern monsoon was
due, but bent none the less on having his own way, lingered on and
on before Madras, until on the 14th of October the monsoon suddenly
burst upon him with the force of a hurricane, destroyed four of
his eight ships utterly, and disabled the remainder. A week later
he signed a treaty for the ransom of Madras and for its subsequent
evacuation by the French; and this done he returned, as soon as his
ships could be made seaworthy, to Pondicherry. There the quarrel
with Dupleix was resumed face to face; and after only ten days'
stay La Bourdonnais sailed from India never to return.

[Sidenote: Oct. 22/Nov. 2.]

[Sidenote: Oct. 24/Nov. 4.]

Dupleix was now left in sole and unhampered command, with moreover
a force of three thousand trained Europeans ready to his hand, some
of them left behind by La Bourdonnais, some taken from the French
squadron. Such an accession of strength was all important to him,
for he had now to reckon with the Nabob, who growing suspicious
over the long delay in the delivery of Madras had sent ten thousand
men under his son Maphuze Khan to invest the town. Dupleix, who,
if he had ever meant to give it up, had determined first to
dismantle the fortifications, sent orders to D'Espréménil, the
officer in command, to hold the town at all hazards. D'Espréménil
finding himself hard pressed made a sortie with four hundred of
his garrison, and boldly facing the masses of the enemy's cavalry
opened on them so effective a fire from his field-guns that they
fled with precipitation, abandoning their camp to the victor. With
their own clumsy artillery, not yet advanced beyond the stage
attained by European nations in the sixteenth century, the natives
thought it good practice if a gun were discharged four times in
an hour; and they were utterly confounded and dismayed by the
rapidity with which the French pieces were served. This was one
great lesson for Europeans in Indian warfare, but a second and
a greater was to follow. After lingering for another day in the
vicinity of Madras Maphuze marched to St. Thomé, some four miles
to southward of it, to intercept a French force which was on its
way to relieve D'Espréménil's garrison. On the morning of the 4th
of November the expected detachment appeared, a mere handful of two
hundred and thirty Europeans and seven hundred Sepoys, which had
been sent up from Pondicherry under a Swiss officer named Paradis.
The situation of Paradis was sufficiently perilous to have alarmed
him. His orders were to open communications with Madras; and here
was an army of ten thousand men, with artillery, drawn up on the
bank of a river before him to bar his advance. Now, after a century
and a half of fighting in India, no British officer would be for a
moment at a loss as to the course to be pursued, but Paradis had
neither tradition nor experience to guide him. However, whether by
inspiration or from despair, he did exactly what he ought. Knowing
the river to be fordable, he led his men without hesitation across
it and straight upon the enemy, scrambled up the bank, gave them
one volley, and charged with the bayonet. The effect of this bold
attack was instantaneous. The Nabob's army was at once transformed
into a disorganised mob, which fled headlong into the town of St.
Thomé, only to be crowded and jammed in hopeless confusion in the
streets. Paradis, following up his success, poured volley after
volley into the struggling mass; while, to perfect the victory, a
party which had been detached from Madras to join hands with him
came up in rear of the fugitives and cut off their retreat. This
attack in rear, always dreaded by Oriental nations, completed the
rout. Maphuze Khan, who was mounted on an elephant, was one of the
first to fly; and his army streamed away to westward, a helpless,
terrified rabble, never pausing in its flight until it reached

With this action it may be said that the dominance of an European
nation in India was assured. Hitherto the native armies had been
treated with respect. Their numbers had given the impression of
overwhelming strength; and it had not occurred to Europeans that
they could be encountered except with a force of man for man.
Consequently all dealings of Europeans with native princes had been
conducted in a spirit of humility and awe. Even Dupleix, while
flaunting his dignity among his brother Nabobs, had courted the
ruler of the Carnatic with deference and submission. Now the spell
was broken, and Dupleix from the courtier had become the master; so
momentous was the change wrought by a single Swiss officer, whose
very name is hardly known to the nation which now rules India. Of
all the fruits of the long friendship which French and Swiss sealed
with each other's blood in the furious struggle of Marignano, none
is more remarkable than this. The memory of Paradis should be
honoured in England since he taught us the secret of the conquest
of India.

[Sidenote: Nov.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 6/17.]

The victory swept away Dupleix's principal difficulties at a blow.
He at once appointed Paradis to the chief command at Madras and
bade him issue a manifesto repudiating La Bourdonnais's treaty as
null and void, and declaring Madras to belong to the French by
right of conquest. The English protested, but in vain. Morse and
the rest of the officials were conducted to Pondicherry. A few
only contrived to make their escape to Fort St. David, among them
the man who was soon to make Dupleix smart for his ill-faith, the
young writer Robert Clive. Fort St. David, situate about twelve
miles south of Pondicherry, now became the rallying-point of the
English. Since the fall of Madras the authorities there had taken
over the general administration of British affairs on the coast of
Coromandel; the fort, though small, was the strongest for its size
that the British possessed in India; and they were determined to
defend it to the last extremity. Dupleix on his side was equally
resolved to strike at it without delay, and with this object he
instructed Paradis to return to Pondicherry as soon as he should
have settled the affairs of Madras. This duty, however, detained
Paradis until December; and meanwhile the British officials had
invoked the aid of the Nabob Anwarudeen, who, smarting under the
defeat of St. Thomé, agreed to send a force under Maphuze Khan and
his brother Mohammed Ali to Fort St. David. Maphuze Khan, eager
to wipe out his disgrace, attacked Paradis on his march down from
Madras; but the French, though they were but three hundred strong
and encumbered with the plunder of Madras, beat off his attack with
little difficulty, and made their way, with trifling loss, to their
destination of Ariancopang, a mile and a half from Pondicherry.

[Sidenote: Dec. 8/19.]

[Sidenote: 1747.]

[Sidenote: Feb.]

The total force now gathered together by Dupleix at Ariancopang for
the attack on Fort St. David consisted of about sixteen hundred
men, nine hundred of them Europeans, with six field-pieces and as
many mortars. Against these the British garrison could muster but
two hundred Europeans and half as many natives. Unluckily, however,
for the success of Dupleix's schemes, there were several French
officers senior to Paradis, the chief of whom, General de Bury,
took the command. On the 19th of December De Bury crossed the river
Pennar and encamped in a walled garden about a mile and a half from
Fort St. David. Though the Nabob's army was not five miles distant,
neither picquets nor sentries were posted; and the French were
dispersed and cooking their dinners when they were suddenly alarmed
by the approach of the enemy. Panic-stricken the whole force rushed
out of the garden to the river, each man anxious only to place the
water between himself and the foe; and had not the artillery stood
firm De Bury's troops would have fared badly indeed. As things
fell out they escaped with the loss of a dozen Europeans killed
and one hundred and twenty wounded, and made good their retreat to
Ariancopang. For three weeks after this reverse the French remained
inactive in their camp, but in January 1747 a squadron of French
ships arrived on the coast, and Dupleix seized the opportunity
offered by this display of force to reopen negotiations with the
Nabob Anwarudeen. With his usual dexterity he pointed out that
the condition of the British was hopeless; and his arguments were
not the less cogent for an accompaniment of gifts to the value
of fifteen thousand pounds. The Nabob, already weary of the war,
concluded a peace with the French and withdrew his army from Fort
St. David.

[Sidenote: Feb. 19/Mar. 2.]

[Sidenote: Mar. 2/13.]

Dupleix seemed now to hold his rivals in his hand; and undoubtedly
for the moment the outlook for the British was dark. One or two
isolated ships despatched by the Company had arrived on the coast,
but had either been captured or frightened away; and it was not
until March that one of them succeeded in landing twenty men and
sixty thousand pounds in silver at Fort St. David. Ten days later
the French began a second attempt against the fort, but were
compelled to beat a hasty retreat by the arrival of Admiral Griffin
with a British squadron in the roadstead. Griffin landed a company
of one hundred soldiers, and lent also marines and sailors from the
fleet, as a temporary measure, to strengthen the garrison while he
sailed with the fleet to blockade Pondicherry. Fresh reinforcements
arrived at Fort St. David both from Europe and from some of
the Company's settlements during May and June; and by July the
garrison, including the naval brigade, had risen to twelve hundred
Europeans and eight hundred natives.

[Sidenote: June 11/22.]

[Sidenote: 1748.]

The restoration of British supremacy at sea turned the tables
against Dupleix, but he contrived none the less to despatch a
message to Mauritius for reinforcements. The letter did not reach
the island until December, nor was it possible until May 1748 to
send off a squadron, which even then was inferior in strength to
the blockading fleet under Griffin. By great dexterity, however,
the French Admiral contrived to entice Griffin to sea and to slip
past him in the night to Madras, where having landed three hundred
European soldiers and a large sum of money he put to sea again,
leaving Griffin to hunt for him where he would. Dupleix thereupon
snatched the opportunity afforded by Griffin's absence to make
an attack on Cuddalore, an English fortified station about two
miles south of Fort St. David, which he had already attempted
once without success. The force that he had collected for this
enterprise was large judged by the minute scale of the armies
employed in these early Indian wars, consisting of eight hundred
Europeans and one thousand Sepoys. But by this time the British had
been strengthened not only by the reinforcements of the previous
year but by the arrival in January of a competent commander. This
officer, whose fame is far below his deserts, was Major Stringer

[Sidenote: June 17/28.]

Dupleix's idea was to surprise Cuddalore by night, and with
this view he sent his army by a circuitous route to some hills
within three miles of the station, with orders to halt and remain
concealed until the time should come for the attack. Lawrence, who
had full intelligence of the design, ostentatiously removed the
garrison and the guns from Cuddalore to Fort St. David during the
day; but at nightfall sent them back again, with due precautions
to conceal the fact from the French, together with a reinforcement
of four hundred Europeans. At midnight the French advanced to the
walls without thought of meeting with resistance, but had no sooner
planted their scaling-ladders than they were saluted by a withering
fire of musketry and grape. The whole body was instantly smitten
with panic. Most of them flung down their arms without firing a
shot, and one and all took to their heels and fled, not halting
until they reached Pondicherry. So ended the first brush between
French and English troops in India.

[Sidenote: June 23/July 4.]

[Sidenote: July 31/Aug. 11.]

The result was a sad blow to Dupleix, for news had reached them
that a powerful armament was on its way from England. In effect the
British Government had determined to help the East India Company
both with ships and men, and in November 1747 Admiral Boscawen
had sailed with eight men-of-war and a convoy of fourteen hundred
regular troops. By a novel arrangement, due doubtless to the sad
experience of Carthagena, the Admiral held sole command both of
army and navy. The first object prescribed to the expedition was
the capture of Mauritius and Bourbon, which islands, being within
a month's sail of the coast of Coromandel, were of unspeakable
value to the French as a base for their operations in India. The
British possessed no such station. St. Helena was too remote, even
supposing that a harbour comparable to Port Louis could have been
found in it, and the Cape of Good Hope was in the hands of the
Dutch. Boscawen arrived before Port Louis on the 4th of July, but
found Mauritius strongly defended by forts and batteries at every
spot which was suitable for a landing. After three days spent in
vain endeavour to discover a weak point, the Admiral decided to
push on without further loss of time to the ulterior goal appointed
him by his instructions, Pondicherry. He set sail, therefore, for
Fort St. David, and early in August effected his junction with
Griffin. The combined squadrons formed the most powerful armament
yet seen in East Indian waters.

[Sidenote: Aug. 8/19.]

A fleet of thirty ships set Boscawen at ease as to his
communications by sea; and as every preparation had been made at
Fort St. David against his arrival, he was able within a week
to march to the siege of Pondicherry. The King's regular troops
consisted of twelve independent companies each one hundred strong,
eight hundred marines, and eighty of the Royal Artillery, which,
added to the Company's soldiers and a naval brigade, brought up
the total to a strength of thirty-seven hundred Europeans. Two
thousand Sepoys also accompanied the expedition, though as yet
neither trained nor disciplined. But meanwhile Dupleix had not been
idle. Desperate though his situation might appear, he had resolved
to make the best of it, and had not only strengthened the defences
of Pondicherry itself, but had added a strong fort at Ariancopang,
which was constructed under the care of the indefatigable Paradis.
This latter work was the first obstacle that presented itself
to Boscawen's advance. No one in his camp knew anything about
it, because no one had been at any pains to find out. A deserter
reported that it was held by a hundred natives only, and Boscawen
without further ado resolved to carry it by storm. Seven hundred
men were therefore launched against it, only to find that the
defences were decidedly formidable and the garrison four times as
strong as had been supposed. Moreover, owing to a neglect which,
after the failure before St. Lazaro, seems perfectly unpardonable,
no scaling-ladders had been prepared for the storming party.
The troops, therefore, as at St. Lazaro, tried stubbornly to do
impossibilities until nearly a fourth of their number had been
killed or wounded, and then fell back not less mortified than
dispirited by their repulse.

[Sidenote: Aug. 26/Sept. 6.]

It was then resolved to besiege Ariancopang in form; but here
as at Carthagena the engineers proved to be utterly ignorant of
their business, and blunder succeeded blunder. Paradis, who had a
troop of sixty horse in addition to the infantry of his garrison,
judged astutely of the moral effect which cavalry might produce on
seafaring men, and sent his handful of troopers, with infantry in
support, straight at the trenches of the naval brigade. The sailors
were seized with panic; the panic spread to the regular troops,
and the whole rushed headlong back to the camp, leaving their
best officer, Stringer Lawrence, to be taken prisoner. Accident,
however, came to the help of the British. A magazine at Ariancopang
caught fire and exploded, disabling over one hundred men; and
the garrison having dismantled the fortifications withdrew into
Pondicherry. Boscawen accordingly moved forward from Ariancopang
and opened his trenches against the north-western corner of the
town. Then once more the ignorance of the engineers led to blunders
and waste of time, for they opened their first parallel at a
distance of fifteen hundred yards, or twice the distance prescribed
by rule and common sense, from the covered way. Still fortune for
the present favoured the British. A sortie made by the French was
brilliantly repulsed, and Paradis, the ablest of the French both
as officer and engineer, was wounded to the death. The Englishman
most distinguished in this affair was to prove himself Paradis's
most brilliant pupil, an ensign in the Company's service, taken
only twelve months before as a clerk from the Company's desks,
Robert Clive.

[Sidenote: Sept. 26/Oct. 7.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 30/Oct. 11.]

The success of the British now appeared so certain that the Nabob
Anwarudeen, yielding to the repeated gifts and appeals of Boscawen,
decided to throw in his lot with them and promised to furnish a
body of two thousand horse. Still Dupleix was not discouraged. By
the death of Paradis the chief burden of military as well as of
civil command was thrown upon his shoulders, but he did not shrink
from it. After all, if he were no soldier, neither was Boscawen.
By immense labour the British trenches were carried forward to the
position from which they should have been opened, eight hundred
yards from the wall, and early in October two batteries at last
opened on the town. They were answered by twice as formidable a
fire from the guns of the besieged. Boscawen then ordered the fleet
to open fire from the sea, but the ships being prevented by shoal
water from approaching nearer than a thousand yards from the works,
the cannonade was wholly ineffective. The fire of the British
batteries ashore continued for three days with little result, while
that of the besieged increased rather than languished. The rainy
season then set in earlier than usual; the trenches were flooded,
and disease began to rage in the British camp. Finally, on the 11th
of October, Boscawen decided to raise the siege and the British
retreated, leaving over one thousand Europeans dead behind them,
while Dupleix remained proud and unconquered in Pondicherry.

The failure of this enterprise was due to the same causes that
had wrecked the expedition to Carthagena. In the first place,
Boscawen arrived on the coast too late. In the second, he wasted
nearly three weeks over the capture of Ariancopang, which was
not essential to the capture of Pondicherry. In the third, the
unskilfulness of the engineers prolonged the operations, and
occupied the troops with duties which kept them from active service
in the trenches and harassed them to death for no purpose. The
experiment of setting a naval officer in charge of highly technical
military operations was probably due to the influence of Vernon;
to which also may be traced Boscawen's readiness to attempt the
storm of Ariancopang after Vernon's rough-and-ready manner. Against
Spaniards in South America such methods might have succeeded;
against Frenchmen they could not, least of all when commanded by
a Dupleix with a Paradis for his military adviser. If the failure
before Pondicherry had ended with the raising of the siege, the
reverse would have been comparatively a trifling matter; but it
told far and wide over India as a blow to British influence and
prestige, and Dupleix was not the man to neglect to magnify the
success and the greatness of his nation.

The news of the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle some months later brought
about a cessation of overt hostilities and the re-delivery of
Madras to Boscawen; but still the war did not end. As in Europe
French and English could fight fiercely as auxiliaries of an
Elector of Bavaria and a Queen of Hungary, so in Asia they could
carry on, as allies of native princes, the contest which was to
determine the fate of India.


[Sidenote: 1749.]

The first of the native states in which the British initiated
their new policy of intervention was one with which the French
had busied themselves ten years earlier, the kingdom of Tanjore.
There the ruler favoured by Governor Dumas, Sauhojee, had, after
some years of misrule, been deposed; he now came to the British
Company for assistance, offering to pay the expenses of the war
and to give the fort and territory of Devicotah as the price
of his re-establishment on the throne. The Company accordingly
detailed a force of five hundred Europeans and fifteen hundred
Sepoys, which started at the end of March 1749 for Trichinopoly.
Sauhojee had engaged that its operations could be seconded by a
general rising in his favour, but this promise was found to be
illusory, and the expedition returned without effecting anything.
Undismayed, however, by this first failure, the Company equipped a
second force, and resolved this time to push straight for the prize
offered by Sauhojee, the fort of Devicotah. Eight hundred Europeans
and fifteen hundred Sepoys under command of Major Stringer
Lawrence embarked for the mouth of the Coleroon, and landing on
the south side of the river succeeded after a few days' cannonade
in battering a breach in the wall of the fort. A ship's carpenter
then contrived a raft on which troops could be conveyed across the
river, and Lawrence resolved to storm the fort forthwith. Clive
led the storming party, which consisted of thirty-four Europeans
and seven hundred Sepoys, but, the Sepoys failing to support him,
his little party of British was cut to pieces by the cavalry of
the Tanjorines, and he himself narrowly escaped with his life.
Lawrence thereupon resolved to throw the whole of his Europeans
into the breach. The Tanjorine horse again attacked them as they
advanced, but were crushed by their fire; and the British on
entering the breach found the fort deserted. Lawrence accordingly
took possession of the fort and territory, and the Company,
having obtained all that it desired, promised Sauhojee a pension
if he would undertake to give no more trouble in Tanjore. It was
destined to pay dearly for this evil precedent, and for the paltry
acquisition so ignobly gained.

[Sidenote: July 23/Aug. 3.]

Meanwhile momentous events elsewhere had led to fresh
complications. In 1748 Nizam-ul-Mulk, the Viceroy of the Deccan,
died, and his death was followed as usual by a quarrel over the
succession to his throne. The successor nominated by the dead
ruler was his grandson, Murzapha Jung; the rival was his second
son, Nasir Jung; and, as was natural, both claimants cast about
them for allies. It has already been related how Chunda Sahib,
the devoted admirer of the French, had been captured by the
Mahrattas in Trichinopoly in 1741. Ever since that time he had
been kept in close confinement at Satara; the Mahrattas, who
knew him by reputation as the ablest soldier that had been seen
for years in the Carnatic, refusing to release him except for
an impossible ransom. He had, however, a friend in Dupleix, who
throughout his imprisonment had protected his wife and family in
Pondicherry, and had contrived further to maintain with him a
friendly correspondence. Murzapha Jung while travelling in search
of help from the Mahrattas encountered Chunda Sahib at Satara, and
at once perceived the value of such a man for an ally. Dupleix was
called in, and took in the whole situation at a glance. If the
force of the French arms could enthrone Murzapha Jung as viceroy,
there would be little or nothing to hinder French influence from
becoming predominant in the Deccan, or, in other words, to prevent
Dupleix from becoming practically if not nominally viceroy himself.
He at once pledged himself to discharge Chunda Sahib's ransom, and
immediately after his release allowed him to take into his pay two
thousand Sepoys from the garrison of Pondicherry; agreeing also, on
receipt of a further cession of territory near the town, to give
him the assistance of four hundred European soldiers. With these
and with the troops that he had collected, in all some six thousand
men, Chunda Sahib joined himself to Murzapha Jung's army of thirty
thousand men, and advanced with them against Arcot. The capture of
this, the capital town of the Carnatic, would place the resources
of that province at their disposal and win for them the first step
to the throne of the Deccan. The old Nabob Anwarudeen had collected
a force to oppose them, but he could bring forward no troops to
match the disciplined infantry of the French. After a sharp action
at Amoor he was defeated and slain: the victorious army entered
Arcot on the following day, and the Carnatic was won.

Murzapha Jung having proclaimed himself Viceroy of the Deccan, and
taken steps to assert his sovereignty, proceeded next with Chunda
Sahib to Pondicherry, where they were received in great state by
Dupleix, and in return rewarded him with yet another grant of the
neighbouring territory. Meanwhile the English looked on, indignant
but helpless, having barred their right to protest by their own
foolish action at Tanjore. Boscawen did indeed take advantage of
Anwarudeen's death to hoist the British flag over St. Thomé, as a
masterless town which might be of profit to the Company; but for
the rest the arm of the British seemed paralysed. Mohammed Ali,
son of the dead Nabob Anwarudeen, who had fled from the field of
Amoor to Trichinopoly, invoked the aid of the East India Company;
but though profoundly distrustful of the friendship between Chunda
Sahib and Dupleix, the authorities sent but one hundred and twenty
men to help him. This done, they actually permitted Boscawen
to return to England with his fleet and transports, retaining
but three hundred of his men in India to strengthen the British
garrison. This was the moment for which Dupleix had longed. The one
force which he dreaded was removed. It remained only for Murzapha
Jung and Chunda Sahib to march to Trichinopoly and crush Mohammed
Ali; and Southern India was gained once for all.

[Sidenote: Dec. 20/31.]

Dupleix did not fail to urge this step upon his two allies;
but they had spent so much money over their own enjoyment at
Pondicherry that they had exhausted the treasure necessary for the
decisive campaign. Judging that the easiest and speediest method
of replenishing their empty purse would be to extort funds from
the Rajah of Tanjore, they led their armies against that city and
summoned it to surrender. The Rajah, Partab Singh, gained time by
astute negotiation to summon the English and Murzapha Jung's rival,
Nasir Jung, to his assistance; but the English hardly responded,
and the Rajah, cowed by an attack of the French infantry on the
defences of the city, agreed to pay the sum required of him. None
the less, by continual haggling he continued to keep his enemies
inactive before the walls until the news of Nasir Jung's approach,
with a force of overwhelming strength, caused them to fall back in
panic upon Pondicherry.

[Sidenote: 1750.]

[Sidenote: April 1/12.]

The favourable moment in fact had been lost, despite Dupleix's
pressing entreaties that it might be seized. Nasir Jung had not
only invaded the Carnatic with his own forces but had called
Mohammed Ali and the British to his standard; and the East India
Company, roused by the imposing numbers of his army, had sent him
six hundred European soldiers under command of Stringer Lawrence
in person. At the end of March the hostile armies stood within
striking distance of each other midway between Pondicherry and
Arcot, near the fortress of Gingee; but no blow was struck. A
mutiny of the French troops practically broke up Murzapha Jung's
army; Murzapha himself surrendered to Nasir Jung; and the whole
of Dupleix's grand combinations seemed to be shattered beyond
repair. With inexhaustible energy, however, the French Governor
set himself to restore the discipline of the troops, and meanwhile
opened negotiations with Nasir Jung. Finding his overtures rejected
he boldly surprised his camp by night with a handful of men, and
with such effect that Nasir Jung retreated hurriedly to Arcot. The
British, thus abandoned, retired likewise to Fort St. David, and
the field was left open once more to the ambition of Dupleix.

[Sidenote: Aug. 31/Sept. 11.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 5/16.]

Thoroughly understanding the Oriental character, he hastened to
follow up this first blow with another. First he turned upon
Mohammed Ali, who had been left in isolation near Pondicherry,
dispersed his army, though vastly superior to his own, almost
without loss of a man, and sent him flying northward. He then
detached one of his best officers, M. de Bussy, with a handful of
troops against the fugitives of Mohammed Ali's force which had
rallied under the walls of Gingee; and Bussy not only routed them
in the field but actually carried the fort of Gingee itself, for
generations deemed an impregnable stronghold, by escalade. This
feat, one of the most brilliant and marvellous ever achieved by
Europeans in India, provoked Nasir Jung anew to try his fortune
in the field and lured him on to his destruction. Notwithstanding
the lateness of the season he collected a vast unwieldy host of
a hundred thousand men and moved down to Gingee, only to find
military operations absolutely impossible owing to the breaking of
the monsoon. For three months he remained perforce inactive, while
Dupleix sedulously fostered sedition and conspiracy in his camp.
At last, in December, the French attacked and utterly defeated his
army, while the conspirators made an end of Nasir Jung himself.
Murzapha Jung was at once saluted as Viceroy of the Deccan, and
a few days later was solemnly installed as such at Pondicherry;
Dupleix, in all the splendour of Oriental robes, sitting by his
side as one of equal rank, to receive with him the homage of the
subordinate princes. The French Governor was declared Nabob of the
whole of the country south of the Kistnah to Cape Comorin, and
Chunda Sahib was appointed Nabob of Arcot and of its dependencies
under him; his former rival, Mohammed Ali, being only too glad to
gain Dupleix's favour by renouncing all pretensions of his own.
Finally, new privileges and concessions were showered on the French
East India Company. To such a height indeed had French ascendency
risen that Dupleix gave orders for the erection of a city with the
pompous title of the Place of the Victory of Dupleix.

[Sidenote: 1751.]

[Sidenote: Jan. 4/15.]

[Sidenote: June 18/29.]

Nothing now remained but to escort the new Viceroy of the Deccan
to his capital at Aurungabad, a duty which was entrusted to Bussy.
At one point in the march some opposition was encountered, which,
though easily swept aside by the French artillery, proved fatal to
Murzapha Jung. His vindictive temper led him forward to a personal
contest of man to man, and while actually within reach of the
goal of his ambition he was struck dead. The incident, untoward
though it might appear at such a time, proved to be of little
moment. One puppet would serve as well as another for Viceroy of
the Deccan, so the actual sovereignty rested with Dupleix. Salabat
Jung, a younger brother of Nasir Jung, was accordingly released by
Bussy from the prison in which he was confined, and was elevated
with general approval to the place of the potentate whose career
had been so unfortunately cut short. Needless to say, he at once
confirmed all former privileges to the French and added yet others
to them. Finally, in June, the poor creature entered Aurungabad in
state, attended by Bussy and his troops, who did not omit to take
up their quarters permanently in the capital. Thus from the Vindhya
mountains to the Kistnah the country was practically under the
control of Bussy, while from the Kistnah to Cape Comorin Dupleix
ruled as actual vicegerent of the Mohammedan sovereign of the
Deccan. The moment marks the zenith of French power in India.

[Sidenote: March.]

[Sidenote: May.]

Throughout these transactions the British had remained open-mouthed
and inactive, so inactive that in October 1750 they had permitted
their ablest soldier, Stringer Lawrence, to return to England.
Thoroughly alarmed at the rapid progress of Dupleix's influence,
and irritated by the ostentatious display of his sovereignty
on its boundaries, the Company at last resolved to initiate a
steady policy of opposition to the French in all quarters. There
was but one pretext for intervention. Mohammed Ali, the son of
the late Nabob Anwarudeen, while negotiating with Dupleix for
the surrender of Trichinopoly, had never ceased to make piteous
appeals for British assistance. Rather, therefore, than allow this
last excuse for interference to be taken from them, the British
authorities consented to give him help, and as a first instalment
despatched three hundred British and as many Sepoys to Trichinopoly
in February 1751. The main issue now turned on the possession of
Trichinopoly, and Dupleix was not slow to recognise the fact.
Chunda Sahib was already preparing to march upon the city with a
native army of about eight thousand men, and to these Dupleix added
four hundred French under an able officer. The British replied by
equipping a further force of five hundred Europeans, one hundred
Africans, and a thousand Sepoys, under the command of Captain
Gingen, with Lieutenant Robert Clive for his commissariat-officer.
Not daring to act as principal, for French and English were still
nominally at peace, Gingen waited at Fort St. David until the
middle of May, when he was joined by sixteen hundred of Mohammed
Ali's troops. Vested by the advent of this rabble with the
character of a legitimate auxiliary, he then marched southward to
seize the pagoda of Verdachelum, which commanded the communications
between Fort St. David and Trichinopoly. This was successfully
accomplished; and having received further reinforcements he
moved south-westward to Volconda, on the road between Arcot and
Trichinopoly, to intercept the advancing army of Chunda Sahib.

[Sidenote: July 17/28.]

The result was disastrous for Gingen. After the exchange of a few
cannon-shots the British troops were seized with panic, flung down
their arms, and could not be rallied even by Clive himself. Gingen,
finding them much shaken, thereupon fell back upon Trichinopoly.
Chunda Sahib immediately followed them; and after three days of
skirmishing the British crossed the river Coleroon and finally
took refuge under the walls of the city. The enemy lost no time in
closing in around them, and now the French could look upon their
success as well-nigh assured. Almost the whole of the British force
in India was cooped up in the city before them; there seemed to be
no prospect of relief for them from any other quarter, and it was
therefore necessary only to keep them strictly blockaded to make
them prisoners in a body.

The British authorities in Fort St. David saw the danger, but
could not divine how to avert it. A small force of Europeans had
lately arrived from England, but every military officer was shut
up in Trichinopoly, and there was not one at hand to take charge
of a relieving force. None the less a convoy was equipped at the
end of July and sent off with an escort of eighty Europeans and
three hundred Sepoys under command of a civilian, Mr. Pigot, with
Robert Clive, who had returned from the army after the retreat from
Volconda, as second in command. Pigot conducted his convoy safely
as far as Verdachelum and passed his reinforcement successfully
into Trichinopoly, but both he and Clive were cut off while
returning to Fort St. David, and only with the greatest difficulty
evaded capture. Clive, now raised to the rank of captain, was
presently sent into Tanjore with a second reinforcement, which,
like its predecessor, contrived to make its way into Trichinopoly,
and raised the strength of the British battalion therein to six
hundred men. But the French on their side could bring nine hundred
Europeans to meet them; and the salvation of Trichinopoly, and
of British power in India which lay bound up in it, seemed to be

[Sidenote: August.]

[Sidenote: Aug. 26/Sept. 6.]

Clive grasped at once the significance of the situation, and
without wasting further time over the blockaded city returned with
all haste to Madras. The only hope for Trichinopoly, as he pointed
out, lay in a vigorous diversion which should carry the war into
the enemy's country. Though the bulk of the British forces might
be shut up in Trichinopoly, the bulk of Chunda Sahib's army was
equally tied down before it, and therefore the capital of the
Carnatic must be left unguarded. Let a bold stroke be aimed at
Arcot, and Chunda Sahib must either raise the siege of Trichinopoly
to save it, or suffer a loss for which the gain of Trichinopoly
would be poor compensation. The plan was audacious beyond measure,
but the Governor, Mr. Saunders, a resolute and far-seeing man,
perceived its merit; so reducing the garrisons of Madras and Fort
St. David to the lowest point he equipped a force of two hundred
Europeans and three hundred Sepoys, together with three field-guns,
and placed Clive in command with unlimited powers. With this
handful of men and eight officers, of whom four had like himself
been taken from desk and ledger, Clive marched on the 6th of
September from Madras.

[Sidenote: Aug. 31/Sept. 11.]

Arcot, the capital of the Carnatic, and then the seat of Chunda
Sahib's government, lies sixty-four miles to south and west of
Madras. It was then an open town of about one hundred thousand
inhabitants, with no defences but a ruined fort, which was held
by a garrison of a thousand natives. Five days, including a halt
of one day at Conjeveram, sufficed to bring Clive within ten
miles of the city. At this point he again made a short halt, but
resuming his march through a terrific thunderstorm pushed forward
to the gates on the same evening. Rumour of his approach had gone
before him. Spies had reported that the British were striding on
unconcerned through lightning, rain, and tempest; and the garrison,
afraid to oppose a man who set the very elements at defiance,
evacuated the fort without firing a shot.

[Sidenote: Sept. 4/15-6/17.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 23/Oct. 4.]

Clive at once occupied the deserted fort, repaired the defences,
mounted the guns that he found there, and made every preparation to
resist a siege. The native garrison having encamped about six miles
from the city, Clive made two successful sorties against them, in
order to keep them in a becoming state of alarm; and hearing a week
later that they had been reinforced to a strength of three thousand
men, he burst suddenly upon their camp by night, killed several,
sent the rest flying away in panic terror, and returned to the fort
without the loss of a man. But by this time Chunda Sahib had heard
of the misfortune to his capital, and had detached four thousand
men from before Trichinopoly to recapture the fort. Dupleix, though
greatly averse to any diminution of the blockading army, added one
hundred French soldiers to this detachment, while other levies
raised it to a total of ten thousand men. With this force Raju
Sahib, Chunda Sahib's son, entered Arcot on the 4th of October and
began the investment of the fort.

[Sidenote: Sept. 24/Oct. 5.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 25/Oct. 6.]

[Sidenote: Oct. 30/Nov. 10.]

[Sidenote: Nov. 13/24.]

[Sidenote: Nov. 14/25.]

On the very next day Clive made a bold sally with the object of
driving the enemy from the town, but was driven back with the
loss, very serious in view of his numbers, of two officers and
thirty-one European soldiers killed and wounded. On the morrow
the besiegers received further reinforcement, which raised their
numbers to eleven thousand natives and one hundred and fifty
Europeans; whereas Clive's garrison was by this time reduced to
six score Europeans and two hundred Sepoys only. A fortnight
later the enemy's battering train arrived, and on the 10th of
November, a practicable breach having been made in the walls, Raju
Sahib summoned Clive to surrender. He was answered by a message
of contemptuous defiance; but knowing that the supplies of the
fort were running low, he hesitated to storm, in the hope of
reducing the garrison by starvation. Meanwhile, however, Governor
Saunders was pushing forward reinforcements, and had induced the
Mahrattas, under the redoubtable Morari Rao, to throw in their
lot with the British. Intelligence of this last put an end to
Raju Sahib's inaction, and on the 24th of November he laid his
plans for an assault. The day chosen was the festival of the
brothers Hassan and Hussein, an anniversary on which Mohammedan
fanaticism is inflamed always to its fiercest heat. Fortunately
Clive had been warned by a spy of the intended attack, and had
made such preparations as he could by training cannon on to the
breach, and keeping relays of muskets loaded for the maintenance
of a continuous fire. At dawn the enemy's troops swarmed up to
the breach, while elephants, with their heads armoured by plates
of iron, were brought forward to batter down the gates. But the
fire of the British was too hot and deadly to be endured, and the
elephants, galled by wounds, swerved back and trampled all around
them under foot. Once only the storming-party seemed likely to
gain ground, and then Clive, taking personal charge of one of the
field-guns, dispersed them effectively with three or four rounds.
After maintaining the attack for an hour the enemy fell back
defeated. The French for some reason held aloof, and the bravest
of the native leaders were killed. How hot the affair was while it
lasted may be judged from the fact that Clive's garrison, though
reduced to eighty Europeans and one hundred and twenty Sepoys,
expended twelve thousand cartridges during the assault. The loss of
the defenders was but six killed and wounded; that of the enemy was
reckoned at not less than four hundred. On the following day Raju
Sahib raised the siege and marched away, abandoning several guns
and a great quantity of ammunition; and Clive was left in Arcot
triumphant. The siege had lasted fifty days and had cost the little
garrison one-fourth of its number in killed alone, besides a still
greater number wounded; but this was no heavy price to pay for
the re-establishment of British prestige. The feast of Hassan and
Hussein may justly be accounted the birthday of our empire in India.

On the evening of the day of the assault Clive was joined by a
reinforcement of men and of four guns, which enabled him, after
leaving a garrison in the fort, to take the field with two hundred
Europeans and seven hundred Sepoys. Raju Sahib's army had in great
measure disbanded itself during his retreat, none remaining with
him except his small party of French and the men which he had
brought with him from Trichinopoly. With these he retired westward
to Vellore. There a reinforcement from Pondicherry increased the
number of his French to three hundred, while the successful repulse
of a rash attack of Mahrattas had served to raise the spirits of
his troops. But Clive, though inferior in numbers, was not the
man to let them escape scot free. Picking up six hundred Mahratta
horsemen he made a forced march in pursuit of them and caught them
as they were about to cross the river Arnee. The enemy could show
three hundred Europeans against two hundred, fifteen hundred Sepoys
against seven hundred, and three thousand native levies against
the Mahratta horse; but they were out-manœuvred and defeated, with
the loss of fifty Europeans, thrice as many natives, and the whole
of their artillery, while Clive's loss did not exceed eight Sepoys
and fifty Mahrattas. After this action Clive marched on Conjeveram,
captured it after a siege of three days and dismantled the fort.
Then, having thrown a strong garrison into Arcot, he returned at
the end of December to Fort St. David to concert measures for the
relief of Trichinopoly.

[Sidenote: 1752.]

[Sidenote: Feb. 2/13.]

[Sidenote: Feb. 3/14.]

No sooner was his back turned than the scattered levies of Raju
Sahib reassembled; and having first restored the defences of
Conjeveram and thrown a garrison into it to cut off communication
between Madras and Arcot, ravaged the country to within a few miles
of Madras itself. This diversion, which was brought about at
the instigation of Dupleix, had the effect which he desired. The
preparations for the relief of Trichinopoly were suspended, and on
the 13th of February Clive marched from Madras with three hundred
and eighty Europeans and thirteen hundred Sepoys, together with
six guns; the troops being drawn in great part from the garrison
at Arcot. The enemy, though superior in strength of Europeans and
very far superior in native troops and artillery, would not await
his coming, but retired to an entrenched camp at Vendalore, about
five-and-twenty miles south-westward of Madras. Clive hurried after
them, but arriving at Vendalore at three o'clock in the afternoon
found that they had disappeared, no one knew whither. A few hours
later he received certain information that they were gone to
Conjeveram. It was now nine o'clock in the evening, and the men had
already marched twenty-five miles on that day, but Clive without a
moment's hesitation called them out for another forced march, and
by four o'clock next morning had reached Conjeveram. The garrison
of the fort surrendered at the first summons, but gave the bad
news that the enemy had marched on Arcot. Clive's troops were too
much exhausted to follow them at once, but at noon the march was
resumed. At sunset Clive had reached Covrepauk, sixteen miles on
his road, when his advanced guard was surprised by a sudden fire
of nine field-guns upon its right flank. The enemy, failing in
their design against the fort of Arcot, had retraced their steps
by a forced march and laid an ambush for Clive; and Clive, quite
unsuspectingly, had marched straight into it.

The position taken up by the enemy was well fitted for their
purpose. About a furlong to the north of the road, or on the right
of Clive as he advanced, was a dense grove of mango-trees covered
in front by a ditch and a bank; and here were stationed the nine
field-guns of the French with a body of infantry in support. On
Clive's left, or to the south of the road, and about one hundred
and fifty yards from it ran a dry water-course, in the bed of
which troops were well sheltered from fire; and here was massed
the remainder of the enemy's infantry. Between the road and the
water-course and beyond the water-course to the southward was
drawn up the enemy's cavalry, some two thousand in all, ready to
bar the British advance to the front or to sweep round upon their
rear. The peril of Clive's position, already formidable enough, was
enhanced by his inferiority in numbers, for the French could match
four hundred Europeans against his three hundred and eighty, and
two thousand Sepoys against his eighteen hundred; while against
their two thousand horsemen Clive could not produce a man. Without
losing his presence of mind for an instant Clive at once brought up
three of his field-guns to reply to the French artillery, ordered
the main body of his infantry to take shelter in the water-course,
directed the baggage to be drawn back for half a mile with one gun
and a small guard to defend it, and posted his two remaining guns,
with forty Europeans and two hundred Sepoys, to the south of the
water-course to check the enemy's cavalry. The rapidity with which
he grasped the situation, surprised as he was in the waning light,
and the readiness with which he made his dispositions to meet the
danger, suffice in themselves to distinguish Clive as a man almost
unmatched for steadfastness and resource.

Meanwhile the sun went down, and the moon shone cold and white to
light the combatants to battle. In the water-course the French
infantry, six abreast, encountered the English, and exchanged a
savage fire at close range; but both sides, worn out with long
marching, recoiled from a fight with the bayonet. On the other
flank the British gunners, though outnumbered by three to one,
stood to their guns and fell by them under the ceaseless rain of
fire from the French pieces. And all the time the enemy's cavalry
careered restlessly backward and forward, now pressing on the guns
to the south of the water-course, now swooping on the infantry
that guarded them, now making a dash upon the baggage, but never
charging home, for they dared not face the white man. So the combat
went fitfully on for three full hours under the silver moon, but
the red flashes never ceased to leap from the shadow of the grove,
and the British artillerymen were at last so much thinned that
there were scarce enough of them to work the guns. It was plain
that unless the French battery could be silenced the battle was
lost. Clive bethought him that the mango-grove, though protected by
the ditch in front, might be open in the rear, and sent a native
sergeant round to reconnoitre. The sergeant returned to report
that the rear of the battery was unguarded; and Clive, withdrawing
two hundred of the British from the water-course, marched off
stealthily at their head, with the sergeant for his guide. Like
Cromwell at Dunbar he wished to direct the turning movement that
was to decide the day; but no sooner was he gone than the troops in
the water-course began to waver. The whole of them ceased firing
and prepared for flight: some of them, indeed, did actually make
off. Perforce Clive returned to rally them and appointed Lieutenant
Keene to command the turning movement in his place.

Making a wide circuit to avoid discovery, Keene stole round to
the rear of the mango-grove, halted within three hundred yards
of it and sent Ensign Symmonds forward to examine the French
dispositions. Symmonds was not gone far when he came upon a deep
trench, in which a detachment of infantry was taking shelter
until its time for action should come. He was challenged as he
drew nearer, and could see muskets pointed at him, but answering
calmly in French he was allowed to pass and to enter the grove in
rear of the French guns. Behind the battery stood a detachment
of one hundred French soldiers, all gazing eagerly towards the
failing fire of the British cannon in their front, and without any
precaution against attack from the rear. Symmonds stole back to
his men, avoiding the trench; and the two hundred British advanced
silently and noiselessly, by the track of his return, into the
grove, halted under the deep shadow of the mangos within thirty
yards of the French detachment and fired a volley. The effect was
instantaneous. Many of the French fell, the rest of them broke,
the artillerymen abandoned their guns, and the whole fled away
in confusion, they knew not whither, through the trees, with the
British in pursuit. A building in the grove presented a refuge,
and there the fugitives crowded in, not knowing what they did,
one on the top of another until they were packed so tightly that
they could not use their arms. The British presently came up with
them and offered quarter, whereupon the whole of them surrendered
as prisoners of war. Meanwhile the silence of the French battery
told Clive of Keene's success, and his troops in the water-course
regained their confidence. Presently a few of the fugitive French
who had escaped capture came running up to their comrades with
news of the disaster in the grove, and therewith the whole of the
enemy's infantry in the water-course incontinently took to flight.
The native cavalry was not slow to follow the example, and very
soon all sign of an enemy had vanished and the victory was won.
Clive gathered his men together, and the exhausted army lay under
arms until the moon paled and the sun rose up to show what manner
of victory it had won. On the field fifty French soldiers and three
hundred Sepoys lay dead; sixty more French had been captured in the
grove, and the whole of the French artillery was abandoned to the
British. Of Clive's force forty Europeans and thirty Sepoys were
killed and a still greater number wounded, no extravagant price to
pay for so far-reaching a success.

For by Covrepauk not only was the work begun at Arcot completed but
Trichinopoly was saved; not only was British military reputation
established but supremacy in the south of India was wrenched
from the French. It was essentially a general's action, Clive's
action; and when we reflect on the hours that preceded it, hours of
continuous marching, doubtful information, and incessant anxiety,
we can only marvel at the moral and physical strength which enabled
him to present instantly a bold front, to keep his weary soldiers
together during those four hours of fighting by moonlight, and to
devise and execute the counterstroke which won the day.

From Covrepauk Clive marched on to Arcot, and was proceeding
southward from thence when he was recalled to Fort St. David,
to command an expedition which was preparing for the relief of
Trichinopoly. On his way he passed the growing city which was
to commemorate the victories of Dupleix and razed it to the
ground;[236] but he met with no trace of an enemy. Raju Sahib's
army had dispersed; the French and their Sepoys had been recalled
to Pondicherry; and Raju Sahib himself, on returning thither from
the scene of his defeat, was received by Dupleix with a displeasure
and contempt which showed how deeply the dart of Clive's victory
was rankling in the breast of the ambitious Frenchman.

Meanwhile, through all these months the French had maintained the
siege of Trichinopoly, feebly indeed but persistently. In September
1751 their battering train had arrived and batteries had been
erected before the town, but, like Boscawen's before Pondicherry,
at too great a distance to do effectual damage. In fact the French
commander, Law, a nephew of the famous Scottish financier, had
proved himself both unenterprising and incompetent. The force
under his orders comprised the unparalleled number of nine hundred
French troops and two thousand Sepoys, over and above the thirty
thousand native levies of Chunda Sahib; yet he had effected little
or nothing. He was now to be put to a sterner test than the mere
blockading of an inferior force under an inactive leader. The
supreme command of the expedition for the relief of Trichinopoly
was indeed taken from Clive at the last moment, but only to be
transferred to Stringer Lawrence, who had just returned from
England. Moreover Clive was to accompany Lawrence as a trusted
subordinate, so that the change signified only the presence of
two officers of conspicuous ability instead of one. Dupleix's
instructions to Law were explicit: to leave the least possible
number of his troops to continue the blockade of Trichinopoly, and
to march out with the rest to intercept the relieving army.

[Sidenote: March 17/28.]

On the 28th of March Lawrence started from Fort St. David at the
head of four hundred Europeans and eleven hundred Sepoys, together
with eight guns and a large convoy of stores. The distance to be
traversed was about one hundred and fifty miles, and the way was
barred by several rivers. The most important of these was the
Coleroon, which a few miles above Trichinopoly parts itself into
two branches, the northern branch retaining the name of Coleroon
while the southern becomes the Cauvery. It is on the south bank
of the Cauvery, and about three miles below the parting of the
streams, that Trichinopoly stands. The long narrow strip of land
between the two branches is called the island of Seringham, on
which, about fifteen miles below and to eastward of Trichinopoly,
stood the fort of Coilady, barring the advance of any enemy from
that side. About six miles up the river from Coilady the Cauvery
splits again into two branches, and it was along the narrow delta
between these two branches that the advance of Lawrence must
necessarily be made. The ordinary road passed within range of
the guns of Coilady across the Cauvery; and Law, assuming that
the British would certainly follow it, threw the whole of his
intercepting army into the fort. Lawrence, on learning of this
disposition, naturally looked for another road, and although, by an
error of his guides, the British did come under the fire of Coilady
and suffer some loss, yet Law took no advantage of the favourable
moment. Lawrence therefore was able to cross the river and to
advance on the same evening to within ten miles of Trichinopoly.

On the following day Law took up a position astride of the direct
road to Trichinopoly, extending obliquely from the village of
Chukleypollam on the south bank of the Cauvery past a rocky
eminence known as French Rock, whereon he had mounted cannon, and
thence to another almost inaccessible rock called Elimiseram.
Lawrence, apprised of these dispositions, made a circuit to
southward which carried him outside Elimiseram, and a mile beyond
it effected a junction with a detachment of the garrison which had
been sent forward to meet him under Captain Dalton. Law now made a
feeble and half-hearted attempt at an attack; but the action soon
resolved itself into a duel of artillery, from which the French
retired with heavy loss, leaving Lawrence to enter Trichinopoly

[Sidenote: April 1/12.]

[Sidenote: April 6/17.]

A few days later Law, taking fright at a threatening movement of
the British against some of his native levies, resolved forthwith
to withdraw from the south of the Cauvery to the island of
Seringham. In such haste did he execute this pusillanimous decision
that he abandoned most of his baggage, destroyed vast quantities
of stores, and left a small garrison isolated at Elimiseram, which
was promptly captured by the British. Clive then proposed to cut
matters short by dividing the British forces into two bodies, one
to remain to the south of the Cauvery, the other to cross without
delay to the north bank of the Coleroon, in order to cut off
the supplies of the French and sever their communications with
Pondicherry. Lawrence assented, and on the night of the 17th of
April four hundred British, seven hundred Sepoys and four thousand
Mahratta and Tanjorine horse, together with six field-guns, crossed
the Cauvery and Coleroon under Clive himself, and took up a
position at Samiaveram, about nine miles north of Seringham, on the
road to Pondicherry.

[Sidenote: March 30/April 10.]

[Sidenote: April 15/26-16/27.]

Meanwhile Dupleix with unconquerable energy had, on the news of
Law's retreat, despatched one hundred and twenty Europeans and
four hundred Sepoys to him under M. d'Auteuil. Leaving Pondicherry
on the 10th of April, D'Auteuil marched to within fifteen miles
of Clive's position at Samiaveram, and resolved to advance from
thence by a circuitous route to the Coleroon in order to avoid
him. Clive, however, having intercepted one of the messengers sent
by D'Auteuil to apprise Law of his intentions, moved out to meet
him; whereupon D'Auteuil, learning in turn of Clive's advance,
retreated to Uttatoor, while Clive on his side hastened back to
Samiaveram. Meanwhile Law, hearing of Clive's departure from
Samiaveram but not of his return, sent a force of eighty Europeans,
forty of whom were British deserters, and seven hundred Sepoys to
attack his camp, as he supposed, during his absence. At midnight of
the 26th of April Law's party approached the English encampment.
Clive, never dreaming of such enterprise on the part of the French
commander, was in bed and asleep. As the French drew nearer they
were challenged by a sentry of the British Sepoys; but the officer
of the deserters, an Irishman, stepped forward and explained that
he was come with a reinforcement from Major Lawrence, and the
sentry, hearing the deserters speak English, allowed them, after
some hesitation, to pass. The British troops at Samiaveram occupied
two pagodas a quarter of a mile apart, and the native troops were
encamped around them. The French marched through the heart of the
natives' camp and came to the smaller of the two pagodas, near
which Clive was sleeping under an open shed in his palanquin. Here
they were again challenged. They answered by firing a volley into
both pagoda and shed, and then, pressing into the pagoda, put all
within it to the sword.

[Sidenote: April 16/27.]

Clive, startled out of his sleep, and never doubting but that the
fire was the result of a false alarm, ran to the greater pagoda,
turned out two hundred of his Europeans and hurried back with them
to the shed. Here he found a large body of French Sepoys drawn up
before it and firing incessantly at they knew not what, but in
the direction of Seringham. Confirmed by this circumstance in the
idea that these were his own men, for the darkness obliterated all
distinctions of dress, he drew up his Europeans in their rear and
ran in among them, rebuking and even striking them for what he
supposed to be their panic. For some minutes this absurd position
remained unchanged, until one of the Sepoys discovering at last
that Clive was a Englishman, attacked him and wounded him in two
places with his sword. Clive turned upon him instantly, and the
Sepoy finding himself overpowered fled into the pagoda pursued by
Clive, who was now in the highest pitch of exasperation over what
he conceived to be the mutinous behaviour of one of his own men.
To his amazement Clive was accosted at the gate by six Frenchmen;
and then at last he was undeceived. With astonishing composure he
told them that he was come to offer them terms, and invited them
to see his whole army drawn up ready to attack them. Completely
deceived by his confidence the French surrendered; and Clive then
prepared to attack the Sepoys, but found that they were already
withdrawn out of reach of his Europeans. There still remained,
however, the larger force of the enemy's Europeans, including the
British deserters, which had occupied the greater pagoda. These
last refused to surrender, and made so desperate a resistance
that at daybreak Clive approached them to open a parley. Owing to
weakness from loss of blood he was obliged to lean on the shoulders
of two sergeants; but the officer of the deserters, whether through
desperation or sheer brutality, at once presented a musket at
him and fired. The bullet missed Clive but wounded both of the
sergeants to death; whereupon the French soldiers, fearing that
their apparent connivance with such an act might debar them from
any claim to quarter, immediately laid down their arms. All the
Europeans of the enemy's force being now secured, the Mahratta
horse was despatched in pursuit of the retreating Sepoys, whom they
overtook before they had reached the Coleroon and cut down to a
man. Thus for the second time did Clive's marvellous presence of
mind not only pluck himself and his troops out of deadly peril, but
turn his enemies' devices with terrible retribution upon their own

[Sidenote: April 26/May 7.]

[Sidenote: April 28/May 9.]

[Sidenote: June 2/13.]

After this repulse the toils closed rapidly round the French
in Seringham. On the 7th of May Lawrence captured the fort of
Coilady together with all the stores therein and cut off Law from
communication with the east; and after this little remained to
be done except to dispose of D'Auteuil, who still lingered at
Uttatoor waiting for an opportunity to effect a junction with
Law. On the 9th of May Lawrence detached Captain Dalton with five
hundred Europeans and Sepoys and as many Mahratta horse to oust
him; a task which Dalton accomplished by making such a display
of his force that D'Auteuil, conceiving Clive's whole army to be
upon him, retreated after a faint resistance to Volconda. In the
course of the next few days Clive captured an important post which
severed Law's communications with the north and commanded the
camp of Seringham. Thereupon the greater part of Chunda Sahib's
army deserted, some of the men even taking service with Clive.
Shortly afterwards the British crossed the Cauvery and established
themselves on the island of Seringham itself, hemming the French in
closer and closer. Then D'Auteuil, roused by the desperate state of
his comrade, took courage and again moved southward from Volconda.
Clive was at once despatched with a force to Uttatoor to meet him;
but D'Auteuil's heart again failed him when he arrived within seven
miles of that position, and he retreated hastily towards Volconda.
He was not, however, to escape thus easily. Clive at once pushed
forward the Mahrattas to harass him on the march; his Sepoys,
veterans of Arcot, marched their swiftest after the Mahrattas and
opened the attack by themselves; and last of all the British,
who had been unable to keep pace with the Sepoys, arrived at the
scene of action, when D'Auteuil, seeing resistance to be hopeless,
surrendered. His force consisted of but one hundred Europeans and
less than eight hundred Sepoys and natives, of whom the latter were
at once disarmed and released. Thus vanished Law's last hope of
relief. Chunda Sahib in vain urged him to make a sally against the
divided forces of the British, and to cut his way out to Carical.
Law would not move. On the 13th of June he surrendered; and eight
hundred French troops and two thousand Sepoys became prisoners of
war, while forty-one pieces of artillery passed into the hands of
the victors. A few days later Chunda Sahib, who had made terms of
surrender for himself, was treacherously assassinated by order of
the Tanjorine General, and his head was sent to his successful
rival, Mohammed Ali. Thus for the present ended the long agony of
the contest for Trichinopoly. To all appearance Dupleix was really
beaten at last; but his resources were not yet exhausted, and the
last battle had not yet been fought before the city on the Cauvery.


[Sidenote: 1752.]

[Sidenote: June 7/18.]

No sooner was the victory gained at Trichinopoly than the Nabob
Mohammed Ali and his allies the Mysoreans and Mahrattas fell at
variance over the division of the spoil. This complication, which
was due in great measure to the intrigues of Dupleix, thoroughly
answered his purpose; for the British, who had marched northward as
far as Uttatoor to prosecute the campaign in the Carnatic, found
themselves obliged to return to Trichinopoly. Finally two hundred
Englishmen and two thousand Sepoys under Captain Dalton were
left in the city to keep the peace; the Mahrattas and Mysoreans
still keeping their former position to westward of the city, and
occupying, by leave of Mohammed Ali, the pagoda which formed the
strongest post on the island of Seringham. The remainder of the
British army then resumed its march to northward, but with all
hope of future operations frustrated by this untoward diminution
of its strength. Advancing by Volconda and Verdachelum Lawrence on
the 17th of July took Trivady, which was held by a small party of
French Sepoys, and there left the army, to return to Fort St. David
on sick-leave. Clive had already proceeded thither for the same
reason, and the British force was left under the command of Major
Gingen, an officer of tried incapacity.

Meanwhile Dupleix's activity had never ceased. While the native
confederates were quarrelling over the success at Trichinopoly the
annual reinforcement of troops arrived from France, and these, by
dint of taking sailors from the ships, he increased to a strength
of five hundred European soldiers. This done he waited only for an
opportunity for retrieving the reputation of the French arms. Such
an opportunity soon came. Yielding to the fanciful representations
of Mohammed Ali, but contrary to the wishes of Lawrence, Governor
Saunders ordered Gingen to detach a portion of his force against
the fortress of Gingee. Gingen accordingly told off two hundred
Europeans, fifteen hundred Sepoys and six hundred native cavalry
for the task, the command being entrusted to Major Kinnear, an
officer only recently arrived from Europe and wholly without
experience of India. What the object of such an enterprise can
have been it is difficult to divine. Gingee, it is true, was above
all fortresses in India bound up with the glory of France, and
its capture would therefore have dealt a blow at French military
reputation; but Gingee, held by trained troops under an European
commander, was not to be taken again as Bussy had taken it, when
defended by undisciplined natives only. Kinnear on approaching
the fortress perceived his task to be hopeless, and while still
hesitating as to his movements found that Dupleix had moved a
French force, under command of his nephew, M. Kerjean, in his
rear, to cut off his communications with Trivady. Nothing daunted
Kinnear faced about and attacked Kerjean, but was repulsed with
heavy loss; and the native princes, finding their faith in the
invincibility of the British thus disappointed, began again to veer
round to the side of the French. Most opportunely also for himself
Dupleix received at this time the confirmation from Delhi of his
appointment of Nabob of the country south of the Kistnah. With his
usual cleverness he selected Raju Sahib, the son of Chunda Sahib,
to hold the post subject to himself, thus reasserting himself as
Dupleix the king-maker. Strengthened by this accession of dignity
he renewed his intrigues with the Mysoreans and Mahrattas, who
engaged themselves to embrace the side of the French if Dupleix
would find means to distract the principal British army from
Trichinopoly and leave them free to do what they would with the
city. Dupleix accordingly as a first step reinforced Kerjean to a
strength of two thousand trained men, one-fourth of them Europeans,
and five hundred native horse, and sent him to blockade Fort St.
David and cut its communications with Trichinopoly.

[Sidenote: Aug. 17/28.]

[Sidenote: Aug. 26/Sept. 6.]

Lawrence on learning of this movement at once embarked from
Fort St. David for Madras, and marched from thence with a force
nearly equal to Kerjean's to attack him. Kerjean, however,
fell back, closely followed by Lawrence, until he was within
a league of Pondicherry and on French soil, where Lawrence's
instructions forbade him to take aggressive action. Lawrence
thereupon, as though in dread of a regular engagement, retreated
with precipitation to Bahoor, two miles from Fort St. David, in
the hope that Kerjean would pursue him. Kerjean and his master
Dupleix with him both fell into the snare; and the French force
advancing in pursuit of the British encamped within two miles of
Bahoor. At three o'clock on the following morning the British force
marched off to attack him, the Sepoys seventeen hundred strong in
the first line, the English four hundred strong in the second,
while four hundred native horse advanced parallel to them on the
farther side of a high bank which ran from the right of Lawrence's
position to the French camp. A little before dawn the British
Sepoys struck against the French outposts and skirmished with them
until daylight, when the battalion of French soldiers, stronger
by fifty men than that of the British, was discovered drawn up
between the bank and a large pond. The British halted to extend
their front to equal that of the French, a French battery of eight
guns playing upon them vigorously as they executed the movement,
and then advanced firing, platoon after platoon. Closer and closer
they came, still firing; but the French never shrank for a moment
until, rarest of rare incidents, the bayonets crossed and the two
battalions engaged each other fiercely hand to hand. At length,
however, a company of British grenadiers, the choicest troops in
India, forced its way though the French centre; upon which the
whole of the French gave way, flung down their arms and fled. Had
the native cavalry then charged as they were bidden they would
utterly have annihilated Kerjean's troops, but according to their
custom they preferred to plunder the French camp. The loss of the
French in killed and wounded is unknown, but Kerjean himself with
fifteen other officers and one hundred men were taken prisoners.
The British battalion lost four officers and seventy-eight men
killed and wounded, a sufficient proof of the stubbornness of the

Signal though this victory might be, Lawrence did not think it
prudent to venture on further operations until he could ascertain
whether the Mahrattas, always wavering since the dispute after the
expulsion of the French from Trichinopoly, would finally attach
themselves to the British or to their enemies. He therefore moved
to Trivady, designing to reduce the country northward between
Pondicherry and the river Paliar. Meanwhile the Nabob Mohammed
Ali requested that the forts of Chinglapet and Covelong, which
commanded a considerable tract of country north of the Paliar,
might be captured. The only troops that could be furnished from
Madras for the purpose were two hundred English recruits, the
sweepings of the streets of London, and five hundred newly raised
Sepoys as untrained as the English. It was unpromising material,
but Clive volunteered to take the command, and to Clive the
task was entrusted. The force accordingly marched, taking four
siege-guns with it, from Madras on the 10th of September; its first
destination being Covelong, a walled fort on the coast, which was
held by fifty Europeans and three hundred Sepoys. On arriving
before it Clive sent forward a detachment to a garden within a
short distance of the fort, where it was attacked by the French.
Unfortunately the officer commanding the British was killed,
whereupon the men at once took to their heels. By good luck they
ran against Clive and the main body in their flight, and by dint
of blows and curses they were with some difficulty rallied and
brought back to the garden, which was evacuated by the French on
their approach. On the following day Clive began the erection of a
battery, but it was only with the greatest trouble and by constant
exposure of himself to the enemy's fire that he could induce his
men to stand. On the third day of the siege intelligence reached
Clive that a French force, little inferior in numbers to his own,
was advancing from Chinglapet to the relief of Covelong. With his
usual audacity he at once led half of his miserable troops forth
to meet it; but the terror of his name sufficed to awe the French
commander into a precipitate retreat. Thereupon the garrison of
Covelong surrendered, and Clive on taking possession of the fort
found therein fifty guns which had been taken from Madras by La

[Sidenote: Oct. 31/Nov. 11.]

At daybreak of the following morning Ensign Joseph Smith discovered
a considerable force moving forward upon Covelong, and concluding
that it must be the French again advancing from Chinglapet, posted
such troops as were with him in ambuscade and hastened to inform
Clive. The conjecture proved to be correct. The French marched
straight into the ambuscade, where the troops, which Clive had
taken over less than a week before as a spiritless, undisciplined
rabble, poured in so deadly a fire that within a few minutes they
struck down a hundred men. The attack was so unexpected that half
of the French force stood rooted to the ground with fear. The
commanding officer, with a score more of Europeans, two hundred
and fifty Sepoys and two guns were captured, and the remainder,
throwing down their arms, rushed away in terror to Chinglapet.
Clive resolved to follow them while the panic was still alive. The
fort of Chinglapet, though of native construction, was designed
with more than ordinary native skill; it mounted fifteen guns and
was held by forty Europeans and five hundred Sepoys. Clive hastened
to traverse the thirty miles that separated it from Covelong, and
after four days' cannonade succeeded in making indeed a breach,
though not such a breach as in the least to endanger the safety
of the fort. But the terror of his name was again potent, and the
garrison surrendered the place on condition that it should march
out with the honours of war, terms which Clive was very well
content to grant. Thus the country to the north of the Paliar,
from the mouth of the river to Arcot, was subjected to the allies
of the British, all by a handful of men who, starting as raw
and villainous recruits, returned, under the magic of Clive's
leadership, as heroes. This instance of his power is the more
remarkable inasmuch as throughout the expedition he was in bad
health, which indeed forced him to sail for England as soon as he
had completed the work. His departure from India was more valuable
than a victory to Dupleix.

[Sidenote: 1753.]

[Sidenote: Jan. 3.]

Meanwhile, despite these successes and Lawrence's brilliant
action at Bahoor French influence was, on the whole, decidedly
on the gaining hand. Within six weeks of Bahoor, thanks to the
indefatigable intrigues of Dupleix, both Mysoreans and Mahrattas
had alienated themselves from the English and openly attached
themselves to the French cause. Dalton had from the first been
troubled by conspiracies and other mischievous designs of the
Mysoreans in Seringham, which compelled him to take precautions
in Trichinopoly as elaborate as though he were in presence of
an enemy. Dupleix, seeing that affairs were going as he wished,
promised to send some Europeans to help the Mysoreans in Seringham;
and the Mysoreans, thus encouraged, moved a step further forward
and suborned the Mahrattas to cut off supplies from the city. It
was now useless for the authorities at Madras longer to pretend
to treat the Mysoreans otherwise than as enemies. Accordingly,
early in January 1753 Dalton attempted a surprise of their camp
in Seringham, which though at first successful was eventually
repulsed with the serious loss of seventy Europeans and three
hundred of the best Sepoys. Thus the struggle for Trichinopoly, the
darling object of Dupleix's ambition, was reopened, and reopened by
a reverse to the British. Dalton, undismayed though fully alive to
the significance of his failure, now turned all his attention to
the defence of the city.

[Sidenote: March.]

His situation indeed was most critical. Even before his sortie he
had discovered that but three weeks' supplies were left to him,
and had urged Lawrence to march to his relief; and now not only
were his communications with the north severed by the hostile
occupation of Seringham, but a force of eight thousand men had
entrenched itself at a place called Fakir's Tope, four miles to
south-west of the city, to intercept all supplies from the south.
Meanwhile, to divert the British from Trichinopoly, Dupleix had
skilfully engaged Lawrence in a campaign of petty, harassing
operations on the river Pennar; while the Mahrattas scoured every
part of the Carnatic from the Paliar to the Coleroon, insulting
even the fortifications of Fort St. David. Lawrence in vain strove
to bring the French to action. They were following the tactics of
Saxe in the Low Countries, always present and therefore always a
danger, but always entrenched to the teeth against attack. Finally,
after an unsuccessful attempt to storm their entrenchments,
Lawrence resolved to adopt the course so often urged by Ligonier
in Flanders, to carry the war into some other quarter. So far his
operations had proved a failure, and the reputation of the British
had accordingly waned paler than ever in the eyes of the native
princes. He was still hesitating as to the choice of a new theatre
of operations when his mind was made up for him by the receipt of
Dalton's letters from Trichinopoly.

[Sidenote: April 21/May 2.]

[Sidenote: May 6/17.]

Throwing a garrison of one hundred and fifty British and five
hundred Sepoys as a garrison into Trivady, he marched with the
remainder by Chillumbrum, Condoor, and Tanjore for Trichinopoly,
and entered the city unmolested on the 17th of May. Dalton had not
been inactive during the interval, and had done his best to clear
the way for his coming by scaring the enemy from their position
at Fakir's Tope. Nevertheless Lawrence's men had suffered greatly
on the march. Several died from the effects of the heat, others
were sent back to Fort St. David, and no less than a hundred were
carried straight into hospital at Trichinopoly. Finally, there was
much desertion, in particular from a company of Swiss which had
been sent down from Bengal. Thus, even including such men of the
garrison as could be spared from duty in the city, he could muster
no more than five hundred Europeans, two thousand Sepoys, and three
thousand native horse for service in the field. To add to his
difficulties Dupleix, on hearing of his march, had with his usual
promptitude despatched M. Astruc with two hundred Europeans, five
hundred Sepoys and four guns to join the Mahrattas and Mysoreans
at Seringham, which force arrived at its destination only one day
later than Lawrence himself. None the less, after granting his
troops three days' rest Lawrence took the initiative with his
wonted energy, crossed the river to Seringham with his infantry
only, and made a daring attempt to drive the enemy from the island.
Success was almost within his grasp, and the French were actually
about to retreat when, by an unfortunate misadventure, the British
troops were recalled just at the critical moment, and the enemy
recovering themselves forced him to fall back. His loss was but
slight, but he had seen sufficient to convince him that for the
present he must confine himself to the defensive.

Meanwhile matters went ill with the British farther north. The
French attacked Trivady and though twice repulsed succeeded,
thanks to a mutiny among the garrison, in capturing it. A British
detachment was also obliged to evacuate Chillumbrum through the
treachery of the native governor. Thus the control of these
districts was lost, and communication between Trichinopoly and
Fort St. David was hampered, while swarms of banditti, pretending
commissions from Dupleix, levied contributions and spread
lawlessness through the country. Finally Mortiz Ali, called
from obscurity by Dupleix to replace Raju Sahib as Nabob of the
Carnatic, commenced hostilities in the neighbourhood of Arcot and
even destroyed a small British force. He was only restrained from
further operations in that quarter by Dupleix who, always with his
eye on Trichinopoly, persuaded him to detach three thousand of his
Mahrattas to Seringham and added to them three hundred Europeans
and a thousand Sepoys. The total force on the island after the
arrival of this reinforcement amounted to four hundred and fifty
Europeans, fifteen hundred well-trained and over a thousand
imperfectly trained Sepoys, eight thousand Mysorean and over three
thousand Mahratta horse, and a rabble of fifteen thousand native
infantry. After many failures it seemed that Dupleix at last held
the coveted Trichinopoly within his grasp.

As soon as these troops had joined them the French quitted
Seringham, and crossing to the south side of the Cauvery encamped
in the plain three miles to the north of Fakir's Tope. A mile to
the south of Lawrence's position some mountains known as the Five
Rocks rise out of the plain, on which he had always maintained
a guard to secure the passage of his supplies from the south.
Unfortunately Lawrence was obliged by sickness to withdraw from the
camp to the city, and during his absence this guard was withdrawn.
The French thereupon at once seized the Five Rocks and encamped
there with their entire force, thus cutting Lawrence off not only
from his supplies but from seven hundred of his Sepoys, who were
on their way to him from the south with a convoy. The British
commander's position was now almost desperate. His troops lost
heart in the presence of overwhelming numbers, and desertion became
frequent; Dupleix seemed to be nearer than ever to the capture of

[Sidenote: June 26/July 7.]

Lawrence had now but one post by which to communicate with the
south, a rocky eminence known as the Golden Rock, about half
a mile to south-west of his camp, which he had occupied with
two hundred Sepoys. On the 7th of July Astruc sallied forth
from the French camp with his grenadiers and a large force of
Sepoys to attack it, knowing that, if he could capture it, his
artillery would force Lawrence to take refuge under the walls
of Trichinopoly, where his surrender or retreat would be only
a question of days. The Sepoys on the Golden Rock made a stout
resistance, and Astruc presently ordered out the whole of his
army to support the attack. Lawrence observing this detached a
hundred Europeans to guard the camp, and marched with the rest of
his force, a bare three hundred European infantry, eighty British
artillerymen and five hundred Sepoys, to gain the position before
the French army; but ere he could reach it Astruc by a desperate
effort carried the Golden Rock and killed or captured every Sepoy
of the guard. Lawrence saw the white flag of France flutter from
the summit, and halted. Before the rock itself stood the French
Sepoys with the grenadiers in support; on either flank of them the
French artillery was playing on his own troops, in rear of the rock
was the battalion of French, with the entire Mysorean army drawn
up a cannon-shot behind him, while the Mahratta horse scoured the
plain in small parties, continually menacing Lawrence's flanks and
rear. The courage of the British rose to the occasion. After the
tedious disappointing work with the French entrenchments on the
Pennar they asked for nothing better than a brush with their old
enemy in the open field. Lawrence saw with joy the spirit that
was in them. A few words from him served to heighten it; and then
he gave the order to his grenadiers to fix bayonets and storm the
Golden Rock, while he himself with the rest of the troops should
engage the entire army of the enemy. The men replied with three
cheers: the bayonets sprang flashing from their scabbards, and the
word was given to advance.

Forward strode the grenadiers, at great speed but in perfect order,
with the best of the Sepoys after them, forward to the base of the
Rock, heedless of the spattering fire from above them, forward to
the ascent of it, forward without dwelling or firing a shot to the
summit; while the enemy, not daring to await the shock of their
onset, scrambled headlong down in terror to the plain. Meanwhile
Lawrence, with his men in beautiful order, was moving in column
round the western side of the Rock, with the design of falling on
the left flank of the French battalion. Astruc thereupon changed
front to the left to meet him, resting his right flank upon the
Rock; but the movement was hardly completed when the British column
with admirable precision wheeled into line to its left and halted
squarely before him, not more than twenty yards away. Astruc called
to his men to reserve their fire till the rest of his troops
should deploy and encompass Lawrence's handful of infantry; when
to his amazement, for he had not seen the advance of the British
grenadiers, a heavy fire from the Rock struck full and true against
his right flank and flung it staggering back. The French line
wavered. Lawrence's men poured in one crushing volley, and before
the French ranks could be closed the British bayonets came gleaming
through the smoke, and Astruc's battalion was broken up in hopeless
confusion. A few rounds of grape from a British field-gun completed
the disorder, and the whole of the French infantry fled for refuge
to the rear of the Mysoreans, leaving their guns in the hands of
their victors. The Mahratta cavalry dashed forward to cover their
retreat, and cut down a few of the British grenadiers who had
run forward to secure the captured guns; but they strove in vain
to pierce the phalanx of bayonets about the main body and were
repulsed with heavy loss. Lawrence halted at the foot of the Rock
for three hours, anxious only to renew the fight, and then prepared
to retire to his camp, leaving the French to occupy the Golden Rock
again if they dared.

Then came the critical operation of a retreat across the plain
among the swarms of the enemy's horse. The three captured guns were
placed in the centre, the infantry was formed in platoons on each
flank, the British field-guns distributed in the front, rear and
intervals of the column. Against these two parallel lines of eight
hundred resolute men not even the rush of ten thousand cavalry
could prevail. The infantry halted at the word with ordered arms
as coolly as on parade, and the gunners waited calmly, linstock in
hand, while the wild horsemen whirled up to them, till the signal
was given and a shower of grape laid men and horses in scores upon
the plain. The havoc wrought by the British artillery and the sight
of the infantry steady and immovable, reserving their fire, was too
much for the native cavalry. They broke and fled in all directions,
and Lawrence marched proudly back to his camp, having fought an
action as skilful, as gallant, and as daring as ever was won by
British officer on the blood-stained plains of India.

The victory not only ensured the safe arrival of Lawrence's convoy
from the south, but set the French and their allies at variance,
Mysoreans and French mutually reproaching each other, and the
Mahrattas impartially blaming both. Astruc resigned his command
and was succeeded by M. Brennier, who continued the blockade of
Trichinopoly. Lawrence being weak in numbers resolved not to hazard
another general action, but marched with his army into Tanjore,
with the double object of meeting a reinforcement that was on its
way from Madras, and of persuading the wavering king to take his
side and to furnish him with some native horse. He was successful
in both matters, and after a month's absence turned back towards
Trichinopoly, having obtained three thousand horse and two thousand
foot from Tanjore, and one hundred and seventy Europeans and three
hundred Sepoys from Fort St. David.

[Sidenote: August 9/20.]

On entering the plain with a large convoy Lawrence was warned by
signals from Trichinopoly that the French were awaiting him. Their
cavalry was drawn up between the Golden Rock and another eminence,
called the Sugar-loaf Rock, about a mile to the east of it. The
Golden Rock itself was occupied by a detachment, but the main body
of the enemy's infantry and the whole of their artillery was formed
up by the Sugar-loaf Rock, that being the point where Lawrence,
whose advance was from the south-east, would first come within
their reach. Lawrence on perceiving their dispositions resolved to
hold on his course straight westward, keeping his convoy wide on
his left or unexposed flank, and so to move round the Golden Rock
and wheel northward upon the city. It was, however, imperative that
he should capture the Golden Rock at whatever cost, since that
position commanded the entire space between it and Trichinopoly. To
conceal his intention he halted the army a mile to south-east of
the Sugar-loaf and bade the convoy march on alone, at the same time
detaching his grenadiers and eight hundred Sepoys with orders to
defile westward under cover of the convoy, and at the right moment
to move as swiftly as possible to the attack of the Golden Rock.

Brennier, with no eyes for anything but Lawrence's menacing
attitude before the Sugar-loaf Rock, hastily recalled most of
the detachment from the Golden Rock to his main position. Then,
perceiving too late the advance of the British grenadiers, he
despatched a thousand native horse at full gallop to check them,
and sent three hundred infantry to reinforce the party on the
Rock. But the cavalry dared not charge home upon the grenadiers,
who without slackening their pace for an instant swarmed up the
Rock, drove out the enemy, and planted their flag on the summit.
The French reinforcement lost heart at the sight and halted, and
Brennier, who was advancing with the main army, halted likewise,
giving time to Lawrence to bring the whole of his force up to the
Golden Rock. Brennier then opened a destructive fire of artillery
upon the British, but for some reason left the reinforcement, which
had failed to reach the Golden Rock, still standing alone and
unsupported. Lawrence therefore detached the grenadiers and five
hundred more Europeans and Sepoys to cut off this isolated party
before Brennier's main body could reach it, giving orders that it
should be broken up with the bayonet. These troops suffered much
from the fire of the French cannon during their advance, and the
officer in command hesitated to attack; whereupon Lawrence himself
galloped to their head, and the French not caring to await the
shock turned and fled. Dalton, who had been watching the fight
from Trichinopoly, now came up in their rear with a couple of
field-guns and completed their discomfiture. Then too late Brennier
set the main body in motion; but these seeing the defeat of their
comrades ran off in confusion to the Five Rocks, with the British
guns from the Golden Rock playing on them all the way. This little
combat cost the French about one hundred and the British about
forty killed and wounded; but its moral effect was great, since it
showed Brennier to be as helpless as a child in presence of such a
commander as Lawrence.

[Sidenote: Aug. 24/Sept. 4.]

[Sidenote: Aug. 26/Sept. 6.]

After the action the French retreated to Weycondah, a strongly
fortified post some two miles west of the city, where they
entrenched themselves; but quitted this stronghold in confusion at
the mere menace of an attack by Lawrence, and retired to the south
bank of the Cauvery. A few weeks more under Brennier would probably
have brought the French to a pitch of demoralisation which would
have simplified Lawrence's task not a little; but just at this
moment the energy of Dupleix again turned the tables against the
British. Four hundred Europeans, two thousand Sepoys, and several
thousand native troops arrived to reinforce the French, and, more
important still, Astruc arrived with them to take the command out
of Brennier's hands. Once more, therefore, Lawrence was thrown
on the defensive, and forced back to his old position at Fakir's
Tope. The French likewise moved round to southward of him, resuming
their old position between the Golden and Sugar-loaf Rocks; and in
this posture the two armies remained, looking at each other across
two miles of open plain without firing a shot. At last on the
30th of September Lawrence moved round to the French Rock, off the
south-east side of the town, to meet a reinforcement which was on
its way to him from the eastward, and brought it in successfully
on the same evening. The reinforcement consisted of three hundred
Sepoys and of two hundred and thirty-seven Europeans, which latter
had just arrived from England, together with an officer who was
soon to become famous, Captain Caillaud. Small though it was, and
very far from sufficient to equalise the disparity of numbers
between the British and the enemy, its arrival raised the army's
spirits not a little; and Lawrence, straitened for supplies and
fuel, resolved to bring the enemy to a general action and, if
necessary, to attack them in their camp.

[Sidenote: Sept. 20/Oct. 1.]

Sending his baggage under cover of night to Trichinopoly, he
withdrew from the garrison every European that could be spared,
a bare hundred men, appeared at daybreak at his old position of
Fakir's Tope, and offered battle. The enemy declining to meet him,
he determined to attack them on the morrow. The French camp fronted
towards the north, extending both east and west of the Sugar-loaf
Rock. The Mahrattas were encamped to the east, and the French
close to the west of the Sugar-loaf, while beyond the French the
Mysoreans prolonged the line westward almost to the Golden Rock.
The rear of the camp was covered by jungle and rocky ground; the
front of the French quarters was protected by an entrenchment, as
was also that of the Mahratta camp; but along the rest of the line
the field-works, though marked out, were still unfinished. The
Golden Rock itself was held by one hundred Europeans, six hundred
Sepoys, and two companies of native infantry, with two guns. The
total strength of the French forces would seem to have been about
six hundred Europeans, three thousand Sepoys, and from twenty to
thirty thousand Mahrattas and Mysoreans, both horse and foot.
Against them Lawrence could pit an equal number of Europeans, two
thousand Sepoys and three thousand Tanjorine horse. The battle
therefore, if won, must be won by the General.

[Sidenote: Sept. 21/Oct. 2.]

The moon was shining brightly over the plain when Lawrence's army
fell into its ranks before the camp and marched away in profound
silence towards the Golden Rock. The British battalion, five
hundred strong, led the van in column of three divisions, the
grenadiers in the front; while six field-guns, with a hundred
British artillerymen, were distributed equally on the flanks of
each division. In rear of the British followed the Sepoys in two
lines, and echeloned to the left rear of the Sepoys rode the
Tanjorine horse. The troops had not proceeded far on the march
when a heavy cloud floated across the moon and shrouded the plain
in darkness. Still silently the columns pushed on through the
gloom, and the grenadiers drew closer and closer to the familiar
Rock which they had so often stormed; but no sign came from the
enemy, until at last, when they were arrived within pistol shot, a
challenge and a flash told them that they were discovered. Firing
one volley they swarmed up the Rock on three sides at once, while
the French, having barely time to snatch up their arms, emptied
their muskets in a feeble, irregular fire, and fled hurriedly
down to the plain. Such was their haste that they left their two
field-guns undischarged, though these were ready and loaded with
grape. The left of the French position being thus overpowered,
Lawrence ordered the Tanjorine horse to move up before the French
entrenchments; then wheeling his three divisions into line to the
left, he formed the Sepoys in echelon in rear of each flank and
ordered the whole to advance through the Mysorean camp upon the
left flank of the French battalion. The men received the order with
loud cheers, and the troops stepped off, the drums of the British
beating the Grenadiers' March, the gunners advancing with lighted
port-fires on the flanks of the divisions, and the Sepoys making
wild music on their native instruments in rear.

The Mysoreans fled in all directions before the din, and the Sepoys
kept up a constant fire on the swarms of fugitives before them; but
the British, disdaining such ignoble game, marched proudly on with
recovered arms and bayonets fixed. But the formation of the British
was soon broken by the obstacles that confronted them in that dark
march through the Mysorean camp; and presently the grenadiers,
who kept the right of the line, were striding away in their old
place in the front, having out-marched the second division, while
the second division in its turn out-marched the third. The Sepoys
having clear ground before them also came forward from their places
in rear, and the artillery being unable to keep up was left to toil
along as it might. Then broad spurts of flame flashed out from the
darkness in the front, and the round shot from the French guns flew
humming overhead far away to the west, where wild yells told that
they had fallen among the hapless Mysoreans, their own allies.
Onward marched the British, and soon the gleam of port-fires showed
them more clearly where their enemy stood.

Meanwhile Astruc, perceiving by the flight of the fugitives from
what quarter the attack was coming, was busy changing front to his
left. His French battalion had already been drawn up with its face
to the west, and two divisions, each of two thousand Sepoys, were
hastening into their positions to support it on either flank; but
in the darkness and confusion the division designed for his right
flank mistook its direction and took post on the Sugar-loaf Rock.
And now the dawn flushed up in the east and showed the white coats
of the French battalion conspicuous in their line of battle, and
the scarlet of the British, not, as they should have been, in line,
but broken into echelon. The rear divisions quickened their pace
to align themselves with their comrades in front, but before the
formation could be completed the Sepoys on their right came into
action and swept the Sepoys opposed to them off the ground with
their very first volley. Then at last, when within twenty yards
of the enemy, the British battalion got into line, while Astruc,
galloping backward and forward, repeated again and again the order
that not a French musket must be discharged until the red-coats
had fired. In the volleys that followed, Captain Kilpatrick, who
commanded the grenadiers on the right, was desperately wounded;
but Caillaud, instantly taking his place, wheeled the grenadiers
round and fell upon the left flank of the French, which had been
uncovered by the flight of their Sepoys. A crushing volley on this
flank, followed by a charge with the bayonet, drove the French
left crowding upon its centre, and a second deadly volley from
the British centre and left completed the discomfiture of the
whole line. Astruc strove in vain to rally his men; the grenadiers
pressing on with the bayonet gave them no respite. Meanwhile also
the British Sepoys on the left had pushed on against the Sugar-loaf
Rock and dispersed the French Sepoys there, and the whole of the
French army fled scattered and in disorder towards Seringham. Had
the Tanjorine horse done its duty, the enemy would have suffered
past recovery, but as usual it was far too busy with plunder to
give a thought to pursuit. None the less the losses of the French
were heavy. Of their Europeans a hundred were killed and wounded,
and two hundred more, together with Astruc and ten of his officers,
were taken prisoners; while the whole of their tents, baggage and
ammunition, and eleven guns remained in Lawrence's hands. The loss
of the British amounted to no more than forty killed and wounded,
Lawrence himself being slightly hurt in the arm. So ended his third
and most important victory before Trichinopoly.

[Sidenote: Sept. 22/Oct. 3.]

[Sidenote: Oct., end.]

On the very same evening Lawrence moved westward to besiege the
fortified post of Weycondah, which was assaulted next day without
orders by the Sepoys and carried by the resolution of an English
sergeant belonging to one of their companies. Such was the spirit
which Lawrence had infused into them that they emulated the
exploits of King Harry's army after Agincourt. Being assured of
abundance of supplies by his victory, Lawrence now put his troops
into cantonments at Coilady for the rainy season, detaching four
hundred Sepoys and one hundred and fifty Europeans to strengthen
the garrison of Trichinopoly. At about the same time Captain Dalton
returned to Europe, resigning the command of the city to Lieutenant

[Sidenote: Nov., beginning.]

[Sidenote: Nov. 28/Dec. 9.]

The French at Seringham being thoroughly cowed, Dupleix resorted
as usual to intrigue to regain his lost ground, and by threats
and promises contrived to detach the Tanjorines from the British
alliance. The next step was to gain their active assistance for the
French, and to this end he strengthened the troops at Seringham by
a reinforcement of three hundred Europeans and matured preparations
for a blow, great and daring in conception, which should neutralise
all the successes of Lawrence; namely to surprise and storm
Trichinopoly by night. On the morning of the 9th of December the
attempt was made, and was within an ace of success. Six hundred
Frenchmen escaladed the walls and surprised and bayonetted the
Sepoys on guard; and had they obeyed their orders not to fire a
shot, they must infallibly have taken the city. But in the elation
of their first success they fired a volley which aroused the
garrison. Lieutenant Harrison, with perfect presence of mind, made
effective dispositions, and the attack was beaten back with a loss
to the French of forty Europeans killed and nearly four hundred
taken prisoners.

[Sidenote: 1754.]

This reverse was a fatal blow to Dupleix, for, apart from the loss
of so large a body of Europeans, the King of Tanjore determined to
reject his overtures and reverted to his original predilection for
the British. At the opening of 1754 therefore Dupleix approached
Governor Saunders with proposals for peace in the Carnatic; for
despite his misfortunes in the south he had, thanks to the skill of
Bussy, good compensation in the spread of French influence in the
northern provinces of the Deccan. The negotiations, however, soon
broke down and the war was renewed.

Meanwhile the position of Lawrence before Trichinopoly was still,
for all his victories, both anxious and critical. Owing to the
numbers of French prisoners in the city he could muster but six
hundred Europeans and eighteen hundred Sepoys for service in the
field; whereas the enemy's European battalion was as strong as
his own, their Sepoys thrice as numerous, and the Mahrattas and
Mysoreans still with them in undiminished strength. Moreover, in
February a stroke of good fortune revived the drooping spirits of
the French. A British convoy destined for Trichinopoly was attacked
by them and by their allies in overwhelming force and captured,
the whole of its escort being either killed or wounded. This was
by far the most serious reverse suffered by the British during the
whole course of the war, for among the troops that were lost was
the entire company of grenadiers which had done such magnificent
service before Trichinopoly. This defeat greatly increased
Lawrence's difficulty in obtaining supplies. He applied to the King
of Tanjore for assistance in vain; and having lost one-third of his
Europeans and five hundred Sepoys, his situation became perilous in
the extreme.

[Sidenote: May 12/23.]

A still greater misfortune followed. Lawrence himself fell
dangerously ill, and it was not until after weeks of anxiety,
by which time the army could hardly hold its ground for want of
supplies, that there came at last a gleam of hope for the British.
A convoy of stores being expected, Captain Caillaud was sent
southward on the night of the 23rd of May with one hundred and
twenty Europeans, five hundred Sepoys, and two guns to escort it
into camp. The French having gained intelligence beforehand of
this movement, despatched double that number of trained troops and
guns, together with four thousand picked Mysorean horse, to occupy
the position which Caillaud had designed for himself and to lie
there in wait for him. Fortunately Caillaud made timely discovery
of their whereabouts and decided to attack them forthwith, which
he did with success, driving them from a tank in which they were
posted and occupying it himself. Not until the day broke did he
realise the odds against which he had fought in the darkness and
the numbers by which he was still menaced; but fortunately the
sound of the firing had been heard in Trichinopoly, and Captain
Polier, who commanded during Lawrence's illness, at once started
with every man that could be spared to Caillaud's assistance. A
French force started at the same time with him to intercept him;
but Polier out-marching it, effected his junction with Caillaud
without mishap. The British force thus united amounted to but
three hundred and sixty Europeans and fifteen hundred Sepoys, with
five guns: the task that lay before it was to fight its way back
over the plain against seven hundred Europeans, five thousand
Sepoys, and ten thousand horse, of which last fortunately none were
Mahrattas. Forming two sides of a square the little force marched,
not without loss but without serious molestation, over a mile of
the plain to a second tank; and here the enemy closed round it, the
Sepoys and cavalry on three sides and the French battalion on the
fourth. But when the French advanced to the attack they were met by
a fire of grape which in a few minutes laid a hundred of them on
the ground and so staggered the rest that they wavered and halted.
"Never, I believe," says Lawrence, "were two field-pieces better
served than these." Caillaud, who was again in command owing to
the disabling of Polier by two wounds, seized the moment to make
a counter-attack, and the British poured in so deadly a volley of
musketry that the French gave way and fled. Their officers exerted
themselves to the utmost to rally them, but they would not stop
until they were beyond range of cannon, nor even then would they
return to the attack. After this there was little impediment to
Caillaud's retreat. The loss of the French amounted to five hundred
killed and wounded, of whom two hundred were Europeans; that of the
British slightly exceeded two hundred, of whom rather more than
a third were Europeans. Thus the much-needed convoy was brought
safely into camp; and the French were not a little disheartened by
their repulse.

Lawrence accordingly took the opportunity to march into Tanjore, at
once to confirm the vacillating king in his allegiance and to pick
up a slender reinforcement which was waiting for him at Devicotah.
Thereupon the French as usual moved round to the south side of
Trichinopoly to cut off its supplies. Fortunately the garrison had
now provisions for three months, for the Tanjorines, though quickly
gained over to the British side, showed no eagerness to give active
assistance; nor was it until the 17th of August that Lawrence
re-entered the plain of Trichinopoly with twelve hundred Europeans,
three thousand Sepoys, and five thousand of his hardly won allies.
For the fourth time the French prepared to fight him, but would not
carry the action beyond a duel of artillery, wherein they suffered
much from the superiority of the British fire. In a few days they
were again shut up in Seringham; and Lawrence went into cantonments
for the rainy season.

[Sidenote: Oct. 11.]

[Sidenote: 1755.]

At this time a squadron arrived on the coast from England under
Admiral Watson, having on board the Thirty-ninth Foot, a small
party of the Royal Artillery, and recruits for the Company's
forces. The French likewise received reinforcements from Europe;
but meanwhile they had lost the life and soul of their enterprise
in India. At the beginning of August Dupleix was recalled to
France, and three months later, in accordance with orders received
from London and Paris, Governor Saunders and M. Godeheu, Dupleix's
successor, agreed to a suspension of arms, which in the following
January was expanded into a conditional treaty. The revenue of the
territory gained by France during the war was computed at over
eight hundred thousand pounds; the gains of the English were set
down at less than a tenth of that sum. There could be no question
as to the side which had reaped the greater advantage, thanks to
the energy of Bussy and of Dupleix.

Yet Dupleix was now recalled; himself, the most indefatigable of
intriguers, falling a victim to obscure intrigues and jealousies
at Versailles. This is no place wherein to treat of the grandeur
of his ambition, the vast range of his designs, the incomparable
adroitness with which he handled native princes, the insight
with which he foresaw every danger, the constancy with which
he faced every reverse, the resource whereby he repaired every
misfortune, and the unfailing tenacity with which he clung to his
purpose. Excepting Napoleon England has known no such dangerous
and uncompromising enemy, nor can it be said that he was beaten
even at the last. Yet after reading the story of the long struggle
for Trichinopoly, it is difficult to believe that he would not
have been beaten even had he remained in India. His panegyrists
complain, not unjustly, that he was hampered by a dearth of able
subordinates. It would be nearer to the truth to say that he was
checked by an extraordinary abundance of able British officers,
not one of them bearing high rank; by clerks such as Clive, by
majors such as Lawrence, by captains such as Dalton, Kilpatrick,
and Caillaud, lieutenants such as Harrison, ensigns such as Joseph
Smith. These were the men who thrust the cup of success from his
lips as often as he raised it to drink, until his own countrymen
finally dashed it from his hand. And this is the true significance
of our early wars in India to the student of British military
history--the vast wealth of ability that lay, and doubtless still
lies, latent among the junior officers of the British Army.

  AUTHORITIES.--Orme's _Military Transactions_ is the principal
  authority for the history of the war on the English side, next
  to which the _Memoirs_ of Stringer Lawrence and Wilks's _History
  of Mysore_ are the most valuable works in elucidation. Colonel
  Malleson has treated the subject from the French side in _The
  French in India_, to which may be added his two short lives
  of Clive and Dupleix, and his _Decisive Battles of India_.
  Malleson's work, however, requires to be carefully checked, since
  it contains more than a few inaccuracies of detail, and betrays
  marks of haste if not of carelessness. The French sources of
  information are enumerated by him.



[Sidenote: 1506.]

[Sidenote: 1535.]

[Sidenote: 1608.]

From the East the course of our history leads us by rapid
transition to the great continent of the West. The English claim
to the sovereignty of North America dated from the reign of Henry
the Seventh, under whose patronage Sebastian Cabot had made his
great discoveries; but it was the Spaniards who first approached
the unknown land and gave it the name of Florida, and it was a
Frenchman, Denis of Honfleur, who first explored the Gulf of St.
Lawrence. So also it was a Frenchman, Jacques Cartier, who gave its
name to that noble river, and the name of Mount Royal or Montreal
to the hill on which the city now stands. Full sixty years passed
away before further attempt was made to found European settlements
on the North American continent, and then English and French
took the work in hand well-nigh simultaneously. In 1603 De Monts
obtained permission from the French king to colonise Acadia,[237]
discovered and planted the harbour called by him Port Royal and by
the English at a later date Annapolis Royal, and explored the coast
southward as far as that Plymouth where the Pilgrim Fathers were
to land in 1621. The attempt of De Monts was a failure, and it was
left to Samuel Champlain to begin the work anew by the founding of
Quebec and by the establishment of Montreal at once as a gateway
for Indian trade and a bulwark against Indian invasion. To him was
due the exploration of the river Richelieu and of the lake which
bears his name, as far as the two headlands which were afterwards
to become famous under the names of Ticonderoga and Crown Point. In
Champlain's wake followed the Jesuit missionaries, whose history
presents so curious a mixture of that which is highest and lowest
in human nature. Lastly, to Champlain must be ascribed not only the
final settlement of the French in Canada but the initiation of the
French policy of meddling with the internal politics of the Indian

[Sidenote: 1613.]

Meanwhile an English Company of Adventurers for Virginia
had established a first settlement on the James river, just
three-and-twenty years after Raleigh's abortive attempt to
accomplish the same feat. The rival nations had not been settled
in North America five years before they came into collision.
The English claimed the whole continent in virtue of Cabot's
discoveries, and the English Governor of Virginia enforced the
claim by sending a ship to Acadia, which demolished the Jesuit
settlement at Port Royal and carried the settlers prisoners to

[Sidenote: 1621.]

A few years later a Scottish nobleman, Sir William Alexander,
afterwards Earl of Stirling, obtained a grant from James the
First of the territory which, in compliment to his native land,
he christened Nova Scotia, and planted a colony there. Finally,
in 1627, during the war with France, a company of London
merchants, inspired chiefly by two brothers named Kirke, sent an
expedition up the St. Lawrence, which captured Quebec, established
settlements in Cape Breton, and in a word made the conquest of
Canada. Unfortunately, however, Charles the First, then as always
impecunious, allowed these important acquisitions to be restored to
France at the Peace of 1632 for the paltry sum of fifty thousand
pounds. The conquering merchants protested but in vain, pleading
passionately for the retention at any rate of Quebec. "If the King
keep it," they wrote, "we do not care what the French or any other
can do, though they have an hundred sail of ships and ten thousand
men."[238] So truly was appreciated, even in the seventeenth
century, the strategic value of that famous and romantic fortress.

[Sidenote: 1654.]

[Sidenote: 1667.]

Still even so Acadia[239] was not yet permanently lost, for in 1654
Major Sedgwicke, who had been sent by Cromwell to attack the Dutch
settlements on the Hudson, took the opportunity to capture the
French ports at St. Johns, Port Royal and Penobscot, and restored
Acadia to England once more. With England it remained until 1667,
when it was finally made over to France by the Treaty of Breda.
Thus was established the French dominion in what is now called

[Sidenote: 1621.]

Meanwhile, in the same year as had seen the first British
settlement in Nova Scotia, English emigrants had landed at New
Plymouth and founded the New England which was destined to
swallow up New France. King James granted the infant settlement
a charter of incorporation, encouraged it, and in 1625 declared
by proclamation that the territories of Virginia and New England
should form part of his empire.[240] The next step was the
foundation of a distinct colony at Massachusetts Bay in 1628, which
was erected into a corporation two years later and soon increased
to a thousand persons. In 1635 yet another settlement was formed
at Connecticut by emigrants from Massachusetts; and in the same
year the intolerance of his fellow-settlers in Massachusetts drove
Roger Williams afield to found the colony of Rhode Island. Finally,
in 1638, another secession brought about the establishment of New
Haven. The settlers had left England, as they pleaded, to find
liberty of conscience; but as the majority understood by this
phrase no more than licence to coerce the consciences of others,
the few that really sought religious liberty wandered far before
they found it.

[Sidenote: 1644.]

A very few years sufficed to assure the preponderance of
Massachusetts in the Northern Colonies. It widened its borders,
absorbed the scattered settlements of New Hampshire and Maine, and
in 1644 took its place at the head of the four federated colonies
of New England.[241] The distraction caused by the Civil War in
Britain left the colonies practically free from all control by
the mother country, and Massachusetts seized the opportunity to
erect a theocracy, which was utterly at variance with the terms
of her charter, and to assume, together with the confederacy of
New England, the airs and privileges of an independent State.
The ambitious little community coined her own money, negotiated
with the French in Acadia without reference to England, refused
to trade with other colonies that were loyal to the King's cause,
resented the appointment by the Long Parliament of Commissioners
for the administration of the colonies, and hinted to Cromwell
that the side which she might take in the Dutch war of 1653 would
depend entirely on the treatment which she might receive from him.
As her reward she received the privilege of exemption from the
restrictions of the Navigation Acts.

[Sidenote: 1660.]

[Sidenote: 1684.]

Then came the Restoration; and the confederacy of New England
quickly fell to pieces. Connecticut received a separate charter,
under which she absorbed New Haven; and Rhode Island obtained a
separate charter likewise. Massachusetts being thus left isolated,
Charles the Second determined to inquire into the many complaints
made against her of violation of her charter. The colonists replied
by setting their militia in order as if for armed resistance; but
on reconsideration decided to fall back on smooth words, false
promises, false statements, and skilful procrastination. Such
methods might seem at first sight to be misplaced in a community
of saints, such as Massachusetts boasted herself to be, but at
least they were never employed without previous invocation of the
Divine guidance. For twenty years the colonists contrived to keep
the Royal authority at arm's length, till at last, after long
forbearance on the side of Whitehall, the charter was cancelled by
legal process, and Massachusetts was restored to her dependence on
the mother country.

In the course of these years the English settlements in North
America had multiplied rapidly. Maryland had been granted to Lord
Baltimore in 1632; Carolina was planted by a company in 1663;
Delaware with New Jersey was assigned by patent to the Duke of
York, afterwards James the Second, in 1664, and Pennsylvania to
William Penn in 1680. In fact, by the close of Charles the Second's
reign the British seaboard in North America extended from the river
St. Croix[242] in the north to the river Savannah in the south. But
of all England's acquisitions during this period the most momentous
was that of the Dutch settlements on the Hudson, captured in 1664
by Colonel Nicolls, who gave to the town of New Amsterdam its now
famous name of New York.[243] One chief advantage of New York was
that it possessed a direct way to the west from Albany, on the
Hudson, up the Mohawk River to Lake Oneida and so to Lake Ontario,
whereby it had access to the great fur-trade with the Indians. But
this consideration, important though it was commercially, paled
before the strategical significance of the port of New York. No
more simple method of explaining this can be found than to quote
the belief held by many of the English emigrants before they
sailed, that New England was an island. In a sense this is almost
true, the country being surrounded by the sea, to north, east,
and south, and by the rivers Hudson and St. Lawrence to the west.
Champlain had already paddled up the Richelieu to Lake Champlain
with the design of passing through Lake George, carrying his canoes
to the head-waters of the Hudson and re-embarking for a voyage down
the river to the sea. He had in fact chosen the highway of lakes
and rivers on which the principal battles for the possession of
the New World were to be fought. The northern key of that highway
was Quebec, the southern New York. France possessed the one, and
England the other. The power that should hold both would hold the
whole continent.

[Sidenote: 1670.]

[Sidenote: 1673.]

[Sidenote: 1678.]

[Sidenote: 1680.]

Let us now turn for a moment to the proceedings of the French
during these same years. Unlike the English, who stuck sedulously
to the work of making their settlement self-supporting by
agriculture, they were intent rather on trading with the Indians
for fur and exploring the vast territory which lay to south and
west of them. To these objects may be added the salvation of the
souls of the Indian tribes; for beyond all doubt it was zeal for
the conversion, or at any rate for the baptism, of these savages
that led the Jesuits through endless hardship and danger into the
heart of the continent. As early as 1613 Champlain had travelled up
the Ottawa by way of Lake Nipissing and French River to Lake Huron,
returning by Lake Simcoe and Lake Ontario. Jesuit missionaries
followed the same track in 1634, and established a mission on the
peninsula that juts out from the eastern shore of Lake Huron.
From thence they spread to Lakes Superior and Michigan, erecting
mission-houses and taking possession of vast tracts of land and
water in the name of King Lewis the Fourteenth. Shortly after the
restoration of King Charles the Second, Jean Talon, Intendant of
Canada, formed the resolution of getting in rear of the English
settlements and confining the settlers to a narrow strip of the
sea-board; his plan being to secure the rivers that formed the
highways of the interior, and to follow them, if they should prove
to flow thither, to the Gulf of Mexico, so as to hold both British
and Spaniards in check. A young adventurer, named Robert Lasalle,
appeared at the right moment as a fit instrument to his hand.
In 1670 Lasalle passed through the strait, still called Detroit,
which leads from Lake Huron to Lake Erie, reached a branch of the
Ohio and made his way for some distance down that river. Three
years later a Jesuit, Joliet, striking westward from the western
shore of Lake Michigan, descended the Wisconsin and followed the
Mississippi to the junction of the Arkansas. In 1678 an expedition
under Lasalle explored the passage from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie,
and discovered the Falls of Niagara, where Lasalle, with immediate
appreciation of the strategic value of the position, proceeded
to build a fort. Finally, in 1680, Lasalle penetrated from the
present site of Chicago on Lake Michigan to the northern branch
of the River Illinois, paddled down to the Mississippi, and after
five months of travel debouched into the Gulf of Mexico. He took
nominal possession of all the country through which he passed; and
the vast territory between the Alleghanies and the Rocky Mountains
from the Rio Grande and the Gulf of Mexico to the uppermost waters
of the Missouri were annexed to the French crown under the name of

The next step was to secure the advantages that should accrue from
the discoveries of Lasalle. To this end the fort at Niagara had
already been built; and Fort Frontenac was next erected at the
northern outlet of Lake Ontario to cut off the English from trade
with the Indians. At the strait of Michillimackinac, between Lakes
Huron and Michigan, a Jesuit mission sufficiently provided for the
same object. Besides these there were established Fort Miamis by
the south-eastern shore of Lake Michigan, to bar the passage from
the lake to the Upper Illinois, Fort St. Louis, near the present
site of Utica, to secure the trade with the tribes on the plains of
the Illinois, and yet another fort on the Lower Mississippi.

[Sidenote: 1682.]

[Sidenote: 1687.]

[Sidenote: 1688.]

[Sidenote: 1689.]

Such a monopoly of the Indian trade was by no means to the taste
of the British and Dutch, nor of the Five Indian Nations, better
known by the French name of Iroquois, whom they had taken
under their special protection. Nevertheless, in their simple
plodding industry, their zeal for religious controversy and their
interminable squabbles over their boundaries, the English colonies
took little heed to what was going on in the continent behind them.
One man alone saw the danger from the first, namely, Colonel Thomas
Dongan, an officer who had begun his career in the French army,
but had left it for the British, and after some service at Tangier
had been sent out as Governor to New York. Dongan, however, was at
first unsupported either by the Government at Whitehall or by the
neighbouring colonies. His protests were vigorous to discourtesy,
but he had small means for enforcing them. One resource indeed
he did possess, namely the friendship of the Iroquois, who were
the dominant tribes of the continent; for with all their subtle
policy and their passion for interference with native affairs, the
French had never succeeded in alienating the Iroquois--who covered
the flank of New York and New England towards Canada--from their
alliance with the British. Dongan therefore assiduously cultivated
a good understanding with these Indians against the moment when he
should be allowed to act. Meanwhile the French went yet further
in aggression. They destroyed the factories of the Hudson's Bay
Company; they treacherously entrapped and captured a number of
Iroquois at Fort Frontenac, plundered English traders, and repaired
and strengthened the fort built by Lasalle at Niagara. Dongan's
indignation rose to a dangerous height; and now at last came a
reply from England to his previous reports, and an order to repel
further aggression on the Iroquois by force. Assembling a force of
local militia at Albany he first insisted on the destruction of
the fort at Niagara; and then the Iroquois burst in upon Canada
and spread terror to the very gates of Montreal. It was just at
this crisis that William of Orange displaced James the Second on
the throne of England, and that war broke out between England
and France. Therewith New England and New France entered upon a
conflict which was to last with little intermission for the next
seventy years.

Judging from mere numbers the contest between the rival colonies
should have been short, for the population of New England was
over ninety thousand, whereas that of Canada did not exceed
twelve thousand. But this disparity was more than equalised by
other advantages of the French. In the first place, they were
compact, united, and under command of one man, who was an able
and experienced soldier. In the second, a large proportion of
the inhabitants had undergone long military training, the French
king offering bounties both of money and of land to officers
and soldiers who should consent to remain in the colony. The
chief delight of the male population was not the tilling of the
soil; they loved rather to hunt and fish, and live the free and
fascinating life of an Indian in the forest. Every man therefore
was a skilful woodsman, a good marksman, a handy canoe-man, and in
a word admirably trained for forest-fighting. Finally, there was a
permanent garrison of regular troops, which never fell below, and
very often exceeded, fifteen hundred men.

The English settler, on the other hand, knew little of the forest.
When not engaged in husbandry he was a fisherman in his native
heritage, the sea. Every colony had its own militia, which legally
included, as a rule, the whole male population between the ages of
sixteen and sixty. In the early days of North American settlement
the colonists had been at pains to bring with them trained officers
who could give them instruction in the military art. Such an
officer was Miles Standish, who had served with the English troops
in the Dutch service; such another was Captain John Underhill,
who had fought in Ireland, Spain, and the Low Countries, and was
reputed a friend of Maurice of Nassau. Under such leaders, in 1637,
seventy-seven colonists had boldly attacked an encampment of four
hundred Indian warriors and virtually annihilated them; giving, in
fact, as fine an exposition of the principles of savage warfare
as is to be found in our history.[244] In 1653 again, New England,
once assured of Cromwell's favour, made great and expensive
preparations for an attack on the Dutch; and Massachusetts supplied
two hundred volunteers to Nicolls for the capture of New York in

[Sidenote: 1680.]

[Sidenote: 1686.]

But as time went on the military efficiency of the colonies
decreased; and in the war against the Indian chief, Philip, in
1671, the settlers suffered disaster upon disaster. The officers
possessed neither skill nor knowledge; and the men, though they
showed no lack of bravery and tenacity, were wholly innocent of
discipline. Moreover, they shared the failing of the English
militia of the same period, that they were unwilling to go far
from their own homes. Again, since the confederacy of New England
had been broken up, the jealousy and selfishness of the several
provinces had weakened them for military efficiency. In the great
peril of 1671 Rhode Island, being full of Quakers, would not move
a finger to help her neighbours, and Connecticut, exasperated by
extreme provocation, actually armed herself a few years later to
inflict punishment on the cantankerous little community.[245]
Within the several provinces again there was no great unanimity,
and in fact in the event of a war with France every advantage
of skill, of unity, and of prompt and rapid action lay with the
French. James the Second, who saw the peril of the situation, tried
hard to mend matters during his brief reign by uniting New England,
New York, and New Jersey under the rule of a single governor,
Sir Edmund Andros, an officer of the Guards. The experiment from
one point of view was statesmanlike enough, but as it could not
be tried without abolishing the representative assemblies of
the various states, it defeated its own object by its extreme

The military aid furnished to the American colonies from home
throughout this early period was infinitesimal. New England had
never appealed to the mother country for help even in her utmost
need. An independent company of regular troops was formed for the
garrison of New York while the Duke of York was proprietor, and
another company was also maintained for a short time in Virginia;
but the first troops of the standing army to visit America were a
mixed battalion of the First and Coldstream Guards, which crossed
the Atlantic to suppress the Virginian rebellion of 1677. When
Andros assumed his government in 1686 he brought with him a second
company of soldiers from England. These were the first red-coats
ever seen in Boston, and they have the credit of having taught
New England to "drab, drink, blaspheme, curse and damn," a lesson
which, as I understand, has not been forgotten. Thus though the
militia of the colonies under Andros might muster a nominal total
of ten or twelve thousand men, these two companies were all that
he could have brought to meet the thirty-two or more companies of
regular troops in Montreal and Quebec.

[Sidenote: 1689.]

The outbreak of the war in 1689 brought back an efficient soldier,
Count Frontenac, to the government of Canada. He knew the country
well, having already served there as Governor from 1672 to 1682,
and in that capacity seconded the great designs of Lasalle.
On his arrival he at once made preparations for an advance on
Albany by Lakes Champlain and George and for a rapid movement
against New York. The project fortunately issued in no more than
a general massacre of the inhabitants on the northern frontier
of New York; but when that province called in alarm upon New
England for assistance, it was found that Massachusetts had risen
in revolution at the news of King James's fall, had imprisoned
Andros, and through sheer perversity had cancelled all his military
dispositions for the protection of New Hampshire and Maine. The
Indians accordingly swept down upon the defenceless borders and
made frightful havoc with fire and sword.

[Sidenote: 1690.]

[Sidenote: 1691.]

In the following year the colonies of New York and New England
met in congress and agreed to make a counter-stroke against
Canada. More remarkable still, Massachusetts for the first time
appealed to England for military aid in the furtherance of this
enterprise; though, as may be guessed by those who have followed me
through the story of King William's difficulties, the appeal was
perforce rejected. The colonies therefore resolved to act alone,
and despatched fifteen hundred troops by the usual line of inland
waterways against Montreal, and thirty-two ships under Sir William
Phips against Quebec. The expedition by land soon broke down on its
way through dissension, indiscipline, and disease; and the fleet,
though it made an easy conquest of Acadia, failed miserably before
Quebec. The next year a small force from New York made a second
futile raid into Canada; but for the most part the English colonies
were content to hound on their Indian allies against the French.
The French on their side retaliated in kind, and, as circumstances
gave them opportunity, with still greater barbarity. Hundreds of
defenceless settlers on the border were thus slaughtered without
the slightest military advantage. Frontenac wrote repeated letters
to his master urging him to determine the possession of the
continent once for all by sending a fleet to capture New York; but
either Lewis's hands were too full or he failed to appreciate the
wisdom of Frontenac's counsel, for in any case, fortunately, he
left New York unmolested.

[Sidenote: 1697.]

The sphere of operations widened itself over Acadia and
Newfoundland, and the war dragged on in a desultory fashion with
raid and counter-raid, generally to the advantage of the French.
To the last the English colonies were blind to the importance of
the issue at stake. Jealous, self-centred, and undisciplined, many
of them took no part whatever in the war; two only, New England
and New York, rose to aggressive action, which, though the stroke
was wisely aimed against the tap-root of French power, failed
utterly from lack of organisation and discipline. The French
struck always at strategic points where their blow would tell with
full force and weight. The colonists in their insane jealousy
of the crown neglected the defence of these strategic points
simply because it was enjoined by the mother country, and refused
to provide the contingents of troops requested by the English
commander-in-chief.[246] In fine, when the Peace of Ryswick ended
the war, the French could reckon that they had achieved one great
success; they had broken the power of the most formidable of the
Indians, the Iroquois.

Massachusetts, which had suffered heavily from the war, found
herself at its close obliged once more to invoke the assistance of
England. In an address to the King she prayed for his orders to
the several colonial governments to give their assistance against
French and Indians, for a supply of ammunition, for the protection
of a fleet, and for aid in the reduction of Canada, "the unhappy
fountain," as they wrote, "from which issue all our miseries." So
far, therefore, the war had taught one useful lesson; but, indeed,
even at the time of her greatest disloyalty to the English crown
Massachusetts had always soundly hated the French. Obviously closer
union of the colonies for military purposes could not but be for
the general advantage, and sundry schemes were prepared to promote
it; but all alike were unsuccessful, though nothing could be more
certain than that further trouble was ahead.

[Sidenote: 1702.]

[Sidenote: 1707.]

[Sidenote: 1709.]

The renewal of war in 1702 brought the usual raids of Indians,
stirred up by the French, upon the borders of the English colonies.
These barbarous inroads, which meant the massacre and torture of
innocent settlers, could serve no military end except to commit
the Indians to hostility with the English, and naturally aroused
the fiercest resentment. The colonies, however, once again showed
neither unity nor zeal for the common cause. New York evinced an
apathy which was little short of criminal, Connecticut long held
aloof, Rhode Island only after infinite haggling supplied grudging
instalments of men and money. Massachusetts alone, true to her
traditions, showed some vigour and spirit and actually made an
attack on Port Royal in Acadia, choosing that point because it
could be reached by sea. The expedition, however, failed with
more than usual discredit owing to ignorance and unskilfulness
in the commanders and utter indiscipline among the troops. Then
the colonies wisely decided that it was useless to attempt to
choke the fountain of all their miseries except at its head. An
address was sent to Queen Anne praying for help in the conquest
of Nova Scotia and Canada, which was favourably received; and for
the first time operations were concerted for a joint attack of
imperial and colonial troops upon the French in North America.
England was to supply a fleet and five regiments of the regular
Army, Massachusetts and Rhode Island were to furnish twelve hundred
men more, and these forces united were to attempt Quebec; while
fifteen hundred men from the other colonies, except from New Jersey
and Pennsylvania, which selfishly kept apart, were to advance
upon Montreal by Lake Champlain. The troops of Massachusetts were
mustered and drilled by British officers sent across the Atlantic
for the purpose, and all signs pointed to a great and decisive
effort. In due time the western contingent advanced towards Lake
Champlain, by way of Albany and the Hudson, building on their way
a fort at the carrying-place from the Hudson, which we shall know
better as Fort Edward, and a second fort at Wood Creek, where the
journey by water to Lake George was recommenced, called Fort Anne.
There the little column halted, for the brunt of the work was to
fall on the fleet which was expected from England. The weeks flew
on, but the fleet never appeared. The disaster of Almanza had upset
all calculations and disconcerted all arrangements; and the great
enterprise was perforce abandoned.

[Sidenote: 1710.]

[Sidenote: 1711.]

In July of the following year, however, an expedition on a smaller
scale met with more success. A joint fleet of the Royal Navy and
of colonial vessels, together with four regiments from New England
and one of British marines, sailed against Port Royal, captured
it after a trifling resistance, and changed its name to that
which it still bears, of Annapolis Royal. Nova Scotia had changed
hands many times, but from henceforth it was to remain British.
Thus for the first time a British armament interposed seriously
in the long strife between French and English in America. It was
the beginning of the end, and of the end of more than French rule
over the continent. "If the French colonies should fall," wrote
a French officer at the time, "Old England will not imagine that
these various provinces will then unite, shake off the yoke of the
English monarchy, and erect themselves into a democracy."[247] The
idea of the capture of Canada, however, took root just at this
time in the new English Ministry, where Bolingbroke and Harley
had succeeded in ousting Marlborough from office. The conquest of
New France would, they conceived, be a fine exploit to set off
against the victories of the great Duke. Massachusetts seconded
the project with extraordinary zeal, and in July 1711 a British
fleet with seven regular regiments on board sailed into Boston
harbour. The disastrous issue of this enterprise has already been
told. Bad seamanship cast eight of the transports on the rocks in
the St. Lawrence, and seven hundred soldiers were drowned. General
Hill and Admiral Walker were not the men to persist in the face of
such a mishap, and the whole design was abandoned with disgraceful
alacrity. The expedition was in fact simply a political move,
conceived by factious politicians for factious ends instead of by
military men for the benefit of the country, and accordingly it
fared as such expeditions must inevitably fare.

[Sidenote: 1713.]

Finally came the Peace of Utrecht, which gave England permanent
possession of Newfoundland and of Acadia, though still without
settlement of the vexed question as to the boundaries of the ceded
province. These acquisitions entailed an increase of the British
garrisons in America, as has already been told; but the entire
strength of the British regular troops in New York, Nova Scotia,
and Newfoundland did not exceed nine hundred men. The French, for
their part, after the loss of Acadia betook themselves to Cape
Breton, or, as they called it, L'Ile Royale, and set themselves
forthwith to establish in one of the harbours a post which should
command the access to Canada, and form a base for future aggression
against New England and Nova Scotia. A haven, named Port à
l'Anglais, on the east coast was selected, and there was built the
fort of Louisburg, the strongest on the Atlantic coast, and as the
French loved to call it, the Dunkirk of America. The establishment
of this fortress was one of those costly follies to which the
French are prone, when failure and defeat allow them no outlet for
their vexation and their spite. The climate absolutely forbade the
construction of an elaborate stronghold of masonry. Fog and rain
prevented mortar from setting all through the short spring and
summer, fog and frost split mortar and stones and demolished walls
every winter. Repairs were endless, yet the fortress was never
in good repair, and the expense was intolerable. Lastly, such a
stronghold was worthless without supremacy at sea.

[Sidenote: 1724.]

But the French did not stop here. They lost no opportunity of
stirring up the Acadians to discontent and of inflaming the
Indians against the British both in Acadia and in New England. The
result was a series of raids on the Kennebec, where the French,
in order to guard the line of advance on Quebec by that river
and Lake Chaudière, had established a chain of mission-stations.
The colonists, goaded to exasperation, at last rooted out these
missions by force, though not until after long delay owing to the
perversity of the Assembly of Massachusetts, which, always jealous
of the English Governor, wished to take the control of operations
out of his hand into their own, never doubting that their rustic
ignorance would be as efficient as the tried skill of one of
Marlborough's veterans.

[Sidenote: 1727.]

So this state of outward peace and of covert war continued. France,
despite the concessions made at the Peace of Utrecht, still claimed
the whole of the North American continent, with some few trifling
exceptions, and took every measure to make good her claim. A new
fort was erected at Niagara; another fort was built at Chambly to
cover Montreal from any English attack by way of Lake Champlain,
and in 1731 a massive stronghold of masonry was constructed at
Crown Point, on the western shore of the same lake, and christened
Fort Frédéric. The ground on which this last fort stood was within
the bounds claimed by New York, but the province was too busy
over quarrels with her neighbour, New Jersey, to interpose. So
although New York and New England alike denounced the encroachment
furiously, neither the one nor the other would lift a finger to
prevent it. The one movement made by the colonists in counterpoise
to the ceaseless activity of the French was the establishment of
a fortified trading station at Oswego on Lake Ontario, as a rival
to the French post at Niagara. Even this work was done not by the
colonists but by Governor Burnet of New York at his own expense;
and the debt due to him from the province on this account has never
been liquidated to this day.

[Sidenote: 1744.]

[Sidenote: 1745.]

[Sidenote: June 17.]

Thus matters drifted on until the war of the Austrian Succession.
Then, as usual, the French at Louisburg received warning of the
outbreak before the English at Boston, and the imperial garrisons
at Annapolis Royal and at Canseau were overpowered and captured by
the French without an effort. But now the colonists with superb
audacity resolved to take the bull by the horns and to attack the
French in the most formidable of their strongholds, Louisburg
itself. The moving spirit in the enterprise was Governor William
Shirley of Massachusetts, an Englishman by nationality and a
barrister by training, who thought himself a born strategist;
and the commander whom he selected was one William Pepperrell, a
prosperous merchant of New England, whose father had emigrated
as a poor man from his native Devon and had made his fortune.
Pepperrell had neither education nor experience in military
matters, but he had shrewd good sense; while, being popular, he was
likely to command the respect and obedience of his undisciplined
troops. After some trouble the Provincial Assemblies were coaxed
into approval of the design; four thousand men were raised in New
England, a small fleet of armed vessels was collected for the
protection of the transports, and the little expedition sailed to
its rendezvous at Canseau, some fifty miles from Louisburg. Here
by good luck it was joined by a British squadron under Commodore
Warren, which threw in its lot with it; and the army of amateurs
with its escort of hardy seamen proceeded with a light heart to the
siege of the Dunkirk of America. The account of the operations is
laughable in the extreme, though the French found them no matter
for laughter. Skilled engineers the besiegers had none, and few if
any skilled artillerymen, but they went to work with the best of
spirits and good humour in their own casual fashion, which puzzled
the French far more than a regular siege in form. To be brief,
with the help of gunners from the fleet and of extraordinary good
fortune they succeeded in capturing the fortress after a siege of
six weeks. The performance is certainly one of the curiosities of
military history, but must be passed over in this place since it
forms no part of the story of the British Army.[248] The colonists
were not a little proud of the feat, and with right good reason.
Nor did their gallant efforts pass without recognition in England.
Pepperrell, who had amply justified Shirley's choice, was created
a baronet; and on Warren's suggestion[249] the remains of the
colonial troops were taken into English pay and formed into two
regiments, with Pepperrell and Shirley for their colonels.

[Sidenote: 1746.]

Though the colonial garrison suffered terribly from pestilence
during the ensuing winter,[250] Shirley was anxious to complete the
conquest of Canada in 1746; and Newcastle received his proposals
with encouragement at Whitehall. Three British regiments--the
Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, and Forty-fifth--arrived in April to
occupy Louisburg, and Newcastle promised five battalions more
under Lieutenant-General St. Clair, together with a fleet under
Warren, to aid in the operations. It was agreed that the British
and the levies of New England should sail up the St. Lawrence
to attack Quebec, while the remainder should, as usual, march
against Montreal by way of Lake Champlain. The colonists took up
the enterprise with great spirit, and the Provincial Assemblies
of seven colonies voted a total force of forty-three hundred men.
The French in Canada took the alarm and made frantic preparations
for defence; but though the colonists were ready and eager at
the time appointed, the British troops never appeared; Newcastle
having detained them in Europe for the ridiculous descent, already
described elsewhere, upon L'Orient. Shirley, undismayed, then
decided to turn his little force against Crown Point; when all New
England was alarmed by intelligence of a vast French armament on
its way to retake Louisburg, recapture Acadia and burn Boston. Then
the colonists took fright in their turn and equipped themselves for
defence with desperate energy; but once again there was no occasion
for panic. The French fleet sailed indeed, but after a voyage of
disasters reached the coast of Nova Scotia only to be shattered
and dispersed by a terrible storm. The Commander-in-Chief died of
a broken heart, his successor threw himself on his own sword in
despair, and after some weeks of helpless lingering in the harbour
which now bears the name of Halifax, the fragments of the French
fleet returned almost in a state of starvation to France.

[Sidenote: 1747.]

Not discouraged by this terrible reverse the French Government
in the following year sent out a second fleet, which was met off
Rochelle by a superior fleet under Admirals Anson and Warren and
utterly defeated. It was fortunate, for the British Government with
Newcastle at its head gave the Americans no further help. Three
hundred soldiers were indeed shipped off to Annapolis, but more
than half of them died on the voyage, and many of the remainder,
being gaol-birds and Irish papists, deserted to the French. The
situation in Acadia was perilous, for the French population did not
love their new masters, and the Canadians, particularly the Jesuit
priests, never ceased to stimulate them to revolt. Shirley resolved
that, though the security of Acadia was the charge of the mother
country, the colonists must protect the province for themselves
sooner than abandon it. Massachusetts responded to his appeal with
her usual spirit, and notwithstanding one severe reverse of the
colonial troops, Acadia was still safe at the close of the war.
For the rest, the French pursued their old method of hounding on
the Indians against the British; and petty but barbarous warfare
never ceased on the borders. For once, too, this warfare produced,
though indirectly, an important result, since it brought to the
front a young Irishman named William Johnson who, having shown an
extraordinary power and ascendency over the Indians, was chosen
as agent for New York in all dealings of the British with them.
We shall see more of this Johnson in the years before us. Finally
came the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, when the Americans to their huge
disgust learned that Louisburg, their own prize, had been restored
to France--bartered away for the retention of an insignificant
factory called Madras.


[Sidenote: 1748.]

The conclusion of the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle was followed by the
usual reduction of the forces in Britain. The ten new regiments
and several other corps were disbanded, leaving for the cavalry
all the regiments now in the Army List down to the Fourteenth
Hussars, and in the infantry the Foot Guards and the First to the
Forty-ninth Regiments of the Line. The strength of all corps was of
course diminished and the British Establishment was fixed at thirty
thousand men, two-thirds of them for service at home and one-third
for colonial garrisons. The rest of the Army, thirty-seven
regiments in all, but very weak in numbers, was as usual turned
over to the Irish Establishment. Efforts were of course made in
both Houses of Parliament to cut down the numbers of the Army to
a still lower figure, and the antiquated arguments in favour of
such a step were repeated as though they had not already done duty
a thousand times within the past forty years. Nay, so vigorous is
the old age of folly and of faction that men were still found, when
the Mutiny Act was brought forward, to urge the needlessness of
courts-martial in time of peace. These childish representations,
however, received little notice or encouragement; while, on the
other hand, divers projects for reform in the Army were brought
forward which, even though they led to no result, received at least
careful attention and intelligent debate. Of these matters it
will be more convenient to speak when the narrative of the war is
concluded. For although peace had been proclaimed, and estimates
and establishment had been accordingly reduced, the struggle with
France, far from being closed, was not even suspended abroad. It
would seem that not a few members of both Houses were alive to the
fact; while fugitive notices in the newspapers, announcing that
"Mr. Clive, a volunteer, had the command given to him to attack a
place called Arcourt," may have suggested it even to the gossips
of the coffee-houses. The Government, however, was not one which
could be expected to take thought for the morrow, or indeed for
anything beyond the retention of power. It was that Administration
which had been formed by Henry Pelham in 1744, and is generally
identified with the name of his brother, the Duke of Newcastle, who
is remembered chiefly through his ignorance of the fact that Cape
Breton is an island. This deplorable person possessed no talent
beyond an infinite capacity for such intrigue as lifts incompetence
to high office, and was only less of a curse to England than Madame
de Pompadour was to France. One able man, however, there was in
the lower ranks of the Administration, William Pitt, who, after
a vain effort to become Secretary at War, had accepted the post
of Paymaster of the Forces. He now lay quiet, though not without
occasional outbursts of mutiny, abiding his time and fulfilling the
duties of his place with an integrity heretofore unknown in the
Paymaster's Office.

[Sidenote: 1749.]

One important military measure, meanwhile, the Government did take.
The number of men disbanded from fleet and army was so large that
it was deemed prudent, in the interests alike of humanity and of
public security, to make some provision for them. Accordingly fifty
acres of freehold land, with an additional ten acres for every
child, were offered to all veterans who would emigrate as settlers
to Nova Scotia; their passage outward being likewise paid, and
immunity from taxation guaranteed to them for ten years. The system
was copied from the model given by the French in Canada, and by
them doubtless borrowed from ancient Rome; but it was successful.
Four thousand persons, with their families, took advantage of the
offer, embarked under the command of Colonel Cornwallis and landed
at the harbour of Chebucto, from thenceforward called, in honour
of the President of the Board of Trade and Plantations, by the
name of Halifax. Three companies of rangers were formed for the
defence of the settlement, in addition to which two battalions
of regular troops were detailed for the garrisons of Nova Scotia
and Newfoundland. For it was intended that Halifax should be not
only a refuge for disbanded soldiers, but a fortified station in
counterpoise to the French fortress at Louisburg.

The French in Canada instantly took the alarm, and after their
unscrupulous manner incited the Indians to murder the settlers,
sparing no pains meanwhile to alienate the hearts of the Acadians
from the British. The priests were their instruments in this
treacherous policy, and their proceedings were fully approved at
Versailles. What was called an Indian war was, in the plain words
of Governor Hopson of Nova Scotia, no other than a pretence for
the French to commit hostilities on British subjects. Yet through
the trying years that followed, the British officials behaved
always with exemplary patience and forbearance, though, owing
to the incessant intrigues of the French, occasional skirmishes
between French and English were unavoidable. But British settlers
had touched French America elsewhere on a more tender point even
than in Acadia. British traders had found their way across the
Alleghanies to the Ohio, and had stolen the hearts of the Indians
on the river from their French rivals. To Canada this was a serious
matter, for the chain of French posts that was designed to shut off
the British from the interior ran from the Gulf of St. Lawrence
to the Gulf of Mexico, and if the British should sever this chain
at the Ohio French America would be parted in twain. In 1749 a
French emissary was despatched from Montreal to vindicate French
rights on the river and to bid the English traders depart from
it. His reception by the Indians was not encouraging, and even
while he was on the spot a company was formed by some capitalists
in Virginia to settle the country about the Ohio. The Governors of
Pennsylvania and Virginia quickly perceived the importance of the
position on the fork of the river where Pittsburg now stands, and
were anxious to secure it by a fortified station; but unfortunately
the public spirit of the colonies was less intelligent than the
private enterprise. The Provincial Assemblies quarrelled with their
governors and with each other, and refused to vote a farthing
either for building a fort or for presents to conciliate the
Indians in the valley of the Ohio.

[Sidenote: 1752-1753.]

Then, as usual, while the colonies debated and postponed the
French took prompt and decisive action. In the summer of 1752 a
new Governor, Duquêsne, had arrived in Canada, who, as soon as the
spring of 1753 was come, sent an expedition of fifteen hundred men
through Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, where they landed on the eastern
shore and built a fort of logs at Presquile, the site of the
present Erie. Thence cutting a road for several leagues southward
to French Creek (then called Rivière aux Bœufs), they constructed
there a second fort named Fort le Bœuf, from which, when the water
was high, they could launch their canoes on the creek and follow
the stream downward to the Alleghany and the Ohio. The expedition
was to have built a third fort at the junction of French Creek
and the Alleghany, and descended the Ohio in order to intimidate
the Indians, but the project was defeated by the sickliness of
the troops. Garrisons were therefore left at Fort le Bœuf and
Presquile, and the remainder of the force returned to Montreal,
having thus secured communications between the St. Lawrence and the

[Sidenote: 1753.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 11.]

Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia no sooner heard of this movement on
the part of the French than he sent a summons to the commanders
of the forts to withdraw forthwith from the King of England's
territory. The bearer of the message was the Adjutant-General of
the Virginian militia, a young man of twenty-one with a great
destiny before him, George Washington. There were two British
trading stations on the Ohio, Venango, at the junction of French
Creek and the Alleghany, and Logstown, some miles below the site of
Pittsburg. On arriving at Venango, Washington found it converted
into a French military station, the officers of which received him
hospitably, but told him that they had orders to take possession
of the Ohio, and that "by God they would do it." Making his way
from thence to Fort le Bœuf, Washington delivered Dinwiddie's
letter, and returned with the reply that it should be forwarded to
Montreal, but that the garrisons had no intention of moving until
orders should arrive from thence. Dinwiddie meanwhile had again
appealed to the Virginian Assembly to vote money to build forts
on the Ohio. He could show a letter from the Board of Ordnance in
England approving of the project and offering arms and ammunition,
as well as a letter from the King authorising the execution of the
work at the colony's expense and the repelling of force by force;
but the Assembly, though alive to the danger, would not vote a

[Sidenote: 1754.]

[Sidenote: February.]

Such obstinacy was enough to drive a Governor to despair, but
Dinwiddie was blessed with considerable tenacity of purpose. A
renewal of his appeal in the ensuing session was more successful,
and the Assembly grudgingly voted a small and insufficient
sum, with which the Governor was forced to be content. Urgent
applications to the neighbouring colonies for aid met with little
response. The remoter provinces thought themselves in no way
concerned; those nearer at hand refused help chiefly because
their governors asked for it. It was in fact a principle with the
Provincial Assemblies to thwart their governor, whether he were
right or wrong, on every possible occasion; they being, as is so
common in representative bodies, more anxious to assert their
power and independence than their utility and good sense. North
Carolina alone granted money enough for three or four hundred men.
However, the British Government had sanctioned the employment of
the regular companies at New York and in Carolina, and Dinwiddie
having raised three hundred men in Virginia, ordered them to the
Ohio Company's station at Will's Creek, which was to be the base
of operations. Meanwhile he despatched a party of backwoodsmen
forthwith to the forks of the Ohio, there to build, on a site
selected by Washington, the fort for which he had pleaded so long.
Forty men were actually at work upon it when, on the 17th of April,
a flotilla of small craft came pouring down on the Alleghany with a
party of five hundred French on board. The troops landed, trained
cannon on the unfinished stockade, and summoned the British to
surrender. Resistance was hopeless. The backwoodsmen perforce
yielded; and the French having demolished their works erected a
much larger and better fort on the same site, and called it Fort
Duquêsne. The name before long was to be altered to Pittsburg, but
the change was as yet hidden behind the veil of years. For the
present the French had stolen a march on the British, and Dinwiddie
was chagrined to the heart. "If the Assembly had voted the money
in November which they did in February," he wrote, "the fort would
have been built and garrisoned before the French approached."

The Governor, however, was by no means disposed meekly to accept
this defeat. The French had expelled a British party from British
territory by force of arms, and both he and Washington treated the
incident as equivalent to a declaration of war. Washington, though
but half of his troops had yet joined him, presently advanced over
the Alleghanies to the Youghiogany, a tributary of the Monongahela;
and there on the 27th of May he came upon a small party of French
and fired the shots which began the war. A few weeks later he
with his little force, something less than four hundred men, was
surrounded by twice that number of Frenchmen, and after a fight of
nine hours and the loss of a fourth of his men, was compelled to

Dinwiddie was vexed beyond measure by this second reverse, and by
the delay in the arrival of the reinforcements which had caused it.
The two companies of regular troops from New York came crawling
up to the scene of action in a disgraceful state. Their ranks
were thin, for their muster-rolls had been falsified by means
of "faggots"; they were undisciplined; they had neither tents,
blankets, knapsacks, nor ammunition with them, nothing, in fact,
but their arms and thirty women and children.[251] The troops
from North Carolina were still worse than these in the matter of
discipline, so much so that they mutinied and dispersed to their
homes while yet on the march to the rendezvous. The peril was
great; yet the colonies remained supine. The Assembly of Virginia
only after a bitter struggle granted Dinwiddie a competent sum;
that of Pennsylvania, being composed chiefly of Quakers and of
German settlers, who were anxious only to live in peace and
to cultivate their farms, refused practically to contribute a
farthing. New York was unable to understand, until Washington had
been actually defeated, that there had been any French encroachment
on British territory; Maryland produced a contribution only after
long delay; and New Jersey, safely ensconced behind the shelter
of her neighbours, flatly declined to give any aid whatever.
New England alone, led as usual by Massachusetts, showed not
only willingness but alacrity to drive back the detested French.
United action was as yet inconceivable by the colonists or, as the
English more correctly called them, the Provincials. It was only
in deference to representations from the British Government that
New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the four colonies of New
England met in congress to concert for joint action in securing the
unstable affections of the Indians. A project for colonial union
broached by Benjamin Franklin at this same congress was wrecked by
the jealousy of Crown and Colonies as to mutual concession of power.

[Sidenote: September.]

In such circumstances the only hope lay in assistance from the
mother country; and Dinwiddie accordingly sent repeated entreaties
to England for stores, ammunition, and two regiments of regular
infantry. The Ministry at home was not of a kind to cope with a
great crisis. Henry Pelham was dead; and the ridiculous Newcastle
as Prime Minister had succeeded in finding a fool still greater
than himself, Sir T. Robinson, to be Secretary of State in charge
of the colonies. Nevertheless, in July ten thousand pounds in
specie and two thousand stand of arms were shipped for the service
of the colonies,[252] and on the 30th of September orders were
issued for the Forty-fourth and Forty-eighth regiments, both of
them on the Irish Establishment, to be embarked at Cork. Each of
these regiments was appointed to consist of three hundred and
forty men only, and to take with it seven hundred stand of arms,
so as to make up its numbers with American recruits.[253] But
the nucleus of British soldiers was presently increased to five
hundred men, the augmentation being effected, as usual, by drafts
from other regiments; not, however, without difficulty, for the
service was unpopular, and there was consequently much desertion.
The next step was to appoint a commander; and the choice fell upon
General Edward Braddock, sometime of the Coldstream Guards. He was
a man of the same stamp as Hawley, and therefore after the Duke of
Cumberland's own heart,--an officer of forty-five years' service,
rough, brutal,[254] and insolent, a martinet of the narrowest
type, but wanting neither spirit nor ability, and brave as a lion.
His instructions were sufficiently wide, comprehending operations
against the French in four different quarters. The French were to
be driven from the Ohio, and a garrison was to be left to hold the
country when captured; the like was to be done at Niagara, at Crown
Point, and at Fort Beauséjour, a work erected by the French on the
isthmus that joins Nova Scotia to the Continent. This plan had been
suggested by Governor Shirley of Massachusetts; and in furtherance
thereof the British Government had ordered two regiments, each one
thousand strong, to be raised in America under the colonelcy of
the veterans Shirley and Pepperrell, and to be taken into the pay
of Great Britain.[255] There might well be doubt whether the means
provided would suffice for the execution of the scheme.

[Sidenote: 1755.]

[Sidenote: April.]

It was January 1755 before the Forty-fourth and Forty-eighth were
embarked at Cork, and past the middle of March before the whole
of the transports arrived in Hampton Roads. Good care seems to
have been taken of the troops on the voyage, for Braddock was
able to report that there was not a sick man among them.[256]
The transports were ordered to ascend the Potomac to Alexandria,
where a camp was to be formed; and there on the 14th of April
several of the governors met Braddock in council to decide as to
the distribution of the work that lay before them. All was soon
settled. Braddock with the two newly arrived regiments was to
advance on Fort Duquêsne; Shirley with his own and Pepperrell's
regiments was to attack Niagara; William Johnson, on account
of his influence with the Indians, was chosen to lead a body
of Provincial troops from New England, New Jersey, and New
York against Crown Point; and to Lieutenant-Colonel Monckton,
an officer of whom we shall hear more, was entrusted the task
of overpowering Fort Beauséjour. The first and second of these
operations were designed to cut the chain of French posts between
the St. Lawrence and the Ohio, and may be described as purely
offensive. Why, however, it should have been thought necessary to
sever this chain at two points when one point would have sufficed,
and why therefore the whole strength of the blow was not aimed at
Niagara, are questions not easily to be answered. The capture of
Crown Point would serve alike to bar a French advance southward at
Lake Champlain and to further a British advance on Montreal, and
hence combined objects both offensive and defensive. The reduction
of Fort Beauséjour having no other purpose than the security of
Acadia, was a measure wholly defensive.

The Council broke up; the commanders repaired to their several
charges, and Braddock was left to cope with his task. A great
initial blunder had been made by the military authorities in
England in sending the troops to Virginia and ordering them to
advance on the Ohio by the circuitous route from Wills' Creek.
This was, it is true, the line that had been taken by Washington;
but Washington, like Shirley, was but an amateur, and a sounder
military judgment would have shown that the suggestions of both
were faulty. Disembarkation at Philadelphia, and a march directly
westward from thence, would have saved not only distance and time
but much trouble and expense; for Pennsylvania, unlike Maryland
and Virginia, was a country rich in forage and in the means of
transport. It was the collection of transport that was Braddock's
first great difficulty. The Pennsylvanians showed an apathy and
unwillingness which provoked even Washington to the remark that
they ought to be chastised. It was only by the mediation of
Benjamin Franklin, of all persons, that Braddock at last obtained
waggons and horses sufficient for his needs. The General's trials
were doubtless great, but his domineering temper, and the insolent
superiority which he affected as an Englishman over Americans and
as a regular officer over colonial militiamen, could not tend to
ease the general friction between British and Provincials. His
example was doubtless followed by his officers, the more so since
it had been ordained that the King's commission should confer
superiority in all grades, and that Provincial field-officers and
generals were to enjoy no rank with Imperial officers of the same
standing. Nevertheless Braddock was too capable a man to blind
himself to the merit of the ablest of his coadjutors; and it was
in terms honourable to himself that he invited and obtained the
services of Colonel George Washington upon his staff.

[Sidenote: May.]

On the 10th of May Braddock reached his base at the junction of
Wills' Creek with the Potomac, where the former trading station
had been supplanted by a fort built of logs and called, in honour
of the Commander-in-Chief, by the name of Fort Cumberland. It was
a mere clearing in a vast forest, an oasis, as it has happily been
termed, in a wilderness of leaves.[257] Here the troops had already
been assembled, the Forty-fourth and Forty-eighth, each now raised
by recruits from Virginia to a strength of seven hundred men, a
detachment of one hundred of the Royal Artillery, thirty sailors
lent by Commodore Keppel, helpful men as are all of their kind, and
four hundred and fifty Virginian militia, excellently fitted for
the work before them but much despised by the regular troops. The
whole force amounted to about twenty-two hundred men. Fifty Indian
warriors, a source of unfailing interest to the bucolic British
soldiers, were also seen in the camp in all their barbaric finery
of paint and feathers; for Braddock, whatever his bigotry in favour
of pipe-clay, was far too wise to underrate the value of Indian

[Sidenote: May 3.]

[Sidenote: June 7.]

A long month of delay followed, for the cannon did not arrive
until a week later than Braddock, and the arrangements were
still backward and confused. The General, doubtless with good
reason, railed furiously at the roguery and ill-faith of the
contractors; but it is sufficiently evident that what was lacking
at headquarters was a talent for organisation. And meanwhile,
though Braddock knew it not, events of incalculable moment were
going forward elsewhere during those very weeks. The French had
not failed to take note of the reinforcements sent by England to
America, and had replied by equipping a fleet of eighteen ships
and embarking three thousand troops to sail under their convoy
to Canada. The departure of this fleet was long delayed, and the
dilatory British Government had time to despatch two squadrons
to intercept it; but the French, putting to sea at last in May,
contrived to elude the British cruisers and arrived safely at
Louisburg and Quebec. Three only of their ships, having lagged
behind the rest, found themselves off Cape Race in the presence
of Admiral Boscawen's squadron. The two nations were nominally at
peace, but the fleets opened fire, and the engagement ended in the
capture of two of the French ships. Whether Newcastle desired it or
not, England by this act was irrevocably committed to war.

[Sidenote: June 10.]

[Sidenote: June 16.]

It was just three days after this action that Braddock's force
moved out of Fort Cumberland for its tedious march through the
forest. Three hundred axemen led the way to cut and clear the
road, which being but twelve feet wide was filled with waggons,
pack-horses and artillery, so that the troops were obliged to
march in the forest on either hand. Scouts scoured the ground in
advance and flanking parties were thrown out against surprise,
for Braddock was no mere soldier of the parade-ground. The march
was insufferably slow, the horses being weak from want of forage,
and the column dragged its length wearily along, "moving always
in dampness and shade,"[258] through the gloomy interminable
forest. Who can reckon the moral effect wrought on the ignorant and
superstitious minds of simple English lads by that dreary trail
through the heart of the wilderness? Day after day they toiled on
without sight of the sun, and night after night over the camp-fire
the Provincials filled them with hideous tales of Indian ferocity
and assured them, in heavy jest, that they would be beaten.[259]
The Forty-eighth had stood firm at Falkirk; but the Forty-fourth
had suffered heavily at Prestonpans, and such preparation could
be wholesome for no regiment. Eight days' march saw the column
advanced but thirty miles on its way, many of the men sick and
most of the horses worn out, with no prospect ahead but that of a
worse road than ever. Then came a report that five hundred French
were on their way to reinforce Fort Duquêsne; and by Washington's
advice Braddock decided to leave the heavy baggage, together with
a guard under Colonel Dunbar, to follow as best it could, and
himself to push on with a body of chosen troops. Twelve hundred
men were accordingly selected, and with these and a convoy reduced
to ten guns, thirty waggons, and several pack-horses, the advance
was resumed. Still progress continued to be wonderfully slow. The
traditions of Flanders were strong in Braddock, and by dint of
halting, as Washington said, to level every molehill and to throw a
bridge over every brook, he occupied four whole days in traversing
the next twelve miles.

[Sidenote: July.]

At length, on the 7th of July, the column reached the mouth of
Turtle Creek, a stream which enters the Monongahela about eight
miles from its junction with the Alleghany, or in other words from
Fort Duquêsne. The direct way, though the shorter, lay through a
difficult country and a dangerous defile, so Braddock resolved
to ford the Monongahela, fetch a compass, and ford it once more,
in order to reach his destination. The French meanwhile had
received intelligence of his advance on the 5th, and were not a
little alarmed. The force at the disposal of M. Contrecoeur, the
commandant of Fort Duquêsne, consisted only of a few companies
of regular troops, with a considerable body of Canadians and
nearly nine hundred Indians. He resolved, however, to send off a
detachment under Captain Beaujeu to meet the British on the march,
and told off to that officer a force of about seventy regulars,
twice as many Canadians, and six hundred and fifty Indians, or
about nine hundred men in all. Early in the morning of the 8th this
detachment marched away from Fort Duquêsne, intending to wait in
ambush for the British at some favourable spot, and by preference
at the second ford of the Monongahela.

[Sidenote: July 8.]

Braddock also had moved off early in the same morning, but it was
nearly one o'clock when he forded the Monongahela for the second
time. He himself fully expected to be attacked at this point, and
had sent forward a strong advanced party under Lieutenant-Colonel
Gage, to clear the opposite bank. No enemy however was encountered,
for Beaujeu had been delayed by some trouble with his Indians, and
had been unable to reach the ford in time. The main body of the
British therefore crossed the river with perfect regularity and
order, for Braddock wished to impress the minds of any Frenchmen
that might be watching him with a sense of his superiority. The
sky was cloudless, and the men, full of confidence and spirit,
took pride in a movement nearer akin than any other during their
weary march to the displays of the parade-ground in which they had
been trained. On reaching the farther bank the column made a short
halt for rest, and then resumed the march along a narrow track
parallel to the river and at the base of a steep ridge of hills.
Around it on all sides the forest frowned thick and impenetrable;
and Braddock took every possible precaution against surprise.
Several guides, with six Virginian light horsemen, led the way; a
musket-shot behind them came an advanced party of Gage's vanguard
followed by the vanguard itself, and then in succession a party of
axemen to clear the road, two guns with their ammunition-waggons,
and a rear-guard. Then without any interval came the convoy, headed
by a few light horsemen, a working party, and three guns; the
waggons following as heretofore on the track, and the troops making
their way through the forest to right and left, with abundance of
parties pushed well out on either flank.

At a little distance from the ford the track passed over a wide and
bushy ravine. Gage crossed this ravine with his advanced guard,
and the main body was just descending to it when Gage's guides and
horsemen suddenly fell back, and a man dressed like an Indian,
but with an officer's gorget, was seen hurrying along the path.
At sight of the British, Beaujeu (for the figure so strangely
arrayed seems to have been no other) turned suddenly and waved his
hat. The signal was followed by a wild war-whoop from his Indians
and by a sharp fire upon the advancing British from the trees in
their front. Gage's men at once deployed with great steadiness
and returned the fire in a succession of deliberate volleys. They
could not see a man of the enemy, so that they shot of necessity
at haphazard, but the mere sound of the musketry was sufficient
to scare Beaujeu's Canadians, who fled away shamefully to Fort
Duquêsne. The third volley laid Beaujeu dead on the ground, and
Gage's two field-pieces coming into action speedily drove the
Indians away from the British front.

Meanwhile the red-coats steadily advanced, the men cheering lustily
and shouting "God save the King"; and Captain Dumas, who had
succeeded Beaujeu in the command of the French, almost gave up the
day for lost. His handful of regular troops, however, stood firm,
and he and his brother officers by desperate exertions succeeded in
rallying the Indians. The regulars and such few of the Canadians as
stood by them held their ground staunchly, and opened a fire of
platoons which checked the ardour of Gage's men; while the Indians,
yelling like demons but always invisible, streamed away through
the forest along both flanks of the British, and there, from every
coign of vantage that skilful bushmen could find, poured a deadly
fire upon the hapless red-coats. The cheering was silenced, for the
men began to fall fast. For a time they kept their ranks and swept
the unheeding forest with volley after volley, which touched no
enemy through the trees. They could see no foe, and yet the bullets
rained continually and pitilessly upon them from front, flank,
and rear, like a shower from a cloudless sky. The trial at last
was greater than they could bear. They abandoned their guns, they
broke their ranks, and huddling themselves together like a herd of
fallow-deer they fell back in disorder, a mere helpless mass of
terrified men.

Just at this moment Braddock came up to the front. On hearing the
fire he had left four hundred men under Colonel Sir Peter Halket
of the Forty-fourth to guard the baggage, and had advanced with
the remainder to Gage's assistance. As the fresh troops came up,
Gage's routed infantry plunged blindly in among them, seeking
shelter from the eternal hail of bullets, and threw them likewise
into confusion. In a short time the whole of Braddock's force,
excepting the Virginians and Halket's baggage-guard, was broken
up into a succession of heaving groups, without order and without
cohesion, some facing this way, some facing that way, conscious
only of the hideous whooping of the Indians, of bullets falling
thickly among them from they knew not whence, and that they could
neither charge nor return the fire. The Virginians alone, who were
accustomed to such work, kept their presence of mind, and taking
shelter behind the trees began to answer the Indian fire in the
Indian fashion. A few of the British strove to imitate them as well
as their inexperience would permit; but Braddock would have none of
such things. Such fighting was not prescribed in the drill-book
nor familiar in the battlefields of Flanders,[260] and he would
tolerate no such disregard of order and discipline. Raging and
cursing furiously he drove British and Virginians alike back to
their fellows with his sword; and then noting that the fire was
hottest from a hill on the right flank of his advance, he ordered
Lieutenant-Colonel Burton to attack it with the Forty-eighth.
The panic had already spread far, and it was only with infinite
difficulty that Burton could persuade a hundred men to follow him.
He was presently shot down, and at his fall the whole of his men
turned back. The scene now became appalling. The gunners stood for
a time to their guns and sent round after round crashing uselessly
into the forest; but the infantry stood packed together in abject
terror, still loading and firing, now into the air, now into their
comrades, or fighting furiously with the officers who strove to
make them form. Braddock galloped to and fro through the fire,
mounting fresh horses as fast as they were killed under him, and
storming as though at a field-day. Washington, by miracle unwounded
though his clothes were tattered with bullets, seconded him with
as noble an example of courage and devotion; but it was too clear
that the day was lost. Sixty out of eighty-six officers had fallen,
and Braddock, after the slaughter had continued for three hours,
ordered the wreck of his force to retreat.

He was still struggling to bring the men off in some kind of order
when he fell from his horse, the fifth that the Indians' fire had
compelled him to mount on that day, pierced by a bullet through
arm and lungs. The unwounded remnant of his troops instantly broke
loose and fled away. In vain Washington and others strove to rally
them at the ford; they might as well have tried to stop the wild
bears of the mountains.[261] They splashed through the river
exhausted though they were, and ran on with the whoops of the
Indians still ringing in their ears. Gage succeeded in rallying
about eighty at the second ford; but the rest were not to be
stayed. Braddock, stricken to the death, begged to be left on the
battlefield, but some officers lifted him and carried him away,
for not a man of the soldiers would put a hand to him. Weak as
he was, and racked with the pain of his wound and the anguish of
his defeat, the gallant man still kept command and still gave his
orders. On passing the Monongahela he bade his bearers halt, and
sending Washington away to Dunbar for provisions and transport he
passed the night among the handful of men that had been rallied by

[Sidenote: July 9.]

[Sidenote: July 10.]

On the next morning some order was restored, and the retreat was
continued. Meanwhile stragglers had already reached Dunbar's camp
with wild tidings of disaster and defeat, and many of the teamsters
had already taken to their heels. After one more day of torture
Braddock himself was carried into the camp. On the march he had
issued directions for the collection and relief of stragglers, and
now he gave, or is said to have given, his last order, for the
destruction of all waggons and stores that could not be carried
back to Fort Cumberland. Accordingly scores of waggons were burned,
the provisions were destroyed, and guns and ammunition, not easily
to be replaced in the colonies, were blown up or spoiled. Then the
relics of the army set out in shame and confusion for the return
march of sixty miles to Fort Cumberland. Braddock travelled but a
little distance with it. His faithful aide-de-camp, Captain Orme,
though himself badly wounded, remained with him to the end and has
recorded his last words; but there was little speech now left in
the rough, bullying martinet, whose mouth had once been so full of
oaths, and whose voice had been the terror of every soldier. It was
not only that his lungs were shot through and through, but that his
heart was broken. Throughout the first day's march he lay white
and silent, with his life's blood bubbling up through his lips,
nor was it till evening that his misery found vent in the almost
feminine ejaculation, "Who would have thought it"? Again through
the following day he remained silent, until towards sunset, as if
to sum up repentance for past failure and good hope for the future,
he murmured gently, "Another time we shall know better how to deal
with them." And so having learned his lesson he lay still, and a
few minutes later he was dead.

With all his faults this rude indomitable spirit appeals
irresistibly to our sympathy. He had been chosen by the Duke of
Cumberland, whose notions of an officer, in Horace Walpole's words,
were drawn from the purest German classics, the classics initiated
by Frederick William and consecrated by Frederick the Great. It was
the passion of the Hohenzollerns, great soldiers though they were,
to dress their men like dolls and to manipulate them like puppets;
but, dearly though they loved the mechanical exercise of the
parade-ground, they knew that the minuteness of training and the
severity of discipline thereby entailed were but means to an end.
In the eyes of Cumberland, though he was very far from a blind or
a stupid man, powder, pipe-clay, and precision loomed so large as
to appear an end in themselves. He could point too to the initial
success of his attack at Fontenoy, which was simply an elaborate
parade-movement; but he forgot that the battlefields of a Prussian
army and the adversaries of a Prussian general were to be found on
the familiar lands of Silesia, Brandenburg, and Saxony, whereas the
fighting-grounds of the British were dispersed far and wide among
distant and untrodden countries, and their enemies such as were
not to be encountered according to the precepts of Montecuculi and
Turenne. It was as a favourite exponent of Cumberland's military
creed that Braddock was sent to North America. He was born and
trained for such actions as Fontenoy; and it was his fate to be
confronted with a difficult problem in savage warfare. His task
was that which since his day has been repeatedly set to British
officers, namely to improvise a new system of fighting wherewith to
meet the peculiar tactics of a strange enemy in a strange country.
Too narrow, too rigid, and too proud to apprehend the position,
he applied the time-honoured methods of Flanders, and he failed.
Other officers have since fallen into the like error, owing not a
little to a false system of training, and have failed likewise; and
vast as is our experience in savage warfare, it may be that the
tale of such officers is not yet fully told. Nevertheless, though
Braddock's ideal of a British officer may have been mistaken, it
cannot be called low. In rout and ruin and disgrace, with the hand
of death gripping tightly at his throat, his stubborn resolution
never wavered and his untameable spirit was never broken. He kept
his head and did his work to the last, and thought of his duty
while thought was left in him. His body was buried under the road,
that the passage of the troops over it might obliterate his grave
and save it from desecration from the Indians. But the lesson which
he had learned too late was not lost on his successors, and it
may truly be said that it was over the bones of Braddock that the
British advanced again to the conquest of Canada.

The losses in this disastrous action were very heavy; the devotion
of the officers, whose conduct was beyond all praise, leading them
almost to annihilation. Among the wounded were two men who were to
become conspicuous at a later day, Gage the leader of the advanced
guard and Captain Horatio Gates of the garrison of New York. Of
thirteen hundred and seventy-three non-commissioned officers and
men, but four hundred and fifty-nine came off unharmed; and the
wounded that were left on the field were tortured and murdered by
the Indians after their barbarous manner. The loss of the French
was trifling. Three officers were killed and four wounded, all
of them at the critical moment while their men were wavering;
nine white men also were killed and wounded, and a larger but
inconsiderable number of Indians. It was in fact a total and
crushing defeat. Yet Count Dieskau, an officer high in the French
service in Canada, expressed no surprise when he heard of it, for
it was the French rule, founded on bitter experience, never to
expose regular troops in the forest without a sufficient force
of Indians and irregulars to cover them. The Virginians, whose
admirable behaviour had been the one creditable feature in the
action, had shown that abundance of good irregular troops were to
be found in America; and it was evident that the British needed
only to learn from their enemies in order to defeat them.


[Sidenote: 1755.]

[Sidenote: June 16.]

The first blow against the French in America had failed; it must
now be seen how it fared with the operations entrusted to Shirley,
Johnson, and Monckton. Shirley, at Massachusetts, had been busy
since the beginning of the year in calling the Northern provinces
to arms, and they had responded nobly, Massachusetts alone raising
forty-five hundred men, and the rest of New England and New York
nearly three thousand more. The point first selected for attack
was Fort Beauséjour on the Acadian isthmus, for which object two
thousand volunteers of New England were sent up to Monckton.
Adding to them a handful of regular troops from the garrison,[262]
Monckton sailed away without delay to his work. On the 1st of
June the expedition anchored in the bay before Fort Beauséjour,
which after a fortnight's siege and the feeblest of defences
fell, together with a smaller fort called Fort Gaspereau, into
Monckton's hands. This success was followed by the expulsion of the
greater part of the French population from Acadia, a harsh measure
necessitated entirely by the duplicity of the Jesuit priests and
of the Canadian Government, who had never ceased to stir up the
unhappy peasants to revolt. From henceforth, therefore, Acadia may
be dismissed from the sphere of active operations.

The attack on Crown Point was a more serious matter, for which the
force entrusted to William Johnson included some three thousand
Provincial troops from New England and New Hampshire, and three
hundred Indians. Johnson had seen no service and was innocent of
all knowledge of war, but his influence with the Indians was very
great, and as he came from New York his appointment could not but
be pleasing to that province. His men were farmers and farmers'
sons, excellent material but neither drilled nor trained. With
the exception of one regiment, all wore their own clothes, and
far the greater number brought with them their own arms. After
long delay, owing to the jealousies of the various provinces and
to defective organisation, the force was assembled at Albany,
and in August began to move up the Hudson towards Lake George, a
new name bestowed by Johnson in honour of his sovereign. At the
carrying-place, where the line of advance left the Hudson, was
built a fort, which was first called Fort Lyman but subsequently
Fort Edward, by which latter name the reader should remember
it. Here five hundred men were left to complete and to man the
works, while the remainder, moving casually and leisurely forward,
advanced to the lake and encamped upon its southern border.

Meanwhile the French, warned by papers captured from Braddock
of the design against Crown Point, had sent thither thirty-five
hundred regular troops, Canadians and Indians, under the command
of Count Dieskau, an officer who had served formerly under Marshal
Saxe. There were two lines by which Johnson could advance against
them, the one directly up Lake George, the other by the stream
named Wood Creek, which runs parallel with it into Lake Champlain.
The junction of both passages is commanded by a promontory on the
western side of Lake Champlain, called by the French Carillon,
but more famous under its native name of Ticonderoga. To this
point Dieskau advanced with a mixed force of fifteen hundred men,
and from thence pushed forward to attack Johnson in his camp.
The sequel may be briefly told. Johnson had imprudently detached
five hundred men with some vague idea of cutting off Dieskau's
retreat; and these were caught in an ambuscade and very roughly
handled. But when, elated by this success, Dieskau advanced against
Johnson's camp he was met by a most stubborn resistance; and
finally his troops were driven back in disorder and he himself
wounded and taken prisoner. Johnson, however, did not follow up
this fortunate success. Shirley repeatedly adjured him to advance
to Ticonderoga, but was answered that the troops were unable to
move through sickness, indiscipline, bad food, and bad clothing.
Johnson lingered on in his camp until the end of November, with his
men on the verge of mutiny, and having built a fort at the southern
end of the lake, which he called Fort William Henry, retreated
to the Hudson. He was rewarded for his victory by a vote of five
thousand pounds from the British Parliament and by a baronetcy from
the King; but none the less his enterprise was a failure, and Crown
Point was left safely in the hands of the French.

The expedition against Niagara was undertaken by Shirley himself,
in all the pride of a lawyer turned general. Hitherto he had but
planned campaigns on paper; now he was to execute one in the field.
His base of operations was, like Johnson's, the town of Albany,
and his force consisted of his own regiment and Pepperrell's,
which, although the King's troops and wearing the King's uniform,
consisted none the less of raw Provincial recruits, together with
one regiment of New Jersey militia, in all twenty-five hundred
men. From Albany the force ascended the river Mohawk in bateaux to
the great carrying-place, where the town of Rome now stands; from
which point the bateaux were drawn overland on sledges to Wood
Creek,[263] where they were again launched to float down stream to
Lake Oneida and so to the little fort of Oswego on Lake Ontario. As
might have been expected with an amateur, Shirley's force arrived
at its destination long before his supplies, so that his force was
compelled to wait for some time inactive and on short rations. The
French, too, having learned of this design also from the papers
taken at the Monongahela, had reinforced their garrisons not only
at Niagara but at Fort Frontenac at the north-eastern outlet of
the lake. This materially increased Shirley's difficulties, for
unless he first captured Frontenac the French could slip across
the lake directly he was fairly on his way to Niagara, take Oswego
and cut him off from his base. To be brief, the task, rendered
doubly arduous by dearth of provisions, was too great for Shirley's
strength; and at the end of October he abandoned the enterprise,
having accomplished no more than to throw a garrison of seven
hundred men into Oswego.

So amid general disappointment ended the American campaign. Of
the four expeditions one only had succeeded; all of the rest had
failed, one of them with disaster. Nor did this disaster end
with the retreat from the Monongahela, for no sooner had Dunbar
retired from the frontier than the Indians, at the instigation
of the French, swarmed into Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania
to the massacre and pillage of the scattered settlements on the
border. Washington with fifteen hundred Virginian militia did what
he could to protect three hundred miles of frontier, but with so
small a force the duty was far beyond his power or the power of
any man. Reinforce him, however, the Assembly of Pennsylvania
would not. They closed their ears even to the cry of their own
settlers for arms and ammunition, and for legislation to enable
them to organise themselves for defence. The Assembly was intent
only on fighting with the Governor. The members would yield
neither to his representations nor to the entreaties of their
fellow-citizens; and it was not until the enemy had advanced within
sixty miles of Philadelphia that, grudgingly and late, they armed
the Governor with powers to check the Indian invasion. It was none
too soon, for the French had taken note of the large population
of pauperised Germans, Irish, "white servants," and transported
criminals in Pennsylvania, and were preparing to turn it into a
recruiting-ground for the French service.[264]

Thus closed the year 1755, with hostilities in full play between
English and French in North America. Yet war had not been declared,
nor, though it was certain to come, had any preparation been made
for it. The measures taken at the beginning of 1755 sufficiently
indicate the feebleness and vacillation of a foolish and effete
Administration. In February some addition had been made to the
infantry by raising the strength of the Guards and of seven
regiments of the Line; and in March the King sent a message to
Parliament requesting an augmentation of the forces by land and
sea. The Ministry employed the powers thus given to them in raising
five thousand marines in fifty independent companies, and placing
them expressly under the command of the Lord High Admiral. It
is said[265] that Newcastle refused to raise new regiments from
jealousy of the Duke of Cumberland's nomination of officers, and
there is nothing incredible in the assertion. But though this
measure pointed at least to activity on the part of the fleet,
never were British ships employed to less purpose. The squadron
sent out under Boscawen to intercept the French reinforcements on
their way to Louisburg was considerably inferior to the enemy's
fleet, and required to be reinforced, of course at the cost of
confusion and delay, before it was fit to fulfil its duty. Fresh
trouble was caused in May by the King's departure for Hanover, a
pleasure which he refused to deny himself despite the critical
state of affairs in England. During his absence his power was
delegated, as was customary, to a Council of Regency, a body which
was always disposed to reserve matters of importance for the King's
decision, and was doubly infirm of purpose with such a creature
as Newcastle among its ruling spirits. A powerful fleet under
Sir Edward Hawke was ready for sea and for action; and the Duke
of Cumberland, remembering the consequences of peaceful hostility
in 1742 and 1743, was for throwing off the mask, declaring open
war and striking swiftly and at once. He was, however, overruled,
and Hawke's fleet was sent to sea with instructions that bound it
to a violation of peace and a travesty of war. The King meanwhile
was solicitous above all things for the security of Hanover.
Subsidiary treaties with Bavaria and Saxony for the protection
of the Electorate had for some time existed, but were expired or
expiring; and now that some return for the subsidies of bygone
years seemed likely to be required, the contracting States stood
out for better terms. The King therefore entered into a new treaty
with Hesse-Cassel for the supply of eight thousand men, and with
Russia for forty thousand more, in the event of the invasion of

[Sidenote: Sept. 15.]

With these treaties in his pocket he returned to England, to find
the nation full of alarm and discontent. Nor was the nation at
fault in its feelings. In August the news of Braddock's defeat
had arrived and had been received with impotent dismay. Yet
nothing was done to retrieve the disaster, and two full months
passed before a few thousand men were added to all three arms of
the Army.[266] Meanwhile Newcastle, after vainly endeavouring to
persuade Pitt to serve under him, had strengthened his ministry
somewhat by securing the accession of Henry Fox; and on the 13th
of November the King opened Parliament, announcing, as well he
might, the speedy approach of war. A long debate followed, wherein
Pitt surpassed himself in denunciation of subsidiary treaties and
contemptuous condemnation of Newcastle; but the party of the Court
was too strong for him, and the treaties were confirmed by a large
majority. Pitt was dismissed from his office of Paymaster, and Fox
having been promoted to be Secretary of State was succeeded by Lord
Barrington as Secretary at War. Lastly, some weeks later, General
Ligonier was most unjustly ousted from the post of Master-General
of the Ordnance, to make way for a place-hunter who was not ashamed
thus to disgrace his honoured title of Duke of Marlborough. It
seemed, in fact, as though there were a general conspiracy to
banish ability from high station.

[Sidenote: Nov. 27.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 5.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 8.]

A fortnight later the estimates for the Army were submitted to
Parliament. Notwithstanding the urgent danger of the situation, the
number of men proposed on the British Establishment little exceeded
thirty-four thousand men for Great Britain and thirteen thousand
for the colonies. A few days afterwards the question was debated,
and Barrington then announced a further increase of troops;
whereupon Pitt very pertinently asked the unanswerable question
why all these augmentations were made so late. The House, however,
was in earnest as to the military deficiencies of the country. Fox
had taunted Pitt by challenging him to bring forward a Militia
Bill, and Pitt seized the opportunity offered by a debate on the
Militia to give the outlines of a scheme for making that force more
efficient. His proposals were embodied in a Bill, which formed the
basis of the Militia Act that was to be passed, as shall be seen,
in the following year. So far therefore the Commons forced upon the
Government and the country at least the consideration of really
valuable work.

[Sidenote: 1756.]

On the re-assembly of Parliament after Christmas an estimate was
presented for the formation of ten new regiments, to be made up in
part of certain supplementary companies which had been added to
existing battalions in 1755. These new regiments were, in order
of seniority, Abercromby's, Napier's, Lambton's, Whitmore's,
Campbell's, Perry's, Lord Charles Manner's, Arabin's, Anstruther's
and Montagu's, and they are still with us numbered in succession
the Fiftieth to the Fifty-ninth.[267] At the same time a new
departure was made by adding a light troop apiece to eleven
regiments of dragoons, both men and horses being specially equipped
for the work which is now expected of all cavalry, but which was
then entrusted chiefly to irregular horse formed upon the model
of the Austrian Hussars. Yet another novelty was foreshadowed in
February when a Bill was introduced to enable the King to grant
commissions to foreign Protestants in America. The origin of
this measure, according to Horace Walpole, was a proposal made
by one Prevost, a Protestant refugee, to raise four battalions
of Swiss and Provincials in America, with a British officer for
colonel-in-chief but with a fair number of foreigners holding other
commissions. Quite as probably this new step was quickened, if not
suggested, by the news that the French contemplated the enlistment
of recruits among the foreign population of British America. The
vote for these four battalions was passed without a division,
though Pitt opposed the Bill with all his power and was supported
by a petition from the Agent of Massachusetts. He was vehement
for the employment of British soldiers to fight British battles;
whereas so far the most important military measure of King and
ministers had been the hiring of Germans. The Bill was none the
less passed, and on the 4th of March the order for the enlistment
of the four battalions was given. Lord Loudoun was to be their
Colonel-in-Chief, Pennsylvania their recruiting-ground, and their
title the Royal Americans, an appellation long since displaced by
the famous number of the Sixtieth.

[Sidenote: March 23.]

Amid all these preparations, however, the nation throughout the
first months of 1756 lived in abject terror of an invasion. France
on her side had not been backward in equipping herself for the
approaching contest. Great activity at Toulon had been followed
by equal activity at Dunkirk, and despite good information as to
the true object of the armaments fitted out at these two ports,
the people naturally, and the Government most culpably, persisted
in the belief that they were designed for a descent upon Britain
herself. Few troops were ready to meet such a descent, for votes
cannot improvise trained officers and men, and the folly of the
Administration had done its worst to discourage enlistment. When
the danger seemed nearest, many great landowners had interested
themselves personally and with great success to obtain recruits;
and among others Lord Ilchester and Lord Digby in Somerset had
attracted some of the best material to be found in rural England,
promising that the men so enlisted should not be required to serve
outside the Kingdom. Notwithstanding this pledge, however, these
recruits were by order of the Ministry forcibly driven on board
transports and shipped off to Gibraltar. Never was there more
brutal and heartless instance of the ill-faith kept by a British
Government towards the British soldier. Having thus checked the
flow of recruits at home, the Ministry turned to Holland and asked
for the troops which she was bound by treaty to furnish. The
request was refused; whereupon a royal message was actually sent to
Parliament announcing that the King in the present peril had sent
for his contingent of Hessian troops from Germany, for the defence
of England. The message was received with murmurs in the Commons,
as well it might be, but it was not opposed; and indeed the climax
of disgrace was not yet reached. Whether from desire to embarrass
Newcastle or to pay court to the King, Lord George Sackville,
an officer whom before long we shall know too well, expressed a
preference for Hanoverians over Hessians, and proposed an address
praying the King to bring over his own electoral troops. Pitt left
his sickbed and came down, ill as he was, to the House, to appeal
to the history of the past and to the pride of every Englishman
against the motion; yet it was passed by a majority of nearly three
to one. The Lords consented to join the Commons in this address,
the King granted their prayer, and the result was that both
Hanoverians and Hessians were imported to defend this poor Island
that could not defend herself.

[Sidenote: Jan. 16.]

The next business brought before Parliament furnished new evidence
of the general confusion of affairs. As might have been foreseen,
Frederick of Prussia had viewed with no friendly eye the treaty
made by King George with Russia; and he now proposed, as an
alternative, that Hanover and England should combine with Prussia
to keep all troops whatsoever from entering the German Empire.
Since Frederick had already announced his intention of attacking
the Russians if they moved across the frontier, and since there was
good reason to apprehend that, if driven to desperation, he might
join with the French in overrunning Hanover, the Russian treaty was
thrown over, and the new arrangement accepted by King George. The
pecuniary conditions attached to the agreement were duly ratified
by the House of Commons in May, with results that were to reach
further than were yet dreamed of. Then at last, apparently as an
after-thought, war was formally declared. The country being thus
definitely committed to a struggle which might be for life or
death, the Lords supported by Newcastle seized the opportunity
to reject the Militia Bill, which was the one important military
measure so far brought forward. The general helplessness of the
moment, owing to the absence of a strong hand at the helm, is
almost incredible.

[Sidenote: April 8.]

[Sidenote: April 18.]

Meanwhile the French had struck their first blow, not on the shores
of Britain, but at Minorca. As early as in January the Ministry
had received good intelligence of the true destination of the
enemy's armaments, but had made no sufficient preparation to meet
the danger; nor was it until the 7th of April that it sent a fleet
of ten ships, ill-manned and ill-found, under Admiral Byng to
the Mediterranean. On the day following Byng's departure twelve
ships of the line under M. de la Galissonière, with transports
containing sixteen thousand troops under the Duke of Richelieu,
weighed from Toulon, and on the 18th dropped anchor off the port of
Ciudadella, at the north-western end of Minorca. General Blakeney,
the governor, had received warning of the intended attack two days
before, and had made such preparations as he could for defence; but
the means at his disposal were but poor. He had four regiments,
the Fourth, Twenty-third, Twenty-fourth, and Thirty-fourth of the
Line; to which Commodore Edgcumbe, who was lying off Mahon with
a squadron too weak to encounter the French, had added all the
marines that he could spare before sailing away to Gibraltar. Even
so, however, Blakeney could muster little more than twenty-eight
hundred men. But his most serious difficulty was lack of officers.
He himself had won his ensigncy under Cutts the Salamander at
Venloo, and he had maintained his reputation for firmness and
courage at Stirling in 1745, but he was now past eighty, crippled
with gout and unfit to bear the incessant labours of a siege.
Nevertheless he was obliged to take the burden upon him from
sheer dearth of senior officers. The lieutenant-governor of the
Island, the governor of its principal defence, Fort Philip, and the
colonels of all four regiments were absent; nineteen subalterns had
never yet joined their respective corps, and nine more officers
were absent on recruiting duties. In all five-and-thirty officers
were wanting at their posts. It was the old evil against which
George the First had struggled in vain, and it was now about to
bear bitter fruit.

[Sidenote: April.]

[Sidenote: May.]

Richelieu landed on the 18th, and Blakeney at once withdrew the
whole of his force to Fort St. Philip in order to make his stand
there. This fortress, which commanded the town and harbour of
Mahon, was probably the most elaborate possessed by the British,
and was inferior in strength to few strongholds in Europe. Apart
from the ordinary elaborations of the school of Vauban, it was
strengthened by countless mines and galleries hewn out of the solid
rock, which afforded unusual protection to the defenders. Blakeney
had little time to break up the roads or otherwise to hinder the
French advance; and Richelieu, marching into the town of Mahon
on the 19th, was able a few days later to begin the siege. His
operations, however, were unskilfully conducted, and the garrison
defended itself with great spirit. An officer of engineers, Major
Cunningham by name, while on his way to England from Minorca on
leave, had heard of the French designs upon the Island and had
instantly hurried back to his old post to assist in the defence;
and his skill and resource were of inestimable value. So clumsily
in fact did the French manage their operations that it was not
until the 8th of May that their batteries began to produce the
slightest effect.

Byng meanwhile had arrived at Gibraltar and had learned what was
going forward. He carried the Seventh Fusiliers on board his fleet
for Minorca, and had orders to embark yet another battalion from
Gibraltar as a further reinforcement. General Fowke, however, who
was in command at the Rock, urged that his instructions on this
latter point were discretionary only and that he could not spare
a battalion, having barely sufficient men to furnish reliefs for
the ordinary guards. He therefore declined to grant more than two
hundred and fifty men, to replace the marines landed from the fleet
by Commodore Edgcumbe. It is instructive to note the difficulties
imposed upon the commanders by the neglect of the Government.
Hitherto one of the first measures taken in prospect of a war
had been the reinforcement of the Mediterranean garrisons. Now,
after a full year of warning, they were left unstrengthened and
unsupported. Nay, Richelieu had lain in front of Fort St. Philip
for three whole weeks before three battalions were at last ordered
to sail for Gibraltar.[268] Byng's fleet was so slenderly manned
that he required the Seventh Fusiliers for duty on board ship,
and therefore asked Fowke for a battalion for Minorca; Fowke's
position was so weak that he dared not comply; and Blakeney's force
was so inadequate that, though he could indeed hold his own in the
fortress, he dared not venture his troops in a sortie.

[Sidenote: June 6.]

[Sidenote: June 9.]

[Sidenote: June 14.]

[Sidenote: June 27.]

[Sidenote: June 28.]

At length on the 19th of May Byng came in sight of Fort St.
Philip, and on the following day fought the indecisive action and
made the unfortunate retreat which became memorable through his
subsequent fate. The besieged, though greatly disappointed by his
withdrawal, still defended themselves stoutly and with fine spirit.
The fortress was well stored and the batteries were well and
effectively served. Six more battalions were now sent to Richelieu,
and the French plan of attack was altered. New batteries were
built, which on the 6th of June opened fire from over one hundred
guns and mortars, inflicting much damage and making a considerable
breach. The British repaired the injured works and stood to their
guns as steadily as ever; but on the 9th the French fire reopened
more hotly than before and battered two new breaches. Matters were
now growing serious; and on the 14th a party of the garrison made
a sally, drove the French from several of their batteries and
spiked the guns, but pursuing their success too far were surrounded
and captured almost to a man. Still Richelieu hesitated to storm;
nor was it until the night of the 27th that he nerved himself for
a final effort and made a grand attack upon several quarters of
the fortress simultaneously. The defence was of the stubbornest,
and the successful explosion of a mine sent three companies of
French grenadiers flying into the air; but three of the principal
outworks were carried, and the ablest officer of the garrison,
Lieutenant-Colonel Jefferies, while hurrying down to save one of
them, was cut off and made prisoner with a hundred of his men.
Cunningham also was severely wounded and rendered unfit for duty.
With hardly men enough left to him to man the guns, Blakeney on
the 28th capitulated with the honours of war, and the garrison
was embarked for Gibraltar. The siege had lasted for seventy days
and had cost the French at the least two thousand men. The losses
of the garrison were relatively small, amounting to less than four
hundred killed and wounded, and the surrender was no dishonour to
the British Army; but there was no disguising the disgraceful fact
that Minorca was gone.

[Sidenote: July.]

On the 14th of July the news reached England, and the nation,
frantic with rage and shame, looked about savagely for a scapegoat.
Bitter and cruel attacks were made even upon poor old Blakeney,
who for all his fourscore years had never changed his clothes nor
gone to bed during the ten weeks of the siege. Fowke was tried by
court-martial for disobedience of orders in refusing to send the
battalion required of him from Gibraltar, and though acquitted of
all but an error in judgment and sentenced to a year's suspension
only, was dismissed the service by the King. Finally, as is well
known, the public indignation fastened itself upon Byng; and the
unfortunate Admiral was shot because Newcastle deserved to be
hanged. Old Blakeney alone, as was his desert, became a hero and
was rewarded with an Irish peerage. Amid all the disgrace of that
miserable time men found leisure to chronicle with a sneer that
the veteran went to Court in a hackney coach with a foot-soldier
behind it. St. James's would not have been the worse for a few more
courtiers and lacqueys of the same rugged stamp.

[Sidenote: July 23.]

More disasters were at hand; but the general paralysis in England
continued. Such troops as the country possessed were still
distributed as though an invasion were imminent. There was a
camp at Cheltenham under Lord George Sackville, and another in
Dorsetshire; the Hessians were at Winchester, the Hanoverians
about Maidstone, the artillery massed together under the Duke of
Marlborough at Byfleet; all doing nothing when there was so much
to be done. The news of Braddock's defeat was nearly eight months
old when Byng sailed for the Mediterranean, but not a man had
been embarked to America. Up to the end of March the only step
taken had been the despatch of Colonel Webb to supersede Shirley
as Commander-in-Chief, but with instructions to yield the command
to General Abercromby, who was also under orders for America, on
his arrival; while Abercromby in turn was to give place to Lord
Loudoun. At last, towards the end of April the Thirty-fifth Foot
and the Forty-second Highlanders were embarked and reached New York
late in June; and a month later Lord Loudoun arrived and assumed
the command. Pitt before its departure had described the force
under Loudoun's orders as a scroll of paper, and the description
was little remote from the truth. Of the Sixtieth hardly one
battalion was yet raised; Shirley's and Pepperrell's regiments,
or what was left of them, were in garrison at Oswego; and the
levies of the various colonies as usual were long in enlisting,
late in arriving, and not too well supplied. Finally, each several
contingent was jealously kept by its province under its own orders
and control.

Shirley, undismayed by the failures of the previous year,
meditated further operations in the direction of Fort Frontenac
and Niagara, and against Crown Point; and with this view he had
accumulated supplies along the route to Oswego on the one hand, and
at Forts Edward and William Henry on the other. The troops which
he had appointed for Niagara were the shattered remains of the
Forty-fourth and Forty-eighth, part of his own and of Pepperrell's
regiments, four independent regular companies from New York, and
a small body of Provincials. The enterprise against Crown Point
was assigned to the Provincial forces of New England and New
York. Loudoun's instructions seem to have prescribed for him much
the same line as Shirley had marked out for himself; but the new
Commander-in-Chief conceived an immense and not wholly unreasonable
contempt for Shirley and for all his works. In the first place,
he found that his predecessor had emptied the military chest, and
that there was remarkably little to show for the outlay. Oswego,
on inspection by a competent engineer, was declared incapable of
defence, being ill-designed and incomplete, while the garrison
through sickness and neglect was in a shocking condition.[269]
The fact was that the King's boats had been used to transport
merchandise for sale by private speculators to the Indians, instead
of food for the nourishment of the King's troops. Fort William
Henry again was found to be in an indescribably filthy state.
Graves, slaughter-houses, and latrines were scattered promiscuously
about the camp; no discipline was maintained; provisions were
scandalously wasted; and the men were dying at the rate of thirty a
week. Loudoun decided almost immediately to abandon the attack on
Niagara and to turn all his strength against Ticonderoga and Crown

[Sidenote: August 12.]

[Sidenote: August 9.]

[Sidenote: August 14.]

Meanwhile there were sinister rumours that the French were
likely to attack Oswego, and Loudoun sent Colonel Webb with the
Forty-fourth regiment to reinforce the garrison. Webb had hardly
reached the Great Carrying-place on his way, when the news met him
that Oswego had already been captured. On the night of the 9th the
Marquis of Montcalm, an energetic officer who had arrived in Canada
in May 1755, had swooped down swiftly and secretly upon the fort
with three thousand men, and after three days' cannonade had forced
it to surrender. Webb at once retired with precipitation, and in
alarm at a report that the French were advancing upon New York,
burned the fort at the Great Carrying-place and retreated down
the Mohawk. Such timidity was worthy of Newcastle's nominee; and
this disaster brought the whole of the operations to a standstill.
Montcalm having burned Oswego retired to Ticonderoga, where with
five thousand men he took up a position from which Loudoun could
not hope, with the troops at his disposal, to dislodge him. The
British General therefore contented himself with improving the
defences of Fort Edward; and therewith ended the campaign of
1756 in North America. Everything had gone as ill as possible.
Loudoun had shown great impatience with the Provincials, and the
Provincials had taken no pains to help him. In Pennsylvania every
conceivable obstacle was thrown in the way of recruiting; in
New York there was not less friction over the quartering of the
King's troops. There were reasons sufficient in the jealousy, the
inexperience, and occasionally the corruption of the Provincials to
excuse impatience in the General, but Loudoun was not conciliatory
in manner nor had he the ability which commands confidence. He
was, in fact, one more of the incompetent men nominated by an
incompetent Administration. All that he could show for his first
campaign was the loss of Oswego, the station which bound the
British colonies to the great Indian trade with the West, the
place of arms from which the chain of French posts was to be cut
in two, in a word the sharpest and deadliest weapon in the armoury
of British North America. Small wonder that the French were filled
with triumph and the British colonies with dismay.

The news of yet another reverse heaped fuel on the flame of the
nation's indignation against Newcastle; but meanwhile the cloud
of war which had hung so long in menace over Europe burst at last
in one tremendous storm. For some months past a league had been
forming between France, Austria, Saxony, Russia, and Sweden to
crush Frederick the Great and partition Prussia. France had been
launched into this strange alliance by Madame de Pompadour, in
revenge for Frederick's disdainful rejection of a friendly message;
the Czarina likewise sought vengeance for an epigram; Austria
burned to recover Silesia; Saxony had been enticed by Austria with
the lure of a share in partitioned Prussia; and Sweden had been
attracted by the bait of Pomerania. Frederick, fully aware of all
that was going forward, resolved to meet the danger rather than
await it, and boldly invading Saxony began the Seven Years' War.
Where it should end no man could divine. All that was certain was
that Frederick, far from protecting Hanover, would have much ado
to defend himself. Thus, then, on the one side there was Hanover
open to attack, and on the other Minorca lost, British naval
reputation tarnished, and France triumphant in America. Further,
though as yet men knew it not, the news of the loss of Calcutta and
of the tragedy of the Black Hole was even then on its way across
the ocean. The outcry against the Government rose to a dangerous
height; Fox deserted Newcastle, and resigned; and at length, in
November, the shifty old jobber himself, after endless intrigues to
retain office, reluctantly and ungracefully made way, nominally for
the Duke of Devonshire, but in reality for William Pitt.

[Sidenote: Dec. 2.]

[Sidenote: 1757.]

[Sidenote: January.]

On the 2nd of December Parliament met, and the spirit of the new
minister showed itself at once in the speech from the throne. The
electoral troops and Hessians were to be sent back forthwith to
Germany; and it was now the royal desire, which it had not been
before Pitt took office, that the militia should be made more
efficient. In a word, England was from henceforth to fight her
battles for herself. Two days later leave was granted for the
introduction of a Militia Bill, and on the 15th estimates were
submitted for a British Establishment of thirty thousand men
for the service of Great Britain and nineteen thousand for the
colonies, besides two thousand artillery and engineers; the absence
of Minorca from its usual place in the list of garrisons providing
a significant comment on the whole. Of the additional troops
fifteen thousand had already been appointed for enlistment in
September, when orders had been issued for the raising of a second
battalion to each of fifteen regiments of the Line.[270] These
battalions were erected two years later into distinct regiments,
of which ten still remain with us, numbered the Sixty-first to
the Seventieth. This addition showed marks of Pitt's influence,
but after the Christmas recess his handiwork was seen in a new
and daring experiment, namely the formation of two regiments of
Highlanders, each eleven hundred strong, which, though afterwards
disbanded, became famous under the names of their Colonels, Fraser
and Montgomery.[271] The idea was a bold one, for it struck the
last weapon from the dying hands of Jacobitism and turned it
against itself; and the result soon approved it as a success. The
existing Scottish regiments were required to contribute eighty
non-commissioned officers who could speak Gaelic;[272] and the
Highlander from henceforth took his place not as a subverter
of thrones but as a builder of empires. It is remarkable,
concurrently, to note the sudden wave of energy which swept over
the entire military administration in the first weeks of 1757, when
the breath of one great man had once broken the springs and set the
stagnant waters aflow. Shirley's and Pepperrell's regiments, which
had been crippled and ruined at Oswego, were struck off the list of
the Army to make room for more efficient corps.[273] Newcastle's
feeble ministers had directed the embarkation of a single battalion
only, besides drafts, to America: Pitt, without counter-ordering
these, ordered the augmentation and despatch of seven battalions
more.[274] The Forty-ninth regiment, which was serving in Jamaica,
was increased to nearly double of its former strength, to hearten
the colonists in that Island. The Royal Artillery was raised to a
total of twenty-four companies and distributed into two battalions,
and a company of Miners, first conceived of six months before, was
incorporated with it.[275] Finally, the Marines, which had been
creeping up in strength ever since the beginning of the war, were
augmented from one hundred to one hundred and thirty companies,
so that men should not be lacking for the fleet. Nor was it only
in the mere activity of departments and ubiquity of recruiting
sergeants that the spirit of the master was seen. The nation was
stirred by such military ardour as it had not felt since the Civil
War, and there was a rush for commissions in the Army.[276]

On the re-assembling of Parliament the Militia Bill was again
brought forward, and, though it did not pass the Lords until June,
was so essential a feature of Pitt's first short Administration
that it may be dealt with here once and for all. The measure was
introduced by George Townsend and was practically identical with
that which had been rejected in the previous year, though Henry
Conway, an officer of some distinction, had prepared an alternative
scheme which was preferred by many. The Bill as ultimately passed
appointed a proportion of men to be furnished for the Militia in
every county of England and Wales, from Devonshire and Middlesex,
which were to provide sixteen hundred men apiece, to Anglesey,
which was called upon for no more than eighty. These men were to
be chosen by lot from lists drawn up by the parochial authorities
for the Lords-Lieutenants and their deputies; and every man so
chosen was to serve for three years, at the close of which period
he was to enjoy exemption until his time should come again. Thus
it was designed that every eligible man in succession should pass
through the ranks and serve for a fixed term. Special powers were
given to justices and to deputy-lieutenants to discharge men from
duty on sufficient reason shown, or after two years of service if
they were over five-and-thirty years of age. The possession of
a certain property was required as a qualification for officers,
who likewise were entitled to discharge after four years' service,
provided that others could be found to take their places. Provision
was also made for the appointment by the King of an adjutant from
the regular Army to every regiment, and of a sergeant to every
twenty men. The organisation was by regiments of from seven to
twelve companies, in which no company was to be of smaller strength
than eighty men. The Lord-Lieutenant of each county was in command
of that county's militia; and in case of urgent danger the King
was empowered to embody the whole force, communicating his reasons
to Parliament if in session, when officers and men became entitled
to the pay of their rank in the Army and subject to the articles
of war. It had been part of the original design, favoured with
reservations by Pitt himself, that Sunday should be a day of
exercise, as in Switzerland and other Protestant countries; but
this clause was dropped in deference to petitions from several
dissenting sects, and it was finally enacted that the men should
be drilled in half-companies and whole companies alternately on
every Monday from April to October. The Act was not passed without
much opposition in the Lords, who indeed reduced the numbers of
the force to thirty-two thousand men, or one-half of the strength
voted by the Commons, and added clauses which clogged the working
of the measure. Nor was it at first enforced without dangerous riot
and tumult in some quarters, due principally to the unscrupulous
employment, already narrated, of men enlisted for duty at home on
foreign service. Nevertheless the great step was taken. A local
force had been established for domestic defence, and the regular
Army was set free for service abroad, or more truly for the service
of conquest.

During the early debates on the Militia Bill Pitt himself was
absent, being confined to his house by gout; nor was it until the
17th of February that he appeared in his place to support the royal
request for subsidies for Hanover and for the King of Prussia.
The occasion drew upon him not a few sarcasms, for no man had more
vehemently denounced the turning of Great Britain into a milch cow
for the Electorate; but he waived the sneers aside in his wonted
imperious fashion, for, consistent or inconsistent, he knew at
least his own mind. It was one thing for British interests to be
subordinated to Hanoverian; but it was quite another for Britain
and Hanover to march shoulder to shoulder against a common enemy
for their common advantage. The conquest of America in Germany
was, as shall be seen, no idle phrase, though few as yet might
comprehend its purport. But suddenly at this point Pitt's career
was for the moment checked. Notwithstanding this proof of his
loyalty to the cause of Hanover, the King was still unfriendly
towards his new minister, and actually found, in the peril which
threatened his beloved Electorate, a pretext for dismissing him
from office. In March 1757 a French army of one hundred thousand
men poured over the Rhine; and it was necessary to call out the
Hanoverian troops to oppose it. The King was urgent for the Duke of
Cumberland to command these forces, but the Duke was by no means so
anxious to accept the trust. The memory of past failure oppressed
him; and, since he hated Pitt, he was unwilling to correspond with
him or to depend on him for instructions and supplies. To obviate
this difficulty the King agreed to remove Pitt; and thus a minister
of genius was discarded that an unskilful commander might take
the field. It was a proceeding worthier of Versailles than of St.

On the 5th of April Pitt, having refused to resign, received
intimation of his dismissal; but by this time the nation had been
roused to such a pitch that it would suffer no return to the
imbecile and disgraceful administration of the past two years. The
stocks fell; all the principal towns in England sent the freedom
of their corporations to Pitt, and, in Walpole's phrase, for
weeks it rained gold boxes. The King turned to Newcastle, but
the contemptible old intriguer tried in vain to form a government
with Pitt or without him. For eleven whole weeks the negotiations
continued and the country was left virtually without a government
of any kind, until at length it was seen that Pitt's return to
office was inevitable, and on the 27th of July, though Newcastle
still retained the post of First Lord of the Treasury, Pitt was
finally reinstated as Secretary of State on his own terms, that is
to say, with full control of the war and of foreign affairs. "I
will borrow the Duke's majority to carry on the Government," he had
said, "I am sure that I can save this country and that no one else

[Sidenote: July 9.]

This was the turning-point of the whole war; but during the
political struggle much precious time had been lost, all enterprise
had been paralysed, and all arrangements dislocated. Thus fresh
misfortunes were still at hand to increase the new minister's
difficulties. In January Loudoun had received the Twenty-second
regiment and the draft sent out to him by Newcastle's Government;
but in April he was still awaiting his instructions as to the
coming campaign, and meanwhile had little to report but the
difficulties thrown by the Provincial authorities in the way of
recruiting.[277] Pitt's intention, in deference to Loudoun's own
representations, had been that he should attack Louisburg; and
the seven battalions already referred to had been ordered to sail
to Halifax with that object. These troops had been embarked on
the 17th of March but had been detained by contrary winds until
after the date of Pitt's dismissal; and though there seems to
have been some effort to get them to sea a few days later, it is
none the less certain that for one reason or another they did
not reach Halifax until July.[278] Meanwhile Loudoun's position
was most embarrassing. He had withdrawn all his troops from the
frontier to New York, and was waiting only for news of Admiral
Holburne's squadron and the reinforcements that he might embark and
sail to Halifax to join them. Not a word as to Holburne reached
him; and all that he could discover was the unwelcome fact that
a French fleet, strong enough to destroy his own escort and sink
the whole of his transports, had been seen off the coast.[279] He
decided at last that the risk must be run, embarked his troops
and arrived safely at Halifax, where ten days later he was joined
by Holburne's squadron. The troops were landed, and then, but
not till then, steps were taken to obtain intelligence as to the
condition of Louisburg. This fact alone enables us to judge of
Loudoun's efficiency as a commander. The first reports received,
though meagre, were encouraging, and the troops were re-embarked
for action; but directly afterwards an intercepted letter revealed
the fact that twenty-two French sail of the line were in Louisburg
harbour, and that the garrison had been increased to seven thousand
men. The French naval force was so far superior to Holburne's
that any attempt to prosecute the enterprise was hopeless. The
expedition was therefore abandoned, and the troops sailed back to
New York.

[Sidenote: July 31.]

[Sidenote: August 4.]

[Sidenote: August 9.]

Meanwhile the disarming of the frontier afforded Montcalm an
opportunity for striking a telling blow. At the end of July
eight thousand French, Canadians and Indians were assembled at
Ticonderoga, and on the 30th twenty-five hundred of them under
command of an officer named Lévis started to march to North-West
Bay on the western shore of Lake George, while Montcalm with
five thousand more embarked in bateaux on Lake Champlain. On the
following day both divisions united close to Fort William Henry,
and on the 3rd of August Montcalm, mindful of the defeat of
Dieskau, laid siege to the fort in form. Fort William Henry was
an irregular bastioned square, built of crossed logs filled up
with earth and mounting seventeen guns. On the northern side it
was protected by the lake, on the eastern side by a marsh, and to
south and west by ditches and _chevaux de frise_. The garrison,
which had been reinforced a few days before in view of coming
trouble, counted a total strength of twenty-two hundred men,
including regular troops, sailors and mechanics, under the command
of a veteran Scottish officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Monro of the
Thirty-fifth Foot. On the night of the 4th the trenches were opened
on the western side of the fort, and two days later the French
batteries opened fire. The fort returned the fire with spirit,
but it was evident that unless it were speedily relieved its fall
could be only a question of time. Colonel Webb lay only fourteen
miles away at Fort Edward, and by summoning troops hurriedly from
New York and from the posts on the Mohawk had collected a force of
over four thousand men; but Montcalm was reported to have twelve
thousand men, and Webb did not think it prudent to advance to Lake
George until further reinforced. He therefore sent a letter to
Monro, advising him to make the best terms that he could, which
was intercepted by Montcalm and politely forwarded by him to its
destination. The siege was pushed vigorously forward, and by the
8th the besieged were in desperate straits. Over three hundred men
had been killed and wounded, all the guns excepting a few small
pieces had been disabled, and, worst of all, smallpox was raging in
the fort. On the 9th, therefore, Monro capitulated on honourable
terms, which provided, among other conditions, that the French
should escort the garrison to Fort Edward. On the march the Indian
allies of the French burst in upon the unarmed British, unchecked
by the Canadian militia, and despite the efforts of Montcalm and
of his officers massacred eighty of them and maltreated many more.
This, however, though it might well stir the vengeful feelings of
the British, was but an episode. The serious facts were the loss of
the post at Lake George, and yet another British reverse in North

[Sidenote: July 26.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 5.]

Such were among the last legacies bequeathed by Newcastle's
feebleness; and meanwhile the King's perversity in driving Pitt
from office had brought speedy judgment upon himself and upon
Cumberland. The Duke was defeated by the French at the battle of
Hastenbeck, and retreating upon Stade concluded, or rather found
concluded for him, the convention of Klosterzeven, whereby he
agreed to evacuate the country. Such were the discouragements
which confronted Pitt on resuming office. It was hard to see how
he could initiate any operations of value at so late a period of
the year, but there was one species of diversion which, though
little recommended by experience of the past, lay open to him
still, namely a descent upon the French coast. A young Scottish
officer, who had travelled in France, gave intelligence based on
no very careful or recent observation, that the fortifications of
Rochefort were easily assailable; and Pitt on the receipt of this
intelligence at once conceived the design of surprising Rochefort
and burning the ships in the Charente below it. Somewhat hastily it
was determined to send ten of the best battalions and a powerful
fleet on this enterprise, and the military command was offered
to Lord George Sackville, who not relishing the task found an
excuse for declining. Pitt was then for entrusting it to General
Henry Conway, but the King objected to this officer on the score
of his youth, and insisted on setting over him Sir John Mordaunt,
a veteran who had showed merit in the past, but had now lost
his nerve and was conscious that he had lost it. He and Conway
alike objected to the project as based on flimsy and insufficient
information, but both thought themselves bound in honour to accept
the trust confided to them.

[Sidenote: Sept. 8.]

[Sidenote: October.]

Though the expedition had been decided upon in July, it was not
until two months later that it sailed from England, and meanwhile
the troops waited as usual in the Isle of Wight.[280] There was
much delay in providing transports, and the embarkation was so
ill-managed that the troops were obliged to row a full mile to
their ships. On the 8th of September, however, the vessels put
to sea under convoy of sixteen sail of the line under Sir Edward
Hawke, and after much delay from foul winds and calms anchored in
Basque Roads, the haven which was to become famous half a century
later for an attack of a very different kind. On the 23rd the
fortifications of the Isle d'Aix were battered down by the fleet
and the island itself captured; but therewith the operations came
abruptly to an end. Fresh information revealed that the French were
fully prepared to meet an attack on Rochefort; and a council of war
decided that any attempt to take it by escalade would be hopeless.
It was therefore decided to attack the forts at the mouth of the
Charente, but the order was countermanded by Mordaunt; and after
a week's delay Hawke gave the General to understand that unless
operations were prosecuted forthwith he would return with the fleet
to England. The military commanders thereupon decided that they
would return with him, which on the 1st of October they did, to
the huge indignation of both fleet and army. A court of inquiry
was held over this absurd issue to such extensive and costly
preparations, and Sir John Mordaunt was tried by court-martial
but honourably acquitted. The incident gave rise to a fierce
war of pamphlets. It is certain that Mordaunt showed remarkable
supineness, and he was suspected of a wish to injure the influence
of Pitt by turning the enterprise into ridicule; but with such
men as Wolfe, Conway and Cornwallis among the senior officers,
the only conclusion is that, in the view of military men, no
object of the least value could have been gained by any operations
whatever. Military opinion had been against the expedition from
the first. Ligonier, a daring officer but of ripe experience and
sound judgment, wrote of it in the most lukewarm terms as likely to
lead to nothing. On the whole it seems that the troops were sent
on a fool's errand, and that the blame lay solely with Pitt. The
nation was furious, and the King showed marked coldness towards the
generals who had taken part in the failure; but Pitt, who was more
hurt and disappointed than any one, took no step except to promote
Wolfe, who had advocated active measures, over the heads of several
other officers, and thus in one way at least extracted good from

So ended the campaigning season of 1757 with an unbroken record of
ill success in every quarter. But the right man was now at the head
of affairs and was looking about him for the right instruments. The
long period of darkness had come to an end and the light was about
to break, at first in flickering broken rays, but soon to shine out
in one blaze of dazzling and surpassing splendour.



[Sidenote: 1757.]

Pitt had now a free hand for the execution of such enterprises as
he might desire, a freer hand indeed than any of his predecessors
for ten years past had enjoyed; for Cumberland, being ill-received
by the King on his return from Hastenbeck, had resigned the
Commandership-in-Chief and all his military appointments of
whatever description. Pitt, conscious that the Duke had been hardly
treated, made no secret of his sympathy with him; but there can be
no doubt that Ligonier, who succeeded him as Commander-in-Chief,
was infinitely more competent as a military adviser and more
sympathetic as a military colleague. And there was need for sound
military capacity to deal with all the projects that were ripening
in the minister's teeming brain.

[Sidenote: June 23.]

[Sidenote: December.]

Parliament met on the 1st of December, and the King's speech,
after announcing vigorous prosecution of the war in America and
elsewhere, begged for support for the King of Prussia. Frederick
fortunately stood just at that moment at his highest in the public
view, for his two masterly victories at Rossbach and Leuthen; and
Parliament did not hesitate to confirm a subsidy to him to enable
him to carry on the struggle. But in other respects Pitt could
find little to boast of in the past year, and he was obliged to
confine his eulogy to Frederick and to Clive, whose victory at
Plassey, now just become known in England, could not be ascribed to
any extraordinary efforts on the part of a British Ministry. The
word "elsewhere" in the King's speech was understood to signify
Hanover, though Pitt warmly disclaimed any such interpretation of
the term; but the Commons did not quarrel with it nor with the
estimates that were submitted in support of the policy. These were
presented on the 7th of December and showed a force for the British
Establishment of eighty-six thousand five hundred men, thirty
thousand of them for Gibraltar and the colonies, and the remainder
nominally for service at home. Four thousand of this number,
however, were invalids, who were kept for duties in garrison
only, a system wisely copied from earlier days and followed from
the beginning to the end of the war. One new regiment only had
been raised since the formation of Fraser's and Montgomery's
Highlanders, namely Colonel Draper's, which had been created for
service in India and which brought up the number of the regiments
of the Line to seventy-nine. Adding the troops on the Irish to
those on the British Establishment the full numbers of the Army
may be set down roughly at one hundred thousand men. It was soon
to be seen what Pitt could accomplish with them, when he had found
officers who would fulfil his instructions.

America first occupied his attention and was dealt with summarily.
The first thing to be done was to recall Lord Loudoun from the
command, a resolution which was carried out before the year's
end,[281] and to appoint a new General in his place. The choice
fell upon General James Abercromby, who had been sent out by
Newcastle's Administration; and the selection was not a fortunate
one. The next step was to summon Colonel Jeffery Amherst from
Germany, where he had been employed since 1756 as Commissary to
the Hessian troops in the pay of England. Amherst, it will be
remembered, was a Guardsman, and was last seen by us as Ligonier's
aide-de-camp on the field of Fontenoy; so it is at least probable
that his appointment was due to Ligonier's influence. Three new
brigadiers were nominated to serve under him, Lawrence, Whitmore,
and James Wolfe. The operations to be undertaken in America were
threefold. First and foremost Louisburg was to be besieged; and
this duty was assigned to Amherst with fourteen thousand regular
troops. Concurrently an advance was to be made upon Crown Point,
and pushed forward if possible to Montreal and Quebec; which
service was entrusted to Abercromby, aided by Brigadier Lord Howe,
with about ten thousand regulars and twenty thousand Provincial
troops. Lastly, nineteen hundred regular troops and five thousand
Provincials under Brigadier-General Forbes were to repair
Braddock's failure and capture Fort Duquêsne.[282] The number of
Provincial troops to be employed was five times as great as that
provided by the colonies in any previous year; but Pitt, while
asking for so formidable a force, agreed to supply the troops with
tents, provisions, arms, and ammunition, leaving to the provinces
the expenses of raising, clothing, and paying them only. Moreover,
he had readjusted the former regulations as to the seniority of
Provincial and Imperial officers, which had given much offence, in
a spirit somewhat less to the prejudice of the Provincials. True
to his principle that British battles should be fought by British
subjects he grudged no expense to gather recruits from the new
British beyond sea.

The troops were to be escorted to America by a fleet under Admiral
Boscawen, which was strong enough to overpower any French fleet in
American waters. A squadron was also sent under Admiral Osborne
to the Mediterranean to intercept any French reinforcements from
Toulon, while yet another squadron under Sir Edward Hawke cruised
with the like object before Rochefort. Osborne's name has been
forgotten, and Hawke's lesser services have been swallowed up
in the fame of his action before Quiberon; but it may be said
here once for all that both officers performed their parts with
admirable ability and signal success. The reader may now begin to
judge of Pitt's talent for organising victory.

[Sidenote: 1758.]

[Sidenote: Feb. 19.]

Boscawen, with twenty-three ships of the line and several smaller
vessels, sailed with his convoy of transports on the 19th of
February. It had been Pitt's hope that the siege of Louisburg
should have been begun by the 20th of April;[283] but fate was
against him, and the Admiral did not reach Halifax until the
9th of May. Amherst, who had sailed with Captain George Rodney
in H.M.S. _Dublin_ on the 16th of March, was not less unlucky
in his passage; and Boscawen, after waiting for his arrival at
Halifax until the 28th of May, at last put to sea without him,
but fortunately met the _Dublin_ just outside the harbour. The
huge fleet, one hundred and fifty-seven sail in all, with eleven
thousand troops on board, then steered eastward, and on the 2nd of
June sailed into Gabarus Bay, immediately to westward of the tongue
of land whereon stood Louisburg. Here there were three possible
landing-places: Freshwater Cove, four miles from the town; Flat
Point, which was rather nearer; and White Point, which was within
a mile of the ramparts. East of the fortress there was yet another
landing-place named Lorambec. It was determined to threaten all
these points simultaneously, Lawrence and Whitmore with their
respective brigades moving towards White Point and Flat Point,
with one regiment detached against Lorambec, while Wolfe's brigade
should make a true attack upon Freshwater Cove.[284] Nothing very
clear was known of the French defences erected to cover these
landing-places, and it so happened that the point selected for
attack was the most strongly defended of all.

[Sidenote: June 8.]

For five days all attempts at disembarkation were frustrated
by fog and storm; but at two o'clock on the morning of the 8th
the troops were got into the boats, and at daybreak the frigates
of the fleet stood in and opened a fierce fire upon the French
entrenchments at all of the threatened points. A quarter of an hour
later the boats shoved off and pulled for the shore. Wolfe's party
consisted of five companies of grenadiers, a body of five hundred
and fifty marksmen drawn from the different regiments and known as
the Light Infantry, and a body of American Rangers, with Fraser's
Highlanders and eight more companies of grenadiers in support. The
beach at Freshwater Cove, for which they were making, was a quarter
of a mile long, with rocks at each end; and on the shore above it
more than a thousand Frenchmen lay behind entrenchments, which
were further covered by abatis. Eight cannon and swivels had been
brought into position to sweep every portion of the beach and of
its approaches, but were cunningly masked by young evergreen shrubs
planted in the ground before them. The French had not been at fault
when they selected the point remotest from the town as the most
likely to be attacked by an enemy.

The boats were close in-shore before the French made any sign,
when they suddenly opened a deadly fire of grape and musketry.
Wolfe, seeing that a landing in face of such a tempest of shot
would be hopeless, signalled to the boats to sheer off; but three
of them, filled with Light Infantry on the extreme right, being
little exposed to the fire, pulled on to a craggy point just to
eastward of the beach, which was sheltered from the enemy's cannon
by a small projecting spit. There the three officers in charge
leaped ashore followed by their men, and Wolfe hastened the rest
of his boats to the same spot. Major Scott, who commanded the
Light Infantry, was the first to reach the land; and though his
boat was stove in against the rocks he scrambled ashore, and with
no more than ten men held his own against six times his numbers
of French and Indians, till other troops came to his support. The
rest of the boats followed close in his wake. Many were stove in
and not a few capsized; some of the men too were caught by the
surf and drowned; but the greater part made their way ashore wet
or dry, Wolfe, who was armed only with a cane, leaping into the
surf and scrambling over the crags with the foremost. Arrived
at the firm ground beyond, the men formed, attacked the nearest
French battery in flank, and quickly carried it with the bayonet.
Lawrence's brigade now rowed up, and finding the French fully
occupied with Wolfe, landed at the western end of the beach with
little difficulty or loss. Amherst followed him; and the French
seeing themselves attacked on right and left, and fearing to be cut
off from the town, abandoned all their guns, some three-and-thirty
pieces great and small, and fled into the woods in the rear of
their entrenchments. The British pursued, until on emerging from
the forest they found themselves in a cleared space with the guns
of Louisburg opening fire upon them. Then the pursuit was checked,
for the first great object had been obtained. The total loss of
the British little exceeded one hundred in killed, wounded, and
drowned; that of the French was not much greater, but the British
had gained a solid success.

Amherst pitched his camp just beyond range of the guns of the
fortress, and selected Flat Point Cove as the place for landing
his guns and stores. The disembarkation of material was a task of
extreme difficulty and danger owing to the surf, so much so that
over one hundred boats were stove in during the course of the
siege. The General, therefore, had ample leisure to examine the
ground before him. The harbour of Louisburg is a land-locked bay
with an extreme width from north-east to south-west of about two
and a half miles. The entrance is rather more than a mile wide,
but is narrowed to less than half of that distance by a chain of
rocky islets. The defences of the entrance were a battery on a
small island on the west side of the channel and a fort on the
eastern shore at the promontory of Lighthouse Point. Within the
harbour on the northern shore had stood a battery known as the
Grand battery, but this was destroyed by the French on the night
of Amherst's landing; and on the western shore on a triangular
peninsula stood Louisburg itself, the Dunkirk of America, the apex
of the triangle pointing towards the harbour, the base towards the
land where Amherst's force now lay encamped. The full circuit of
its fortifications was about a mile and a half, and the number of
cannon and mortars mounted thereon and on the outworks exceeded
two hundred. The garrison consisted of five battalions of regular
troops, numbering about four thousand men, together with several
companies of colonial troops from Canada; the whole being under
command of a gallant officer named Drucour. Finally, at anchor
in the harbour lay five ships of the line and seven frigates.
The strongest front of the fortress was on the side of the land,
running from the sea on the south to the harbour on the north: it
was made up of four bastions called in succession, from north to
south, the Dauphin's, King's, Queen's, and Princess's bastions. The
King's bastion formed part of the citadel, and before it the glacis
sloped down to a marsh which protected it completely; but at both
extremities of the line there was high ground favourable for the
works of a besieging force. It was towards the northern extremity,
from a hillock at the edge of the marsh, that Amherst resolved to
push his first attack.

[Sidenote: June 25.]

[Sidenote: June 29.]

Meanwhile the labour to be accomplished before the guns and stores
could be brought to the spot was immense. The distance from the
landing-place was a mile and a half, every yard of it consisting
of deep mud covered with moss and water-weeds, through which it
was necessary to make not only a road but an epaulement also, to
protect the road; for a French frigate, the _Aréthuse_, lay in
a lagoon called the Barachois at the extreme western corner of
the harbour, and swept all the ground before the ramparts with a
flanking fire. While, therefore, this work was going forward Wolfe
was ordered with twelve hundred men and artillery to the battery
at Lighthouse Point, which had been abandoned by the French, in
order to fire upon the Island battery and upon the ships in the
harbour. After some days the Island battery was silenced with the
help of the fleet, and the men of war were driven under the guns of
the main fortress. The entrance to the harbour being thus laid open
to the British fleet, the French commander under cover of a foggy
night sank six large ships in the channel to bar the passage anew.

[Sidenote: July 9.]

[Sidenote: July 14.]

[Sidenote: July 21.]

On the very day when Wolfe succeeded in silencing the Island
battery Amherst's preparations were at last completed; and the
British began to break ground on the appointed hillock. From thence
the trenches were carried, despite the fire of the _Aréthuse_,
towards the Barachois; and it was soon evident that the frigate
would be repaid for all the mischief that she had wrought. At
the same time Wolfe broke ground to the south opposite to the
Princess's bastion, and despite a fierce sortie made by a drunken
party of the garrison, pushed his works steadily forward against
it. Another three weeks saw the net closing tighter and the fire
raining fiercer about the doomed fortress. The _Aréthuse_, after
sticking to her moorings right gallantly under an ever increasing
fire, was compelled at last to shift her position. Two days later
Wolfe, as busy at the left as at the right attack, made a dash at
nightfall upon some rising ground only three hundred yards before
the Dauphin's bastion, drove out the French that occupied it, and
would not be forced back by the fiercest fire from the ramparts.
On the 21st a lucky shell fell on one of the French line-of-battle
ships and set her on fire. The scanty crew left on board of her
could not check the flames. She drifted from her moorings upon two
of her consorts and kindled them also; and all three were burned to
the water's edge. The two remaining line-of-battle ships survived
them but a little time, for a few nights later six hundred sailors
rowed silently into the harbour and surprised and captured both of
them. One, being aground, was burned, and the other was towed off,
in contempt of the fire from the fortress, to a safe anchorage.

[Sidenote: July 27.]

By this time Amherst's batteries had reduced Louisburg almost to
defencelessness. The masonry of the fortress had crumbled under
the concussion of its own guns and was little able to stand the
shot of the British. A new battery erected on the hill to the
north of the Barachois raked the western front of the French works
from end to end, and there was no standing against its fire. On
the 26th of July the last gun on that front was silenced and a
practicable breach had been made. Drucour then made overtures for
a capitulation. Amherst's reply was short and stern: the garrison
must surrender as prisoners of war, and a definite answer must be
returned within one hour. Drucour replied at first with defiance,
but, before his messenger could reach Amherst he sent a second
emissary to accept the terms; and on the following day the British
occupied the fortress. The casualties of the besiegers were not
heavy, little exceeding five hundred killed and wounded of all
ranks. The loss of the French is unknown, but must have been very
great, from sickness not less than from shot and shell. The number
of soldiers and sailors made prisoners amounted to fifty-six
hundred, while over two hundred cannon and a large quantity of
munitions and stores were surrendered with the fortress. So Cape
Breton, and Prince Edward's Island with it, passed under the
dominion of the British for ever.

The siege over, Amherst proposed to Boscawen to proceed to Quebec,
but the Admiral did not consider the enterprise to be feasible.
Drucour's gallant defence, indeed, had accomplished one object,
in preventing Amherst from co-operating with Abercromby in the
attack on Canada; though, could the siege have been begun at the
date fixed by Pitt, his efforts would have been of little avail.
Amherst therefore left four battalions to garrison Louisburg,[285]
and sent Colonel Monckton, Colonel Lord Rollo, and Wolfe, each
with a sufficient force, to complete the work of subjugation on
Prince Edward's Island, the Bay of Fundy, and the Gulf of St.
Lawrence. Wolfe having accomplished his part of the task went
home on sick leave, and Amherst sailed with five battalions[286]
for Boston, where he arrived on the 14th of September and was
received with immense though rather inconvenient enthusiasm by the
inhabitants.[287] His presence was but too sorely needed to repair
the mischief wrought by Abercromby's incapacity.

The prospects of Abercromby at the opening of the campaign
were such as might have encouraged any General. Vaudreuil, the
Governor of Canada, a corrupt and incapable man, knowing of the
intended advance of the British by Lakes George and Champlain
upon Ticonderoga and Crown Point, had proposed to avert it by a
counter-raid along the Mohawk upon the Hudson. This plan, being
vague, and indeed impracticable, was abandoned; and the defence
of the approaches to Montreal was committed to Montcalm, who was
stationed at Ticonderoga with an insufficient force of about four
thousand men, and without support from the posts higher up the
lake. To Abercromby, with seven thousand regular troops and nine
thousand Provincials, the exposure of this weak and isolated force
should have been welcome as the solution of all his difficulties.
It must now be seen to what end he turned so excellent an

The early months of the summer were occupied with the task, always
vexatious and troublesome, of collecting the Provincial troops,
and of sending supplies up the Mohawk and the Hudson to Fort
Edward. The latter work was tedious and harassing, despite the
facilities of carriage by water, for there were three portages
between Albany and Fort Edward, at each of which all boats had to
be unladen, and dragged, together with their stores, for three or
even more miles overland before they could be launched again for
easier progress. None the less the business went forward with great
energy; and notwithstanding the danger of convoys from the attack
of Indians when passing through the forest, the work of escorting
was so perfectly managed that not one was molested. These admirable
arrangements were due to Brigadier Lord Howe, the eldest of three
brothers, all of whom were destined to leave a mark for good or
evil on English history.

Howe had been appointed by Pitt to make good the failings which
were suspected in Abercromby. He was now thirty-four years of age,
and having arrived in America with his regiment, the Fifty-fifth,
in the previous year, had been at pains to learn the art of
forest-warfare from the most famous leader of the Provincial
irregulars. He threw off all training and prejudices of the
barrack-yard, joined the irregulars in their scouting-parties,
shared the hardships and adopted the dress of his rough companions
and became one of themselves. Having thus schooled himself he
began to impart the lessons that he had learned to his men. He
made officers and men, alike of regular and of Provincial troops,
throw off all useless encumbrances; he cut the skirts off their
coats and the hair off their heads, browned the barrels of their
muskets, clad their lower limbs in leggings to protect them
from briars, and filled the empty space in their knapsacks with
thirty pounds of meal, so as to make them independent for weeks
together of convoys of supplies. In a word, he headed a reaction
against the stiff unpractical school of Germany so much favoured
by Cumberland, and tried to equip men reasonably for the rough
work that lay before them. Such ideas had occurred to other men
besides him. Colonel Bouquet of the Sixtieth wished to dress his
men like Indians, and Brigadier Forbes went cordially with him,
for, as he wrote emphatically, "We must learn the art of war from
the Indians." Washington, again, said that if the matter were
left to his inclination he would put both men and officers into
Indian dress and set the example himself.[288] There was in fact
a general revolt of all practical men against powder and pipeclay
for bush-fighting, and Howe was fortunately in a position to turn
it to account. Possibly it is to his influence that may be traced
the formation in the same year of a regiment which, being designed
for purposes of scouting and skirmishing only, was clothed in dark
brown skirtless coats without lace of any description. This corps
ranked for a time as the eightieth of the Line, and was known as
Gage's Light Infantry.[289] It must not be supposed that these
reforms were accepted without demur. Officers were dismayed to find
that they were expected to wash their own clothes without the help
of the regimental women, and to carry their own knives and forks
with them according to Howe's example; and the German soldiers, of
whom there were many in the Sixtieth, sorely resented the cropping
of their heads. But Howe was a strict disciplinarian, and not
the less, but rather the more, on this account was adored by the

[Sidenote: July 5.]

By the end of June the whole of Abercromby's force, with all its
supplies, was assembled at the head of Lake George. On the 4th of
July the stores were shipped, and on the following day the men
were embarked. The arrangements were perfect: each corps marched
to its appointed place on the beach without the least confusion,
and before the sun was well arisen the whole army was afloat.
The scene was indescribably beautiful. Overhead the sky was blue
and cloudless; the sun had just climbed above the mountain tops,
and his rays slanted down over the vast rolling slope of forest
to the lake. Not a breath of air was moving to ruffle the still
blue water or stir the banks of green leaves around it, as the
twelve hundred boats swept over the glassy surface. Robert Rogers,
most famous of American partisans and instructor of Howe, with
his rangers, and Gage with part of his new Light Infantry led
the way. John Bradstreet of New England followed next with the
boatmen, himself the best boatman among them; and then in three
long parallel columns came the main body of the army. To right and
left blue coats showed the presence of the Provincial troops of
New England and New York, and in the centre flared the well-known
English scarlet. Howe led this centre column with the Fifty-fifth,
his own regiment; and after him followed the first and fourth
battalions of the Sixtieth, the Twenty-seventh, Forty-fourth,
Forty-sixth, and last of all the Forty-second with their sombre
tartan, each regiment marked by its flying colours of green or buff
or yellow or crimson. Then, unmarked by any flag, for colours they
had none, came more of Gage's brown coats. Two "floating castles"
armed with artillery also accompanied this column, towering high
above the slender canoes and whale-boats; and in the rear came the
bateaux laden with stores and baggage, with a rear-guard made up
of red coats and of blue. So the great armament, stretching almost
from shore to shore, crept on over the bosom of the lake, the
strains of fife and drum mingling with the plashing of ten thousand
oars, till the narrows were reached and the broad front dwindled
into a slender procession six miles in length, still creeping on
like some huge sinuous serpent on its errand of destruction and

[Sidenote: July 6.]

By five in the afternoon the flotilla had travelled five-and-twenty
miles, and a halt was made for the baggage and artillery, which had
lagged behind. At eleven o'clock it started again, and at daybreak
reached the narrow channel that leads into Lake Champlain by the
headland of Ticonderoga. A small advanced post of the French on the
shore was driven back, and the work of disembarkation was begun.
By noon the whole army had been landed on the western shore of the
lake; Rogers with his rangers was sent forward to reconnoitre,
and the troops were formed in four columns for the march. The
route proposed was to follow the western bank of the channel
which connects Lake George with Lake Champlain, since the French
had destroyed the bridge over it, and to fall upon Ticonderoga
from the rear. The way lay through virgin forest, encumbered with
thick undergrowth and strewed with the decaying trunks and limbs
of fallen trees. All order became impossible; the men struggled
forward as best they could; the columns got mixed together; the
guides lost all idea of their direction in the maze; and the army
for a time was lost in the forest.

Meanwhile the French advanced party, some three hundred and fifty
men, which had fallen back before the British, found its retreat
cut off, and had no resource but to take to the woods. They too
lost themselves among the trees, and the two hostile bodies were
groping their way helplessly on, when the right centre column of
the British, with Lord Howe and some rangers at its head, blundered
unawares full upon the French party. A sharp skirmish followed,
and in the general confusion the main body of the British, hearing
volleys but unable to see, became very unsteady. Fortunately the
rangers stood firm, and Rogers' advanced guard, turning back at the
sound of shots, caught the French between two fires and virtually
annihilated them. The British loss in this affair was trifling in
numbers but none the less fatal to the expedition; for Lord Howe
lay dead with a bullet through his heart, and with his death the
whole soul of the army expired.

[Sidenote: July 7.]

Abercromby's force was for the moment paralysed. Half of his army
was lost, nor did he know where to find it. So much of it as he
could collect he kept under arms all night, and next morning he
fell back to his landing-place, where to his great relief he
found the rest of his troops awaiting him. Montcalm meanwhile had
been devoured by anxiety. The channel between Lake George and
Lake Champlain being impassable by boats owing to rapids, the
usual route to Ticonderoga lay across it by some saw-mills at the
foot of the rapids, where he had already destroyed the bridge.
Nevertheless it was not by these saw-mills but on the western bank
of the channel that he had determined to make his stand; nor was it
until the evening of the 6th that, yielding to the advice of two of
his officers, he decided to retire to Ticonderoga. Accordingly, at
noon of the 7th, Abercromby sent Rogers forward with a detachment
to occupy the saw-mills. The bridge was rebuilt; and the army,
crossing the channel late in the afternoon, occupied the camp
deserted by the French. Abercromby was now within two miles of

But meanwhile Montcalm had not been idle. The peninsula of
Ticonderoga consists of a rocky plateau with low ground on each
side, standing at the junction of Lakes George and Champlain. The
fort stood near the end of this peninsula; and half a mile to
westward of the spot the ground rises and forms a ridge across the
plateau. On this ridge Montcalm decided at the last moment to throw
up abatis and accept battle. The outline of the works had already
been traced, and at the dawn of the 7th every man of his force was
at work, cutting down the trees that covered the ground. The tops
were cut off and the logs piled into a massive breast-work nine
feet high, which was carefully loop-holed. The forest before the
breast-work was also felled and left lying with the tops turned
outwards, as though, to use the words of an eye-witness, it had
been laid low by a hurricane. Between these felled trees and the
breast-work the ground was covered with heavy boughs, their points
being sharpened and the branches interlaced, so as to present an
almost impenetrable obstacle. The French officers themselves were
amazed at the work which had been accomplished in one day.

[Sidenote: July 8.]

Still the position was no Malplaquet, and there was no occasion
for Abercromby to dread it. It was open to him either to attack
Montcalm in his flanks, which were unfortified; or to bring up
his artillery and batter the breast-work to splinters about his
ears; or better still to post his guns on a height, called Mount
Defiance, which commanded the position, and to rake the breast-work
from end to end; or best of all to mask this improvised stronghold
with a part of his force and push on with the rest northward up
Lake Champlain and so cut off at once Montcalm's supplies and his
retreat. The French General had but thirty-six hundred men and only
eight days' provisions with him, so that this movement would have
ensured his surrender without the firing of a shot. Abercromby's
intelligence, however, told him that the French were six thousand
strong and that three thousand more were expected to join them at
any hour; and he was nervously anxious to make his attack before
this reinforcement, which had in reality no existence, should
arrive on the spot. Accordingly, at dawn of the 8th, Abercromby
sent his engineers to reconnoitre the enemy's position from Mount
Defiance. The duty was most perfunctorily fulfilled, and the chief
engineer, Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, reported that the works could
be captured by direct assault. This was enough for Abercromby.
Without further inquiry he resolved that the artillery should be
left idle at the place where it had been landed, and that the
abatis should be carried with the bayonet.

It was high noon, and the French were still busily strengthening
their wooden ramparts with earth and sandbags when shots in the
forest before them gave warning that the British advanced parties
had struck against their picquets. Instantly they fell in behind
the breast-work, three deep, eight battalions of regular troops
and four hundred and fifty Canadians, numbering in all little
more than a fourth of the British force. The advance of the
British was covered by the Light Infantry and rangers while the
columns of attack were forming under shelter of the forest. Then
the skirmishers cleared the front and the scarlet masses came
forward, solid and steady; the picquets leading, the grenadiers
in support, the battalions of the main body after the grenadiers,
and the Fifty-fifth and Forty-second Highlanders in reserve.
It was little that they could see through the tangle of fallen
trees and dying leaves; possibly they caught a glimpse of the
top of the breast-work but of not a white coat of the defenders
behind it. On they came in full confidence, knowing nothing of
the obstacles before them, when suddenly the breast-work broke
into a sheet of flame and a storm of grape and musketry swept the
ranks from end to end. Abercromby's instructions had been that
the position should be taken with the bayonet, but all order was
lost in the maze of fallen trees, and very soon the men began to
return the fire as they advanced, but with little effect, for not
an enemy could they see. Nevertheless, though riddled through and
through, they scrambled on over the prostrate trunks straight
upon the breast-work, when they were stopped by the tangled hedge
and sharpened boughs of the inner abatis. Strive as they might
they could not force their way through this under the terrible
fire that rained on them in front and flank from the angles of
the breast-work; and after an hour's struggle they fell back,
exclaiming that the position was impregnable. Reports were sent
to Abercromby, who throughout the action had never moved from the
saw-mills, two miles away, and for all answer there came back the
simple order to attack again.

And then came such a scene as had not been witnessed since
Malplaquet nor was to be seen again till Badajoz. The men stormed
forward anew, furious with rage and heedless of bullets or
grape-shot, through the network of trunks and boughs against their
invisible enemy. Behind the breast-work the French were cheering
loudly, hoisting their hats occasionally above the parapet and
laughing when they were blown to pieces, but pouring in always
a deadly and unquenchable fire; while the British struggled on,
grimed with sweat and smoke, vowing that they would have that
wooden wall at any cost. The Highlanders broke loose from the
reserve with claymores drawn and slashed their way through the
branches to the breast-work, and the British rushed after them to
its foot but could advance no further. They had no ladders, and
as fast as they hoisted one another to the top of the breast-work
they were shot down. Montcalm, cool and collected, moved to and fro
among his men in his shirt-sleeves, always at the point of greatest
danger, to cheer them and keep them to the fight. The French fire
was appalling in its destruction. Men who had passed through the
ordeal of Fontenoy declared that it was child's play compared with
Ticonderoga. Nevertheless not once only, but thrice more, the
British and the Americans with them hurled themselves desperately
against the French stronghold, only to be beaten back time after
time, until the inner abatis was hung with wisps of scarlet, like
poppies that grow through a hedge of thorn, some swaying with the
contortions that told of living agony, some limp and still in the
merciful stillness of death. The fight had endured for five hours,
when some officer of more intelligence than his fellows formed
two columns and made a fifth attack upon the extreme right of
the French position. The men hewed their way to the breast-work,
and for a time the fate of this unequal day hung trembling in
the balance. Montcalm hurried to the threatened quarter with
his reserves, but only by desperate exertion held his own, for
the Highlanders fought with a fury that would yield neither to
discipline nor to death. Captain John Campbell and a few of his men
actually scaled the wooden wall and dropped down within it, but
only to be pierced at once by a score of bayonets. Finally at six
o'clock a last attack was delivered, as heroic, as hopeless, and
as fruitless as the rest; and then the order was given to retreat.
The Highlanders were with the greatest difficulty forced away from
their fallen comrades, and under cover of the skirmishers' fire the
British withdrew, shattered, exhausted, and demoralised.

And then came one of those strange and dreadful scenes which
break an officer's heart. Hardly was the retreat sounded when the
very men who for six hours had faced the mouth of hell without
flinching were seized with panic and fled in wild disorder through
forest and swamp to the landing-place, leaving their arms, their
accoutrements, the very shoes from their feet to mark the track of
their flight. Fortunately Bradstreet and his armed boatmen mounted
guard over the boats and prevented the fugitives from setting
themselves afloat. Abercromby came up, as abject as the worst,
despatched orders for the wounded and the heavy artillery to be
sent back to New York, and followed himself so speedily with his
humiliated troops that he arrived at the head of Lake George before
his messenger. There he entrenched himself and sat still, while the
reckoning of his ignorance and folly was made up. Of the Provincial
troops three hundred and thirty-four had fallen before Ticonderoga;
of the seven British battalions no fewer than sixteen hundred. The
Forty-second lost close on five hundred men and officers killed and
wounded, the Forty-fourth and Forty-sixth each about two hundred,
the Fifty-fifth and the fourth battalion of the Sixtieth each about
one hundred and fifty, the Twenty-seventh and first battalion of
the Sixtieth each about a hundred. The loss of the French was
less than three hundred and fifty, and Montcalm might well praise
his gallant soldiers and hug himself over his victory, for he had
fended off attack on Canada for at least one year.

[Sidenote: August.]

The French General contented himself with strengthening the
defences of Ticonderoga and sending out parties of irregulars to
harass Abercromby's communications with Fort Edward. Abercromby
for his part remained throughout July and the first days of
August glued to his camp at the head of Lake George, losing many
men from dysentery but attempting nothing. At last he made over
to Bradstreet a force of twenty-five hundred men, Provincial
troops for the most part, and sent him to attack the French post
of Fort Frontenac, which guarded the outlet of Lake Ontario into
the St. Lawrence. The project was Bradstreet's own and had been
favourably regarded some time before by Loudoun; but it was only
under pressure of a council of war that Abercromby's assent to it
was wrung from him. Bradstreet accordingly dropped down to Albany,
and advanced by the Mohawk and Onandaga to the site of Oswego,
where he launched out on to the lake on the 22nd of August, and on
the 25th landed safely near Fort Frontenac. The French garrison
being little over one hundred strong could make small resistance,
and on the 27th surrendered as prisoners of war, leaving nine
vessels, which constituted the entire naval force of the French on
the lake, in Bradstreet's hands. The fort was dismantled, two of
the ships were carried off, the remainder were burned since there
was no fort at Oswego to protect them, and Bradstreet returned
triumphant to Albany. The service that he had rendered was of vast
importance. The command of Lake Ontario was lost to the French,
their communications north and south were severed, the alliance of
a number of wavering Indian tribes was secured for the British, and
Fort Duquêsne, the point against which Pitt had levelled his third
blow, was left isolated and alone.

Heartened by this success and by the news of Louisburg, Abercromby
began to write vaguely of a second attempt upon Ticonderoga[291]
as soon as Amherst should have reinforced him; but it was October
before the conqueror of Louisburg reached Lake George, and then
both commanders agreed that the season was too far spent for
further operations. The troops were accordingly sent into winter
quarters, and Canada was saved for another year. It now remains to
be seen how matters fared with Brigadier Forbes at Fort Duquêsne.

Forbes himself had arrived at Philadelphia early in April, to find
that no army was ready for him. The Provincial troops allotted to
him from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina had
not even been enlisted; Montgomery's Highlanders were in the south,
and only half of Colonel Bouquet's battalion of the Sixtieth was
within reach. It was the end of June before the various fractions
of his force were on march: and meanwhile the General was seized
with a dangerous and agonising internal disease, against which he
fought with a courage and resolution which was as admirable as it
was pathetic. Forbes's career had been somewhat singular. He hailed
from county Fife and had begun life as a medical student, but had
entered the Scots Greys as a cornet and had risen to command the
regiment. He had served in Flanders and Germany on the staff of
Stair, Ligonier, and General Campbell, and finally as Cumberland's
quartermaster-general.[292] But though all his training had been
in the old formal school he had recognised, as has been seen,
that in America he must learn a new art of war. He had studied
Braddock's failure, and had perceived that even if Braddock had
succeeded he must inevitably have retired from Fort Duquêsne from
want of supplies. Instead, therefore, of making one long march with
an unmanageable train of waggons, he decided to advance by short
stages, establishing fortified magazines at every forty miles, and
at last, when within reach of his destination, to march upon it
with his entire force and with as few encumbrances as possible.
This plan he had learned from a French treatise,[293] though he
might have gathered it from a study of Monk's campaign in the
Highlands had the opportunity been open to him. Nor was Bouquet, a
Swiss by nationality, less assiduous in thinking out new methods.
His views as to equipment have already been noticed; but knowing
the value of marksmanship in the woods, Bouquet obtained a certain
number of rifled carbines for his own battalion, and thus turned a
part of the Sixtieth into Riflemen before their time.[294] He also
introduced a new system of drill for work in the forest, forming
his men into small columns of two abreast which could deploy into
line in two minutes. Under such commanders the mistakes of Braddock
were not likely to be repeated.[295]

[Sidenote: July.]

Then came the question whether Braddock's route should be followed,
or a new but shorter line of advance from Pennsylvania. Virginia
was furiously jealous lest Pennsylvania should reap the advantage
of a direct road to the trading station on the Ohio, and Washington
was urgent in recommending the old road; but Forbes had no respect
for provincial squabbles and decided for Pennsylvania. He had
much difficulty in shaping the Provincials into soldiers, the
material delivered to him being of the rawest, and destitute of
the remotest idea of discipline. It was not till the beginning of
July that Bouquet with an advanced party encamped at Raystown, now
the town of Bedford, on the eastern slope of the Alleghanies, and
that Forbes was able to move to the frontier village of Carlisle
and thence to Shippensburg. There his illness increased, with
pain so excruciating that he was unable to advance farther until
September. Bouquet meanwhile pushed forward the construction of a
road over the Alleghanies with immense labour and under prodigious
difficulties. The wildness and desolation of the country seems
somewhat to have awed even the stern resolution of Forbes. "It is
an immense uninhabited wilderness," he wrote to Pitt, "overgrown
everywhere with trees or brushwood, so that nowhere can one
see twenty yards." Through this with its endless obstacles of
jungle, ravine, and swamp Bouquet's men worked their way. The
first fortified magazine had been made at Raystown and named Fort
Bedford; the next was to be on the western side of the main river
Alleghany at a stream called Loyalhannon Creek. Progress was
necessarily slow, but Forbes's advance was not made so leisurely
without an object. The French had collected a certain number of
Indians for the defence of Fort Duquêsne; but if the attack were
delayed it was tolerably certain that these fickle and unstable
allies would grow tired of waiting and disperse to their homes.
Forbes meanwhile lost no opportunity of conciliating these natives;
and by the efforts of his emissaries the most powerful tribes were
persuaded to join the side of the British, and scornfully to reject
the rival overtures of the French.

But at this critical time a rash exploit of one of Bouquet's
officers went near to wreck the whole enterprise. Major Grant of
the Highlanders entreated permission to go forward with a small
party to reconnoitre Fort Duquêsne, capture a few prisoners, and
strike some blow which might discourage and weaken the French.
Eight hundred men of the Highlanders, Sixtieth, and Provincial
troops were accordingly made over to him; so setting out with these
from Loyalhannon he arrived before dawn of the 14th of September at
a hill, since named Grant's hill, within half a mile of the fort.
With incredible rashness he scattered his force in all directions.
Leaving a fourth of his men to guard the baggage, he sent parties
out to right and left, took post himself two miles in advance of
the baggage with a hundred men, and sent an officer forward with
a company of Highlanders into the open plain to draw a map of the
fort. Finally, as if to call attention to his own folly, he ordered
_reveillé_ to be beaten with all possible parade. The French and
Indians at once swarmed out of the fort and drove all the parties
back in confusion upon one another. The Highlanders were seized
with panic at the yells of the Indians and took to their heels,
and but for the firmness of the Virginians of the baggage-guard
the whole force would probably have been cut to pieces. As it
was, nearly three hundred men were killed, wounded, or taken,
and Grant himself was among the prisoners. Forbes, who amid all
torments, troubles, and reverses preserved always a keen sense of
the ridiculous, declared that he could make nothing of the affair
except that his friend Grant had lost his wits; which indeed was a
concise and accurate summary of the whole proceeding.

[Sidenote: Nov. 18.]

[Sidenote: Nov. 25.]

But such paltry success could avail the French little, for
Bradstreet's capture of Fort Frontenac had already decided the fate
of Fort Duquêsne. The French commander, his supplies being cut off,
was obliged to dismiss the greater number of his men; otherwise
Forbes could hardly have penetrated to the Ohio in that year. The
elements fought for the French. Heavy rain ruined Bouquet's new
road; the horses being underfed and overworked kept breaking down
fast; the magazines at Raystown and Loyalhannon were emptied faster
than they could be replenished; and Forbes was in despair. All
through October the rain continued until at length it gave place
to snow, and the roads became a sea of mud over which retreat and
advance were alike impossible. At the beginning of November the
General, though now sick unto death, was carried to Loyalhannon,
where he decided that no attack could be attempted for that season.
Intelligence, however, was brought that the French were so weak
in numbers as to be defenceless; and on the 18th, twenty-five
hundred picked men marched off without tents or baggage, Forbes
himself travelling in a litter at their head. At midnight of the
24th the sentries heard the sound of a distant explosion, and on
the next day at dusk the troops reached the blackened ruins of
what had been Fort Duquêsne. The fortifications had been blown
up; barracks and store-houses were in ashes; there was no sign of
anything human except the heads of the Highlanders who had been
killed in Grant's engagement, stuck up on poles with their kilts
hung in derision round them. Their Highland comrades went mad
with rage at the sight; but the French and their allies were gone,
having evacuated and destroyed the fort and retired to the fort of
Venango farther up the Alleghany river. Forbes planted a stockade
around a cluster of huts that were still undestroyed, and named it
Pittsburg in honour of the minister. Arrangements were then made
for leaving a garrison of two hundred Provincials to hold the post,
for there could be no doubt that the French would collect a force
from Venango and Niagara to endeavour to retake it. The garrison
indeed was far too small, but there was not food enough for more;
so this handful of poor men was left perforce to make the best of
its solitude during the dreary days of the winter.

One duty still remained to be done before Forbes's column turned
homeward,--to search for the bones of those who had fallen with
Braddock. A party of Pennsylvanians made their way through
the forest to the Monongahela, Major Halket of Forbes's staff
accompanying them. Among the multitude of ghastly relics two
skeletons were found lying together under one tree. Halket
recognised the one by a peculiarity of the teeth as that of his
father, Sir Peter Halket of the Forty-fourth; and in the other he
thought that he saw his brother, who had fallen by his side. The
two were wrapped in a Highlander's plaid and buried in one grave,
under a volley fired by the Pennsylvanians. The rest of the remains
were buried together in one deep trench; and then at the beginning
of December the troops marched back to Pennsylvania with the dying
Forbes in their midst. With great difficulty the General was
brought still living to Philadelphia, where he lingered on through
the winter and died in the following March. Though no brilliant
action marked his advance to the Ohio he had accomplished his work
against endless difficulties and in extremity of bodily torture;
and that work was the taking from France of half of her Indian
allies, the relief of the western border from Pennsylvania to
Maryland from Indian raids, and the opening to the British of the
vast regions of the West.

So ended the American campaign of 1758. The French had been struck
hard on both flanks, at Louisburg in the north and on the Ohio in
the south, but in the centre they had held their own. Two parts
out of three of Pitt's design had been accomplished; but the
most important success of all was that achieved by Bradstreet in
severing the French communications at Fort Frontenac. It may be
that Pitt thought best to adhere to the plan of operations mapped
out for him by Loudoun, or it may be that he wished to retrieve the
reputation lost by Braddock's defeat; but the fact remains that
he meditated no attack on Niagara or Fort Frontenac, the capture
of either of which would have entailed that of Fort Duquêsne, and
that despite the industry of Bouquet and the tenacity of Forbes
the advance to the Ohio would have been impossible but for the
brilliant and successful enterprise of Bradstreet.

[Illustration: MONONGAHELA, July 8th 1755.


From a contemporary plan.]

[Illustration: THE REGION OF LAKE GEORGE, 1755.]

[Illustration: The Country round TICONDEROGA,

From a Sketch by Lieut. Meyer of the 60^{th} Reg.

  to face page 338


[Sidenote: 1757.]

[Sidenote: 1758.]

[Sidenote: Feb. 15.]

[Sidenote: March 31.]

The reader will probably have been struck during the narrative of
the American campaign of 1758 with the inferiority of the French
in numbers to the British at every point. The French colonies
were in fact allowed to take their chance, while French soldiers
were poured by the hundred thousand into Germany to avenge King
Frederick's sarcasm against Madame de Pompadour. A Pitt was hardly
needed to perceive that the more employment that could be found
for French armies in Europe, the fewer were the men which could
be spared for the service of France's possessions beyond sea; and
Pitt resolved accordingly to keep those armies fully occupied.
By the convention of Klosterzeven, as has already been told, it
was agreed that the Hanoverian army should be broken up; but even
before Cumberland's return to England, the question of repudiating
that convention had been broached, and a fortnight later a message
was despatched to Frederick announcing that the army would take the
field again, and requesting the services of Prince Ferdinand of
Brunswick as General-in-Chief. Frederick assented; and on the 24th
of November Ferdinand arrived at Stade, fresh from the victory of
Rossbach in which he had taken part three weeks before, to assume
the command. The whole aspect of affairs changed instantly, as if
by magic. Setting his force in motion at once Ferdinand by the end
of the year had driven the French back to the Aller, and renewing
operations after six weeks spent in winter-quarters pressed the
enemy still farther back, even across the Rhine.

[Sidenote: June 5.]

[Sidenote: June 7.]

[Sidenote: June 29.]

[Sidenote: July 1.]

It is said that even before Ferdinand had achieved this success
Pitt had resolved to reinforce him with British troops, but for
the present the minister reverted to his old plan of a descent
on the French coast, which might serve the purpose of diverting
French troops alike from America and from Germany. The first sign
of his intention was seen in April, when the officers of sixteen
battalions received orders to repair to the Isle of Wight by the
middle of May. Such long notice was a strange preliminary for a
secret expedition, for the troops themselves did not receive their
orders until the 20th of May; and it was the end of the month
before the whole of them, some thirteen thousand men,[296] were
encamped on the island. The Duke of Marlborough was selected for
the command, and, since his military talent was doubtful, Lord
George Sackville, whose ability was unquestioned, was appointed
as his second, with the duty of organising the whole of the
operations. Two squadrons, comprising twenty-four ships of the
line under Lord Anson, Sir Edward Hawke, and Commodore Howe, were
detailed to escort the transports, and on the 1st of June the
armament set sail, arriving on the 5th at Cancalle Bay, about eight
miles from St. Malo. A French battery, erected for the defence of
the bay, was quickly silenced by the ships, and on the following
day the entire army was landed. One brigade was left to guard the
landing-place, and the remainder of the force marched to St. Malo,
where the light dragoons under cover of night slipped down to the
harbour and burned over a hundred privateers and merchant-vessels.
The Duke of Marlborough then made dispositions as if for the siege
of St. Malo, but hearing that a superior force was on the march
to cut off his retreat, retired to Cancalle Bay, re-embarked the
troops, and sailed against Granville, a petty town some twenty
miles to north-east of St. Malo. Foul weather frustrated the
intended operations; and on the 27th the expedition arrived off
Havre de Grace. Preparations were made for landing, but after two
days of inactivity Marlborough decided against an attack, and the
fleet bore up for Cherbourg. There once more all was made ready for
disembarkation, but the weather was adverse, forage and provisions
began to fail, and the entire enterprise against the coast was
abandoned. So the costly armament returned to Portsmouth, having
effected absolutely nothing. It is, however, doubtful whether blame
can be attached to the officers, either naval or military, for the
failure. Pitt had procured no intelligence as to the dispositions
of the French for defence of the threatened ports; so that a
General might well hesitate to run the risk of landing, when he
could not tell how soon he might find himself cut off by a superior
force from the sea.

[Sidenote: June 23.]

[Sidenote: Aug. 21.]

Meanwhile Ferdinand following up his success had pursued the French
over the Rhine and gained a signal victory over them at Creveld.
This action appears to have hastened Pitt to a decision, for within
four days he announced to the British Commissary at Ferdinand's
headquarters the King's intention to reinforce the Prince with two
thousand British cavalry. The troops were warned for service on
the same day; but within three days it was decided to increase the
reinforcement to six thousand troops,[297] both horse and foot, and
a week later the force was further augmented by three battalions.
The first division of the troops was shipped off to Emden on
the 11th of July, and by the second week in August the entire
reinforcement had disembarked at the same port under command of the
Duke of Marlborough, joining Prince Ferdinand's army at Coesfeld
on the 21st.[298] There for the present we must leave them, till
the time comes for Ferdinand's operations to engage our whole
attention. Meanwhile the reader need bear in mind only that the
British Army is definitely committed to yet another theatre of war.

[Sidenote: August.]

Even so, however, Pitt remained unsatisfied without another stroke
against the French coast. While the troops were embarking for
Germany he had formed a new encampment on the Isle of Wight and
was intent upon a raid on Cherbourg. So intensely distasteful
were these expeditions to the officers of the Army that the Duke
of Marlborough and Lord George Sackville used their interest to
obtain appointment to the army in Germany, so as to be quit of them
once for all. The result was that when Lieutenant-General Bligh,
who had been originally selected to serve under Prince Ferdinand,
arrived in London from Ireland to sail for Emden, he found to his
dismay that his destination was changed, and that he must prepare
to embark for France. He accepted the command as in duty bound,
the more so since Prince Edward was to accompany the expedition,
but he was little fit for the service, having no qualification
except personal bravery and one great disqualification in advanced
age. Accordingly, obedient but unwilling, he set sail on the 1st
of August with twelve battalions[299] and nine troops of light
dragoons, escorted by a squadron under Commodore Howe. Not yet had
the gallant sailor learned of his succession to the title through
the fall of his brother Lord Howe at the head of Lake Champlain.

[Sidenote: Aug. 16.]

[Sidenote: September.]

The expedition began prosperously enough. The fleet arrived
before Cherbourg on the 6th and at once opened the bombardment
of the town. Early next morning it sailed to the bay of St.
Marais, two leagues from Cherbourg, where the Guards and the
grenadier-companies, having landed under the fire of the ships,
attacked and drove off a force of three thousand French which had
been drawn up to oppose them. The rest of the troops disembarked
without hindrance on the following day and advanced on Cherbourg,
which being unfortified to landward surrendered at once. Bligh
thereupon proceeded to destroy the docks and the defences of the
harbour and to burn the shipping, while the light cavalry scoured
the surrounding country and levied contributions. This done, the
troops were re-embarked; and after long delay owing to foul winds
the fleet came to anchor on the 3rd of September in the Bay of
St. Lunaire, some twelve miles east of St. Malo. There the troops
were again landed during the two following days, though not
without difficulty and the loss of several men drowned. Bligh's
instructions bade him carry on operations against Morlaix or any
other point on the coast that he might prefer to it, and he had
formed some vague design of storming St. Malo from the landward
side. This, however, was found to be impracticable with the force
at his disposal; and now there ensued an awkward complication.
The weather grew steadily worse, and Howe was obliged to warn the
General that the fleet must leave the dangerous anchorage at St.
Lunaire, and that it would be impossible for him to re-embark the
troops at any point nearer than the bay of St. Cast, a few miles
to westward. Accordingly he sailed for St. Cast, while Bligh, now
thrown absolutely on his own resources ashore, marched for the same
destination overland.

[Sidenote: Sept. 9.]

The army set out on the morning of the 7th of September, and after
some trouble with small parties of French on the march encamped
on the same evening near the river Equernon, intending to ford it
next morning. It speaks volumes for the incapacity of Bligh and of
his staff that the passage of the river was actually fixed for six
o'clock in the morning, though that was the hour of high water. It
was of course necessary to wait for the ebb-tide; so it was not
until three in the afternoon that the troops forded the river,
even then waist-deep, under a brisk fire from small parties of
French peasants and regular troops. Owing to the lateness of the
hour further advance on that day was impossible; and on resuming
the march on the following morning the advanced guard encountered
a body of about five hundred French troops. The enemy were driven
back with considerable loss, but their prisoners gave information
of the advance of at least ten thousand French from Brest. Arrived
at Matignon Bligh encamped and sent his engineers to reconnoitre
the beach at St. Cast in case he should be compelled to retreat.
Deserters who came in during the night reported that the French
were gathering additional forces from the adjacent garrisons; and
in the morning Bligh sent word to Howe that he intended to embark
on the following day.

[Sidenote: Sept. 11.]

Constant alarms during the night showed that the enemy was near at
hand; and it would have been thought that Bligh, having made up
his mind to retreat, would in so critical a position have retired
as swiftly and silently as possible. On the contrary, at three
o'clock on the morning of the 11th the drums beat the assembly as
usual, to give the French all the information that they desired;
while the troops moved off in a single column so as to consume the
longest possible time on the march. It was nine o'clock before the
embarkation began, and at eleven, when two-thirds of the force
had been shipped, the enemy appeared in force on the hills above
the beach. For some time the French were kept at a distance by
the guns of the fleet, but after an hour they found shelter and
opened a sharp and destructive fire. General Drury, who commanded
the rear-guard, consisting of fourteen hundred men of the Guards
and the grenadiers, was obliged to form his men across the beach
to cover the embarkation. Twice he drove back the enemy, but,
ammunition failing, he was forced back in turn, and there was
nothing left but a rush for the boats. The French bringing up their
artillery opened a furious fire; and all was confusion. So many of
the boats were destroyed that the sailors shrank from approaching
the shore and were only kept to their work by the personal
example of Howe. In all seven hundred and fifty officers and men
were killed and wounded, General Drury being among the slain, and
the rest of the rear-guard were taken prisoners. The fleet and
transports made their way back to England in no comfortable frame
of mind, for the French naturally magnified their success to the
utmost; and so ended Pitt's third venture against the coast of

There can be little doubt but that Bligh must be held responsible
for the failure. It should seem indeed that he was ignorant of
the elements of his duty, even to the enforcing of discipline
among the troops, who at the first landing near Cherbourg behaved
disgracefully. The Duke of Marlborough had met with the same
trouble at Cancalle Bay, but had had at least the strength to hang
a marauding soldier on the first day and so to restore order. But
after all Pitt was presumably responsible for the selection of
Bligh; or, if he was aware that he could not appoint the right man
for such a service, he would have done better to abandon these
raids on the French coast altogether. The conduct of Marlborough
and Sackville in shirking the duty because it was distasteful to
them does not appear commendable; but Sackville at any rate was
no fool, and Pitt might at least have recognised the military
objections that were raised against his plans. The truth of the
matter is, as Lord Cochrane was to prove fifty years later, that
sporadic attacks on the French coast are best left to the Navy; for
a single frigate under a daring and resolute officer can paralyse
more troops than an expedition of ten or fifteen thousand men,
with infinitely less risk and expense. Pitt had not yet done with
his favourite descents, but his next venture of the kind was to
be directed against an island instead of the mainland, when the
British fleet could interpose between his handful of battalions
and the whole population of France. Meanwhile Cherbourg had at any
rate been destroyed, so like a wise man the minister made the most
of this success, by sending some of the captured guns with great
parade through Hyde Park to the Tower.

[Sidenote: April 30.]

[Sidenote: Oct. 26.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 29.]

The operations already narrated of the year 1758 were of
considerable scope, embracing as they did the advance of three
separate armies in America, two raids on the French coast, and
the despatch of British troops to Germany; but these by no means
exhaust the tale. There were few quarters of the globe in which
the British had not to complain of French encroachment, and to
this insidious hostility Pitt had resolved to put a stop once for
all. Five years before, the merchants of Africa had denounced the
unfriendliness of the French on the Gambia, who were building
forts and stirring up the natives against them. The Royal African
Company also, with its monopoly of the slave-trade, was anxious
for its line of fortified depôts on the West Coast, and prayed to
be delivered from its troublesome neighbours at Senegal and in
the island of Goree.[300] One of Pitt's first actions in 1758 was
to order an expedition to be prepared against Senegal, a duty for
which two hundred marines and twenty-five gunners were deemed a
sufficient force. On the 23rd of April Captain Marsh of the Royal
Navy sailed into the Senegal river, and by the 30th Fort Louis
had surrendered and was flying the British flag. Two hundred men
of Talbot's regiment[301] were at once sent to garrison the new
possession, and then for some months there was a pause, while
the troops for Germany and Cherbourg were embarking for their
destinations. But no sooner was Bligh's expedition returned than
a new enterprise was set on foot, and Captain Keppel of the Royal
Navy received secret instructions to convoy Lieutenant-Colonel
Worge with Forbes's regiment[302] and two companies of the
Sixty-sixth to the West Coast.[303] Within three weeks the troops
were embarked at Kinsale, and by the 28th of December Keppel's
squadron was lying off Goree. On the following day the ships
opened fire on the French batteries, and at nightfall the island
surrendered, yielding up over three hundred prisoners and nearly an
hundred guns. So with little trouble were gained the West African
settlements of the French.

[Sidenote: 1759.]

[Sidenote: Jan. 13.]

[Sidenote: Jan. 15.]

But even before Keppel had received his instructions six more
battalions[304] were under orders for foreign service; and his
squadron had hardly sailed before another fleet of transports was
gathering at Portsmouth. Major-General Peregrine Hopson, who had
been Governor at Nova Scotia in the difficult years that preceded
the outbreak of war, was appointed to the chief command, and
Colonel Barrington, a junior officer, was, despite the honourable
protests of his brother, the Secretary-at-War, selected to be his
second. The expedition was delayed beyond the date fixed for its
departure by bad weather, but at length on the 12th of November the
transports, escorted by eight ships of the line under Commodore
Hughes, got under way and sailed with a fair wind to the west. On
the 3rd of January 1759 they reached Barbados, the time-honoured
base of all British operations in the West Indies, and there was
Commodore Moore waiting with two more ships of the line to join
them and to take command of the fleet. After ten days' stay they
again sailed away north-westward before the trade-wind. Astern
of them the mountains of St. Vincent hung distant like a faint
blue cloud; ahead of them two tall peaks, shaped like gigantic
sugar-loaves, rose higher and higher from the sea, and marked the
southern end of St. Lucia. Then St. Lucia came abeam, a rugged mass
of volcanic mountains shrouded heavily in tropical forest, and
another island rose up broad and blue not many leagues ahead, an
island which the men crowded forward to see, for they were told
that it was Martinique. Still the fleet held on; St. Lucia was left
astern and Martinique loomed up larger and bolder ahead; then an
islet like a pyramid was passed on the starboard hand, the Diamond
Rock, not yet His Majesty's Ship; a little farther and the fleet
was under the lee of the island; yet a little farther and the land
shrank back to eastward into a deep inlet ringed about by lofty
volcanic hills, and a few useless cannon-shot from a rocky islet
near the entrance proclaimed that the French were ready for them in
the Bay of Fort Royal.[305]

[Sidenote: Jan. 16.]

[Sidenote: Jan. 17.]

The ships lay off the bay until the next day, while Hopson thought
out his plan of operations. The town and fortress of Fort Royal
lies well within the bay on the northern shore, so Negro Point,
which marks the entrance to the harbour to the north, was the
spot selected for the landing. The ships next morning stood in
and silenced two small batteries mounted at the Point, and in the
afternoon the troops landed unopposed in a small bay adjacent to
it. A camping ground was chosen in the only open space that could
be found, between two ravines, and there the army passed the night
formed up in square, to be ready against any sudden attack. At dawn
of the next morning shots were heard, and the outposts reported
that the enemy was advancing and entrenching a house close to the
British position. The grenadiers were sent forward to dislodge
them, and a smart skirmish ended in the retreat of the French.
Hopson would fain have pushed more of his men into action, but
the jungle was so dense that they could find no enemy. "Never was
such a country," wrote the General plaintively, "the Highlands of
Scotland for woods, mountains, and continued ravines are nothing
to it."[306] As it was plainly out of the question to attempt to
drag the heavy artillery before Fort Royal over such a country, it
was decided to re-embark the troops forthwith. Nearly one hundred
men had been killed and wounded in the morning's skirmish, but the
embarkation was accomplished without further loss.

[Sidenote: Jan. 18.]

On the following day the fleet coasted the island northward and by
evening lay off St. Pierre, the second town in Martinique, which
stood nestling in a little plain at the head of a shallow bay. The
men-of-war stood in on the next morning to observe the defences of
the place, and the fire of the French batteries from the heights
to right and left soon convinced the Commodore that the town could
not be taken without such damage to his ships as would disable them
for further service. It was therefore resolved that Martinique
should for the present be left alone, and that the expedition
should proceed to Guadeloupe, which was not only the richest of
the French Islands but the principal nest of French privateers in
the West Indies. So the fleet steered northward once more past
Dominica, where the white flag of the Bourbons yet floated over the
fort of Roseau; while a single ship was sent forward with the chief
military engineer on board to reconnoitre the town of Basseterre,
which lies on the western or leeward coast a few miles to north of
the most southerly point of Guadeloupe.

[Sidenote: Jan. 23.]

[Sidenote: Jan. 24.]

[Sidenote: Jan.]

The engineer returned with no very encouraging report. The town
though lying on an open roadstead was well fortified, and all the
approaches to it along the coast were well protected, while the
fort of Basseterre, situated on a lofty eminence at the southern
end, was declared to be impregnable by the attack of ships alone.
Moore, however, was resolute that the town could and should be
taken, and at ten o'clock on the morning of the 23rd the ships
of the line and bomb-ketches opened a heavy fire on the fort and
batteries. In a few hours the town, crammed with the sugar and
rum of the past harvest, was burning furiously, and by nightfall
every battery was silenced and the town was a heap of blackened
ruins. At dawn of the morrow the troops were landed, to find the
elaborate lines of defence inland deserted and every gun spiked,
while desultory shots from among the sugar-canes alone told of
the presence of the enemy. The army encamped in Basseterre, but
the firing from the cane-fields increased, and picquets and
advanced posts were harassed to death by incessant alarms and
petty attacks. Hopson sent a summons to the French Governor to
surrender, but received only an answer of defiance. The Governor
had in fact withdrawn his force some six miles from Basseterre to
an impregnable position such as can be found only in a rugged,
mountainous and untamed country. Each flank was covered by
inaccessible hills clothed with impenetrable forest; in his front
ran the river Galeon with high and precipitous banks, and beyond
the river a gully so steep and sheer that the French themselves
used ladders to cross it. The position was further strengthened by
entrenchments and cannon. To attack it in front was impossible.
The only practicable access was by a narrow road which led through
dense forest upon one flank; and this was most carefully guarded.
Here therefore the French commander lay, refusing to come to action
but sending out small parties to worry the British outposts, in the
hope that the climate would do the work of repelling his enemy for

[Sidenote: Feb. 14.]

Nor was he without good ground for such hope; for Hopson was
in great doubt whether it would not be more expedient for him
to re-embark. His own health was failing rapidly, and the men
were beginning to fall down fast under the incessant work at the
advanced posts and the fatigue of carrying provisions to them.
From the day of landing it had been found necessary to push these
advanced posts farther and farther inland and to make them stronger
and stronger, until at last they embraced a circuit of fully three
miles. By the end of January the men on the sick list numbered
fifteen hundred, or fully a quarter of the force. Hopson sent six
hundred invalids to Antigua in the hope of saving at least some
of them, but therewith his efforts came to an end, nor could all
the representations of Barrington stimulate him to further action.
Yet new operations were by no means difficult either of conception
or of execution. Guadeloupe is in reality not one island but two,
being divided by a narrow strait known as the Salt River. It is
very much of the shape of a butterfly with wings outspread, flying
south; the western wing being known as Guadeloupe proper and the
eastern as Grande Terre, while the Salt River runs in the place
of the butterfly's body. Grande Terre, the most fertile part of
the island, still lay open to attack, with an excellent harbour at
Point à Pitre, of which the principal defence, Fort Louis, could be
reached by the cannon of ships. Moore being fortunately independent
of Hopson in respect of naval operations, sent ships round to Fort
Louis, which speedily battered it into surrender, and installed
therein a garrison of three hundred Highlanders and Marines. But
even with this new base secured to him Hopson declined to move. He
was indeed sick unto death, and on the 27th of February he died,
leaving the command to devolve on Barrington.

[Sidenote: March 6.]

[Sidenote: March 11.]

[Sidenote: March.]

His death came none too soon, for the force was on the brink of
destruction. The number of the dead cannot be ascertained, but over
and above the six hundred invalids sent to Antigua there were more
than sixteen hundred men on the sick list, and the remainder were
succumbing so fast that sufficient men could hardly be found to
do the daily duty. Barrington resolved to close this fatal period
of inaction at once. The defences of the fort of Basseterre had
already been repaired and rendered safe against attack, so the
Sixty-third regiment was left to hold it while the remainder of
the troops were embarked on board the transports. After five days
of weary beating against the trade-wind a portion of the ships
came to anchor before Fort Louis; but more than half of them had
fallen to leeward. The next day was spent by Barrington in an open
boat reconnoitring the coast, but on his return in the evening he
was met by the bad news that a French squadron had been sighted
to northward of Barbados and that Moore felt bound to fall back
with his own squadron to Prince Rupert's Bay, Dominica, in order
to cover Basseterre and the British Leeward Islands. Finally, as
sickness had wrought little less havoc in the fleet than in the
army, the Commodore begged for troops to make up the complement of
his crews.

Few situations could have been more embarrassing than that in
which Barrington now found himself. He loyally gave Moore three
hundred soldiers for his ships, and watched the fleet on which his
communications depended vanish from sight. Nearly if not quite
half of his force had perished or was unfit for duty; while of the
rest a part was isolated in Basseterre and fully one moiety was
at sea, striving to beat into Point à Pitre. Fort Louis, the only
strong position in which he could hope to wait in safety, was found
to be untenable; and the French were already preparing to besiege
it. Yet with a resolution which stamps him as no common man, he
resolved despite all difficulties to begin offensive operations at
once. He had at any rate transports though he had no men-of-war,
and he resolved to use them; his plan being, if he failed to bring
the enemy to action, to ravage the whole island and reduce it by
starvation. The cultivated land in such a confusion of mountains
could lie only in the valleys, and the settlements must needs
lie at the mouths of those valleys where there was communication
with other parts of the island by sea or by roads that followed
the coast. The French had raised abundance of batteries and
entrenchments to protect these settlements, but such multiplicity
of defences necessarily implied dispersion of force. Barrington's
troops, few though they might be, were at any rate to some extent
concentrated; and it was in his power to embark men sufficient to
overwhelm any one of these isolated settlements, and so to break up
the defences in detail. The operations were not in fact difficult
when once a man had thought out the method of conducting them, but
it was precisely in this matter of thought that Hopson had failed.

[Sidenote: March 27.]

[Sidenote: March 29.]

A fortnight was occupied in strengthening the defences of Port
Louis; and on the 27th of March six hundred men were embarked
under command of Colonel Crump and sent off to the south coast of
Grande Terre, with orders to land between the towns of St. Anne and
St. François, destroy both of them and ruin the batteries erected
for their protection. Crump, an excellent officer, performed this
duty punctually and with little loss; and on the 29th Barrington,
guessing that the French would certainly have detached some of
their troops from Gosier, a port a few miles to westward of St.
Anne, sailed with three hundred men against it, and at dawn fell
upon the enemy in their entrenchments. The troops, eager for work
after long inaction, attacked with great spirit, drove the enemy
out with little difficulty and slight loss, and then prepared to
force their way back to Fort Louis by land. Barrington had ordered
two separate sallies to be made by the garrison upon the lines
erected by the French against the fort, but owing to some mistake
one only was delivered. Nevertheless his own little detachment did
the work unaided, captured a battery of twenty-four pounders which
had been planted by the enemy to open on the fort on the next day,
and returned to its quarters triumphant.

[Sidenote: April 12.]

[Sidenote: April 13.]

By this time the missing transports had succeeded in working
into Point à Pitre; but to countervail this advantage there came
news from Basseterre that the colonel in command, a valuable
officer, had been killed, together with one or two of his men, by
an accidental explosion, and that the French were constructing
batteries to bombard the fort. Barrington appointed a new
commander, with orders to sally forth and capture these batteries
without more ado; and the task, since he had chosen the right men
to execute it, was performed with little trouble or loss. Moreover,
having now ruined the most important settlements in Grande Terre he
resolved to apply the same principles of warfare to Guadeloupe.
Accordingly on the 12th of April Brigadier Clavering, with
thirteen hundred men and six guns, was sent off to a bay close to
Arnouville,[307] where they landed unopposed, the enemy retiring
to a strong position in rear of the river Licorne. This position
was all-important to the French since it covered Mahault Bay, which
was the port by which the Dutch supplied Guadeloupe with provisions
from the island of St. Eustatia. It was so strong by nature that
it needed little fortification by art; access to the river being
barred by a mangrove swamp, across which there were but two
narrow approaches, both of them protected by redoubts, palisaded
entrenchments, and cannon. None the less Clavering determined
to attack. Covered by a heavy fire of artillery the Fourth and
Forty-second advanced against the French left, firing by platoons
as coolly as if on parade, till the Highlanders drawing their
claymores made a rush, and the Fourth dashing forward with the
bayonet drove the French from the redoubt. Then pushing round to
the rear of the entrenchments on the French right they forced the
enemy to evacuate them also, and captured seventy prisoners. The
French then retreated southward, setting fire to the cane-fields as
they passed in order to check the British pursuit, and took post
behind the river Lezarde, breaking down the bridge behind them. It
was too late for Clavering to attack them on that day, for the only
ford on the river was protected by a redoubt and four guns; but
keeping up a fire of artillery all night in order to distract the
enemy's attention, he passed a party in a canoe across the river
below the position of the French, who no sooner saw their right
flank turned than they retired with precipitation, abandoning all
their guns. Following the coast southward to Petit Bourg, where
they had prepared fortified lines and armed redoubts, the French
again tried to make a stand; but Barrington had sent a bomb-vessel
to await them off the coast, which opened fire with shell and drove
them back once more, before they could withdraw their guns from the

[Sidenote: April 14.]

[Sidenote: April 18.]

[Sidenote: April 19.]

[Sidenote: May 1.]

Then and not till then did Clavering grant his men a halt after
their hard work under the tropical sun; but on the 15th he was
in motion again, and a detachment of a hundred men was sent to
capture the next battery to southward at the town of Gouyave. The
French, now thoroughly disheartened, waited only to fire one shot
and then fled, leaving seven guns behind them, when the British
having spiked the cannon retired to Petit Bourg. On the same day
Colonel Crump was sent with seven hundred men to Mahault Bay,
where he found the French defences abandoned. Having destroyed
them, together with a vast quantity of stores, he marched to join
Clavering at Petit Bourg and to help in the work of desolating
the country round it. Heavy rain suspended operations during the
two following days; but on the 18th the entire force, excepting
a garrison of two hundred and fifty men which was left at Petit
Bourg, renewed the advance southward upon St. Maries, where all the
French troops in the island were assembled to oppose it. The French
position was as usual strongly entrenched, but the paths that led
to rear of it, being judged impassable, were left unguarded. A
detachment was therefore sent to turn the entrenchments by these
paths, and the artillery was hastened up to the front; but the guns
had hardly opened fire when the French, perceiving the movement
in their rear, deserted their fortifications and fled to another
entrenched position on the heights beyond St. Maries. The British
pursued; and, while the ground was clearing for the artillery to
come into action, part of the infantry tried to force a way through
the forest and precipices on the flank of the earthworks. The
French, weary of finding position after position turned, left their
fortified lines to meet this attack, whereupon Clavering instantly
launched the remainder of his troops straight at the lines, and
despite a heavy fire of artillery and musketry swept the enemy out
of this last refuge. On the morrow the army entered the district of
Capesterre, reputed the richest in the whole of the West Indies;
and the inhabitants, dreading lest it should be overtaken by the
fate of the rest, came and begged for terms. A capitulation was
therefore granted on liberal conditions, and Guadeloupe, one of the
wealthiest of the Antilles, with a harbour large enough to shelter
the whole Navy of England from hurricanes, passed for the present
to the Crown of Britain.

[Sidenote: May 26.]

The surrender came in the nick of time, for the ink of the
signatures was hardly dry when news came of the arrival of
General Beauharnais from Martinique with six hundred French
regular troops and two thousand buccaneers. A day earlier this
reinforcement would have saved Guadeloupe; but on hearing of
the capitulation Beauharnais re-embarked his troops and sailed
away. Nothing therefore remained for Barrington but to settle
the administration, fortify the harbour, and leave a sufficient
garrison to hold it. The island of Mariegalante, which had not
been included in the capitulation, made some show of defiance but
surrendered on the first display of force. Crump was installed
as Governor; the Fourth, Sixty-third, and Sixty-fifth were left
with him; the Thirty-eighth returned to its old quarters in the
Leeward Islands, the Highlanders were shipped off to America, and
in June Barrington, with the remnant of the Buffs, Sixty-first, and
Sixty-fourth, returned to England.

So ended the campaign of Guadeloupe. The story is one which is
little known, and the name of John Barrington is one of which
few have heard; yet surely the achievements of himself and of
his troops are such as should not be forgotten. Barrington took
over from Hopson an army weakened by sickness, worn to death by
defensive warfare of the most harassing kind, and disheartened by
the consciousness that it was working to no purpose. He at once
shifted his base for more active operations, only to find, to his
great mortification, half of his force literally at sea, and the
fleet taken from him for other duty. Yet he went to work at once;
and knowing that he could not take the island by force reduced it
to submission by cutting off and destroying its supplies. I have
not hesitated to describe the petty engagements which followed,
since there was not one which did not show forethought in the
planning and skill in the execution. It is true that the French
regular troops on the island were few, and that the enemy which
deserted its entrenchments so readily was made up mainly of raw
militia and armed civilians; but they never fought except in a
strong position protected by artillery. It is true also that the
actual work in the field was done by Crump and Clavering, two
excellent officers, for Barrington was so much crippled by gout
that he could hardly leave Fort Louis. Nevertheless the whole
scheme of operations was Barrington's, and no man more cordially
acknowledged the fact than Clavering himself. The number of the
British killed and wounded in action is unfortunately not to be
ascertained, but judging by the casualties of the officers, of whom
eleven were killed and twenty-one wounded, it was not very great.
But it is not lead and steel that are most fatal in a tropical
expedition, and it is not in killed and wounded that its cost must
be reckoned. The island had been conquered, but the climate had
not; and the climate took its revenge. By the close of the seven
months that remained of the year 1759 nearly eight hundred officers
and men of the garrison had found their graves in Guadeloupe.

  AUTHORITIES.--For the expeditions to Cancalle Bay and Cherbourg,
  see _Account by an officer of the late expedition_. Entick also
  gives details from the official documents. For the operations at
  Goree, see _State Papers_ (Record Office), _C. O., Col. Corres._,
  Sierra Leone, 2, 3. For Guadeloupe, see _State Papers, C. O._,
  America and West Indies, 100, 101; W. O., _Orig. Corres._, 26.
  Entick again gives a confused statement.


[Sidenote: 1758.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 1.]

It was late in November before Parliament reassembled, and
listened to a speech from the throne, jubilant over the captures
of Louisburg, Fort Frontenac, and Senegal, but modestly deploring
the inevitable expense of the war. The Commons, however, were
practically unanimous in allowing a free hand to Pitt, though the
minister himself was startled when he was brought face to face with
the estimates. Those for the Army were introduced a week later,
and showed but a slight increase in the British Establishment,
the total number of men not exceeding eighty-five thousand. Yet
the main operations of the coming year were to be conducted on
a grander scale than before, while at the same time provision
was needed to make good the enormous waste caused by tropical
expeditions. Two new regiments only were formed before the actual
opening of the operations of 1759, one of them, Colonel Eyre
Coote's,[308] serving as a reminder that concurrently with all
other enterprises there was progressing the struggle, which shall
presently be narrated, for the mastery of the East Indies.

[Sidenote: 1759.]

Pitt's principal effort, as in the previous year, was directed
against Canada, and the operations prescribed were little less
complicated than those of the last campaign. In the first place a
direct attack was to be made upon Quebec, for which purpose Amherst
was to make over ten battalions to General Wolfe. In the second,
the attempt to penetrate into Canada by way of Ticonderoga and
Crown Point was to be renewed. Amherst himself was to take this
duty upon him, Abercromby having been rightly recalled; and it
was hoped that he might join Wolfe in the capital of Canada or at
least make a powerful diversion in his favour. At the same time
Amherst was ordered to secure Oswego and Pittsburg, and empowered
to undertake any further operations that he pleased, without
prejudice to the main objects of the campaign. The General having
already twenty-three battalions of the King's troops in America,
it was reckoned that, with the regiments to be forwarded to him
from the West Indies by Hopson, he would possess a sufficient force
for the work. No fresh battalions therefore were sent to him from

The selection of James Wolfe for the command of the expedition
against Quebec came as a surprise to many. He was now thirty-two
years of age, and had held a commission ever since he was
fourteen, attaining the rank of captain at seventeen and of major
at twenty. He had served in Flanders and distinguished himself
as brigade-major at Lauffeld, but it was as Lieutenant-Colonel
in command of the Twentieth Foot that he had shown himself most
competent. He was an admirable regimental officer, enthusiastic
over his profession and well acquainted with its duties, a stern
disciplinarian yet devoted to his men, and a refined and educated
gentleman. In short he was a commanding officer who could be
trusted to raise the tone of any corps.[310] He had attracted
Pitt's notice by his constant though fruitless advocacy of action
in the abortive descent on Rochefort in 1757, and had come
prominently before the public eye by his behaviour at Louisburg.
His relations with Amherst, however, appear not to have been
very friendly, nor to have been improved by his return home from
Cape Breton in 1758; indeed Wolfe was reprimanded as soon as he
arrived in England for returning without the King's orders, under
misconception of his letter of service.[311] It was possibly
under the sting of this censure that he wrote to Pitt declaring
his readiness to serve in America and "particularly in the river
St. Lawrence"; but be that as it may he received the appointment.
There is an anecdote that he filled the great minister with dismay
by some extraordinary gasconnade at a dinner to which he had been
invited shortly before his departure; but even if, in a moment of
elation,[312] he may have given way to excited talk for a time, yet
such outbursts were not usual with him, for he was the quietest
and most modest of men. The real objection to his appointment was
the state of his health. He had never been strong and was a martyr
to rheumatism and stone, but he was as courageous against pain
as against the bullets of the enemy; in fact, like King William
the Third, he was never so happy as when under fire. For the rest
nature had cursed him with a countenance of singular ugliness, his
portraits showing a profile that runs in a ridiculous curve from
the forehead to the tip of the nose, and recedes in as ridiculous
a curve from the nose to the neck. A shock of red hair tied in a
queue, and a tall, lank, ungainly figure added neither grace nor
beauty to his appearance; but within that unhandsome frame lay a
passionate attachment to the British soldier, and an indomitable
spirit against difficulty and danger.

[Sidenote: February.]

[Sidenote: May.]

It was the middle of February when Wolfe sailed from England in
H.M.S. _Neptune_, the flag-ship of a fleet of twenty-one sail
under Admirals Saunders, Holmes, and Durell. The voyage was long
and tedious, and when at last Louisburg was reached the harbour
was found to be blocked with ice, so that the fleet was obliged to
make for Halifax. From thence Durell was detached, too late as was
presently proved, to the mouth of the St. Lawrence to intercept
certain transports that were expected with supplies from France;
Holmes was sent to convoy the troops that were to sail from New
York; and in May the entire armament for the reduction of Quebec
was assembled at Louisburg. Wolfe had been led to expect a force
of twelve thousand men; but the regiments which should have been
detached from Guadeloupe could not yet be spared, and those drawn
from the garrisons of Nova Scotia had been reduced considerably
beneath their proper strength by sickness during the winter. The
quality of the troops, however, was excellent, and on this Wolfe
counted to make good a serious numerical deficiency. The force
was distributed into three brigades, under Brigadiers Monckton,
Townsend, and Murray, all three of them men of youth, energy,
and talent, well qualified to serve under such a commander as
Wolfe.[313] The grenadiers of the army were, as had now become
usual, massed together and organised in two divisions, those of the
regiments in garrison at Louisburg being known as the Louisburg
grenadiers.[314] Another separate corps was composed of the best
marksmen in the several regiments, and was called the Light
Infantry, while six companies of Provincial rangers furnished a
proportion of irregular troops. The whole strength of the force
was thus brought up to about eight thousand five hundred men. A
fortnight sufficed for the final arrangements, for Amherst and his
staff had spared no pains to provide all that was necessary;[315]
and on the 6th of June the last division of transports, amid a
roar of cheering from the men, sailed out of Louisburg for the St.

The French commanders meanwhile had been anxiously making their
preparations for defence. There could be no doubt that the
British would make at least a double attack upon Canada, from
Lake Champlain on the south and Lake Ontario on the west, and
every able-bodied man in the colony was called out to repel it.
No sooner had the dispositions been settled than news came of
the intended advance by the St. Lawrence, which threw the whole
colony into consternation. Five regular battalions and the militia
from every part of Canada were summoned, together with a thousand
Indians, to Quebec; and after much debate Montcalm, who held the
command of the troops under the Governor of the city, decided on
his scheme of defence. Quebec with its fortifications stands on
the north bank of the St. Lawrence, being situated on a rocky
headland which marks the contraction of the river from a width
of fifteen or twenty miles to a strait scarcely exceeding one.
Immediately to northward of this ridge the river St. Charles flows
down to the St. Lawrence; and seven miles to eastward of the St.
Charles the shore is cut by the rocky gorge through which pours the
cataract of the Montmorenci. It was between these two streams that
Montcalm disposed his army, his right resting on the St. Charles,
his left on the Montmorenci, with his headquarters on the little
river of Beauport midway between the two, and his front to the
St. Lawrence. All along the border of the great river were thrown
up entrenchments, batteries, and redoubts. From Montmorenci to
Beauport abrupt and rocky heights raised these defences too high
above the water to be reached by the cannon of ships. From Beauport
to the St. Charles stretched broad flats of mud, which were
commanded by batteries both afloat and ashore, as well as by the
guns of Quebec. On the walls of the city itself were mounted over
one hundred cannon; a bridge of boats with a strong bridge-head
on the eastern side preserved the communication between city
and camp; and for the defence of the river itself there was a
floating battery of twelve heavy guns besides several gun-boats and
fire-ships. The vessels of the convoy that Durell had failed to
intercept, together with the frigates that escorted them, were sent
up the river beyond Quebec to be out of harm's way; and the sailors
were taken to man the batteries ashore. Thus strongly entrenched
with fourteen thousand men of one description and another, and
firm in the belief that no foreign ship would dare to attempt the
intricate navigation of the St. Lawrence, Montcalm waited for the
British to come.

[Sidenote: June.]

It was not until the 21st of June that the first mast-heads of the
fleet were seen. For days the British had been groping their way
up the river, helped partly by a captured Canadian pilot, more
often by their own skill and experience. "Damn me if there are
not a thousand places in the Thames fifty times more hazardous
than this," growled an old skipper on one of the transports, as he
waived the pilot contemptuously aside. So the great fleet crept up
the stream, ships of the line passing where the French had feared
to take a coasting schooner, and at last on the 26th of June the
whole was anchored safely off the southern shore of the Isle of
Orleans, a few miles below Quebec. No single mishap had marred this
masterly and superb feat of pilotage.

[Sidenote: June 27.]

[Sidenote: June 28.]

[Sidenote: June 29.]

[Sidenote: July.]

The troops landed without resistance next day on the Isle of
Orleans, and on the same afternoon a sudden squall drove many of
the ships ashore and destroyed several of the flat-boats prepared
for the disembarkation. The storm raised high hopes of providential
deliverance in the French, which, however, were speedily dashed,
for the tempest subsided as suddenly as it had arisen. On the
morrow therefore the Governor of Quebec resolved to launch his
fire-ships down the river upon the fleet. The attempt was duly
made, but the ships were ill-handled and the service ill-executed.
The British sailors coolly rowed out, grappled the burning vessels
and towed them ashore, while the troops, formed up in order of
battle, gazed at the most imposing display of fireworks that they
had ever seen. Meanwhile Wolfe reconnoitred the French lines and
the city, but could see no possible opening for a successful
attack. One thing alone seemed feasible, to occupy the heights
of Point Lévis over against Quebec on the southern shore, and to
fire across this, the narrowest part of the river, upon the city.
Monckton's brigade accordingly entrenched itself on these heights,
threw up batteries, and on the 12th of July opened a fire which
wrought havoc among the buildings of Quebec. But however this
cannonade might afflict the nerves of the inhabitants, it could
contribute little, as Wolfe well knew, to advance the real work in

Accordingly, while the batteries on Point Lévis were constructing,
the English General resolved to see whether a vulnerable point
could be found on Montcalm's left flank. On the 8th of July,
leaving a detachment to hold the camp on the Isle of Orleans, he
sent Townsend's and Murray's brigades across to the northern bank
of the St. Lawrence, where they proceeded to entrench themselves
on the eastern side of the Montmorenci. The movement was highly
perilous, since it divided his force into three portions, no one
of which could support the other; but the French kept themselves
rigidly on the defensive, though the British lay but a gunshot
from them across the rocky gorge of the Montmorenci and annoyed
their camp not a little with their artillery. Still Wolfe could
accomplish nothing decisive. The news that Amherst was advancing
against Ticonderoga did indeed discourage the Canadians and
increase desertion among them; but in all other respects the
operations before Quebec had come to a deadlock.

[Sidenote: July 18.]

[Sidenote: July 28.]

Now, however, the fleet which had already vanquished the
difficulties in the navigation of the St. Lawrence once more came
forward to show the way. It was the opinion of the French that no
vessel could pass the batteries of Quebec without destruction; but
on the night of the 18th of July H.M.S. _Sutherland_, of fifty
guns, with several smaller vessels, sailed safely up the river,
covered by the fire of the guns on Point Lévis, destroyed some
small craft which they found there and anchored above the town.
This was the first menace of an attempt to take Quebec in reverse,
and obliged Montcalm to detach six hundred men from the camp of
Beauport to defend the few accessible points between the city and
Cap Rouge, some eight miles above it. Wolfe took advantage of
the movement also to send a detachment to ravage the country to
westward of Quebec; but though he thus added a fourth to the three
isolated divisions into which he had broken up his army, Montcalm
still declined to move. A second attempt was indeed made to destroy
the British vessels by fire-ships, which was frustrated like the
first by the coolness and gallantry of the British sailors; but
beyond this French aggression would not go. Montcalm was resolved
to play the part of Fabius, and he seemed likely to play it with

The season was now wearing on, and Wolfe was not a whit nearer
to his object than at his first disembarkation. Mortified by his
ill-success he now resolved to attack Montcalm's camp in front.
The hazard was desperate, for, after leaving troops to hold Point
Lévis and the entrenchments on the Montmorenci, he could raise
little more than five thousand men with which to attack a force
of more than double his strength in a very formidable position.
A mile to westward of the falls of the Montmorenci there is a
strand about a furlong wide at high water and half a mile wide
at low tide, between that river and the foot of the cliffs. The
French had built redoubts on this strand above high-water mark,
which were commanded, though Wolfe could not see it, by the fire
of musketry from the entrenchments above. Wolfe's hope was that by
the capture of one of these redoubts he might tempt the French down
to regain it and so bring on a general action, or at least find an
opportunity of reconnoitring the entrenched camp itself. Moreover,
below the falls of the Montmorenci was a ford, by which some at
least of his troops on that river could join in the attack, and so
diminish in some degree the disparity of numbers. But Wolfe held
the Canadian militia in such contempt that he was not afraid to pit
against them, at whatever odds, the valour of his own disciplined

[Sidenote: July 31.]

Accordingly on the morning of the 31st of July H.M.S. _Centurion_
stood in close to the Montmorenci, dropped her anchor and opened
fire on the redoubts. Two armed transports followed her and
likewise opened fire on the nearest redoubt, stranding as the tide
ebbed till at last they lay high and dry on the mud. Simultaneously
the batteries on the other side of the Montmorenci opened a furious
fire upon the flank of Montcalm's entrenchments, and at eleven
o'clock a number of boats filled with troops rowed across from
Point Lévis and hovered about the river opposite Beauport as if
to attack at that point. Time, however, showed Montcalm where
real danger was to be apprehended, and he concentrated the whole
of his twelve thousand men between Beauport and the Montmorenci.
At half-past five the British batteries afloat and ashore opened
fire with redoubled fury, and the boats made a dash for the shore.
Unfortunately some of them grounded on a ledge short of the flats,
which caused some confusion and delay, but eventually all of them
reached the strand and set the men ashore. Thirteen companies of
grenadiers were the first to land, and after them two hundred men
of the Sixtieth; while some distance behind them the Fifteenth
and Fraser's Highlanders followed in support. No sooner were they
ashore than the grenadiers, the most trusted troops in the army,
for some reason got out of hand. Despite the efforts of their
officers they would not wait for the supports to form up, but made
a rush in the greatest disorder and confusion for the redoubt and
drove the French from it. Instantly a tremendous fire was poured
upon them from the entrenchments above. The grenadiers recoiled
for a moment; then recovering themselves they ran forward again and
made a mad effort to struggle up the steep, slippery grass of the
ascent, but only to roll down by scores, killed or wounded by the
hail of musketry from the French lines. Where the affair would have
ended it is hard to say, had not the clouds of a summer's storm,
which had hung over the river all the afternoon, suddenly burst
just at that moment in a deluge of rain. All ammunition on both
sides was drenched, so that further firing became impossible, while
the grassy slope became so treacherous that it was hopeless to
attempt to climb it. Wolfe, seeing that everything was gone wrong,
ordered a retreat; and the troops fell back and re-embarked, the
grenadiers and Sixtieth having lost five hundred officers and men,
or well-nigh half of their numbers, in killed, wounded, and missing.

[Sidenote: August 5.]

Wolfe was highly indignant over the misbehaviour of the grenadiers,
and rebuked them sharply in general orders for their impetuous,
irregular, and unsoldierlike proceedings. The French, on the other
hand, were naturally much elated, and flattered themselves that
the campaign was virtually at an end. Nor was Wolfe of a very
different opinion. It is said, indeed, that he conceived the idea
of leaving a part of his troops in a fortified position before
Quebec, to be ready for a new attempt in the following spring.
Meanwhile for the present he fell back on the tactics, which
Barrington had so successfully employed at Guadeloupe, of laying
waste all the settlements round about Quebec, with the object of
provoking desertion among the militia and exhausting the colony
generally. Montcalm, however, was not to be enticed from his lines;
he had Indians with him sufficient to make hideous reprisals for
Wolfe's desolation, and Canada was not to be won by the burning
of villages. Wolfe, therefore, now shifted his operations to the
point whither the enterprise of the fleet had led him, above and
on the reverse side of Quebec. With every fair wind more and more
ships had braved the fire of the batteries and passed through it
in safety; and now a flotilla of flat-boats dared the same passage,
while twelve hundred men under Brigadier Murray marched overland
up the south bank of the St. Lawrence to do service in them. This
movement compelled Montcalm to withdraw another fifteen hundred men
from the camp at Beauport, to check any attempt at a landing above
the city. The duty thus imposed upon this small body of French was
most arduous, since it involved anxious watching of fifteen or
twenty miles of the shore. So well was it performed, however, under
the direction of Bougainville, an officer afterwards famous as the
great navigator, that it was only after two repulses that Murray
succeeded in burning a large magazine of French stores. The alarm
caused by this stroke was so great that Montcalm hastened from
Beauport to take command in person; but when he arrived the British
had already retired, content with their success.

None the less the French from the highest to the lowest now grew
seriously uneasy. Their army was on short rations. All its supplies
were drawn from the districts of Three Rivers and Montreal; and,
from want of transport overland, these were perforce sent down the
river where the British ships lay ready to intercept them. Now was
seen the error of sending the frigates up the river and allowing
the British squadron to assemble by small detachments above Quebec;
but it was too late to repair it. The British fleet had discovered
the true method of reducing the city by severing its communications
both above and below. The only hope for the French was that winter
might drive the shipping from the St. Lawrence and put an end to
the campaign, before Quebec should be starved out.

[Sidenote: June 15.]

[Sidenote: July.]

[Sidenote: July 24.]

Meanwhile Amherst's operations to south and west began likewise to
tell upon the situation. Taking advantage of the latitude allowed
to him by Pitt, he determined to add the reduction of Niagara
to the enterprises prescribed to him. This duty he assigned to
Brigadier Prideaux with five thousand men;[316] Brigadier Stanwix
was entrusted with the relief of Pittsburg; and Amherst in person
took charge of the grand advance by Lakes George and Champlain.
The operations of Prideaux and Stanwix were to be conducted in
combination; for it was intended that while Prideaux was engaged
with Niagara, Stanwix should push a force northward against the
French posts on Lake Erie, and thence on to Niagara itself, thus
releasing Prideaux for an advance to the St. Lawrence. Prideaux
was the first to take the field. His force having been assembled
on the Mohawk at Senectady, he moved up the stream, left a strong
garrison at Fort Stanwix to guard the Great Carrying-place, and
moved forward by Lake Oneida and the river Onandaga to Oswego.
There leaving nearly half of his force under Colonel Haldimand
to secure his retreat, he embarked with the rest on the lake for
Niagara. The fort stood in the angle formed by the river Niagara
and Lake Ontario, and was garrisoned by some six hundred men.
Prideaux at once laid siege in form, though the trenches were at
first so unskilfully laid out by the engineers as to require almost
total reconstruction. At last, however, the batteries opened fire.
Prideaux was unluckily killed almost immediately by the premature
explosion of a shell from one of his own guns, but Sir William
Johnson, who had joined the force with a party of Indians, took
command in his place and pushed the siege with great energy. The
fort after two or three weeks of battering was in extremity; when
a party of thirteen hundred French rangers and Indians, which had
been summoned from the work of harassing the British on the Ohio
to the relief of Niagara, appeared on the scene in the very nick
of time. Johnson rose worthily to the occasion. Leaving a third of
his force in the trenches and yet another third to guard his boats,
he sallied forth with the remainder to meet the relieving force,
and after a brisk engagement routed it completely. The survivors
fled hurriedly back to Lake Erie, burned Venango and the posts on
the lake and retired to Detroit. Niagara surrendered on the evening
of the same day, and thus were accomplished at a stroke the most
important objects to be gained by Stanwix and Prideaux. The whole
region of the Upper Ohio was left in undisputed possession of the
British, and the French posts of the West were hopelessly cut off
from Canada. Now, therefore, the ground was open for an advance
on Montreal by Lake Ontario; and Amherst lost no time in sending
General Gage to take command of Prideaux's force, with orders to
attack the French post of La Galette, at the head of the rapids of
the St. Lawrence, and thence to push on as close as possible to
Montreal. "Now is the time," wrote Amherst to him, "and we must
make use of it."[317]

[Sidenote: July 21.]

[Sidenote: July 26.]

[Sidenote: August.]

Amherst himself had assembled his army at the end of June at the
usual rendezvous by the head of Lake George. His force consisted
of about eleven thousand five hundred men, five thousand of them
Provincials and the remainder British.[318] As was now the rule,
he had massed the grenadiers of the army into one corps, and
had formed also a body of Light Infantry which he had equipped
appropriately for its work.[319] It was not, however, until the
21st of July that the troops were embarked, and that a flotilla
little less imposing than Abercromby's set sail with a fair wind
over Lake George. It was drawn up in four columns, the light
troops and Provincials on either flank, the regular troops in the
right centre and the artillery and baggage in the left centre.
An advanced and a rear-guard in line covered the head and tail
of the columns, and an armed sloop followed in rear of all.
Before dark they had reached the Narrows, and at daybreak of the
following morning the force disembarked and marched, meeting with
little resistance, by the route of Abercromby's second advance
to Ticonderoga. The entrenchments which had foiled the British
in the previous year had been reconstructed but were found to be
deserted; Bourlamaque, the French commander, having withdrawn
his garrison, some thirty-five hundred men only, into the fort.
Amherst brought up his artillery to lay siege in form, but on the
night of the 26th a loud explosion announced that the French had
abandoned Ticonderoga and blown up the works. It was, however, but
one bastion that had been destroyed, so Amherst at once repaired
the damage and made preparations for advance on Crown Point. On
the 1st of August he learned that Bourlamaque had abandoned this
fortress also, and fallen back to the strong position of Isle aux
Noix at the northern outlet of Lake Champlain. Amherst was now
brought to a standstill, for the French had four armed vessels on
the lake, and it was necessary for him to build vessels likewise
for the protection of the flotilla before he could advance farther.
He at once set about this work, concurrently with the erection of
a strong fort at Crown Point, but unfortunately he began too late.
Amherst was above all a methodical man, whose principle was to make
good each step gained before he attempted to move again. Possibly
he had not anticipated so easy an advance to Crown Point, but, be
that as it may, he had made no provision for advancing beyond it,
and when at last, by the middle of September, his ships were ready,
the season was too far advanced for further operations. He tried
to stir up Gage to hasten to the attack on La Galette, but without
success. In fact by the middle of August the campaign of the armies
of the south and west was virtually closed.

[Sidenote: August.]

Nevertheless for the moment the news of Amherst's advance to Crown
Point caused great alarm in Quebec, and Montcalm felt himself
obliged to send Lévis, one of his best officers, to superintend the
defence of Montreal. Gradually, however, as Amherst's inaction was
prolonged, the garrison regained confidence; and meanwhile deep
discouragement fell on the British. On the 20th of August Wolfe,
who was much exhausted by hard work, anxiety, and mortification,
fell seriously ill and was compelled to delegate the conduct of
operations to a council of his brigadiers. Several plans were
propounded to them, all of which they rejected in favour of an
attempt to gain a footing on the ridge above the city, cut off
Montcalm's supplies from Montreal, and compel him to fight or
surrender. The course was that which had been marked out by the
fleet from the moment that the ships had passed above Quebec. It
was indeed both difficult and hazardous, but it was the only plan
that promised any hope of success; and the success, if attained,
would be final. Wolfe accepted it forthwith and without demur. The
army had lost over eight hundred men killed and wounded since the
beginning of operations, and had been weakened still more seriously
by disease; but the General was driven to desperation by sickness
and disappointment and was ready to undertake any enterprise that
commended itself to his officers. On the last day of August he was
sufficiently recovered to go abroad once more, and on the 2nd of
September he wrote to Pitt the story of his failure up to that day
and of his resolutions for the future, all in a strain of dejection
that sank almost to despair.

[Sidenote: Sept. 3.]

On the following day the troops were skilfully withdrawn without
loss from the camp on the Montmorenci. On the night of the 4th a
flotilla of flat-boats passed successfully above the town with
the baggage and stores, and on the 5th seven battalions marched
westward overland from Point Lévis and embarked, together with
Wolfe himself, on Admiral Holmes' ships. Montcalm thereupon
reinforced Bougainville to a strength of three thousand men and
charged him to watch the movements of the fleet with the utmost
vigilance. Bougainville's headquarters were at Cap Rouge, with
detached fortified posts at Sillery, six miles down the river,
at Samos yet farther down, and at Anse du Foulon, now called
Wolfe's Cove, a mile and a half above Quebec. It was by this last
that Wolfe, searching the heights for mile after mile with his
telescope, perceived a narrow path running up the face of the
precipice. From the path he turned his glass to the post above it,
and seeing but ten or twelve tents concluded that the guard was not
numerous and might be overpowered. There then was a way found for
the ascent of the cliffs from the river: the next problem was how
to turn the discovery to good account.

On the morning of the 7th of September Holmes' squadron weighed
anchor and sailed up to Cap Rouge. The French instantly turned
out to man their entrenchments; and Wolfe, having kept them in
suspense for a sufficient time, ordered the troops into the
boats and directed them to row up and down as if in search of a
landing-place. The succeeding days were employed in a series of
similar feints, the ships drifting daily up to Cap Rouge with
the flood tide and dropping down to Quebec with the ebb, till
Bougainville, who followed every movement with increasing anxiety
and bewilderment, fairly wore out his troops with incessant
marching to and fro.

[Sidenote: Sept. 12.]

At last on the 12th of September Wolfe's opportunity presented
itself. Two deserters came in from Bougainville's camp with
intelligence that at next ebb-tide a convoy of provisions would
pass down the river to Quebec. Wolfe sent orders to Colonel Burton,
who was in command of the standing camps, that all the men which he
could spare from them should march at nightfall along the southern
bank of the river, and wait at a chosen place for embarkation. As
night fell Admiral Saunders moved out of the basin of Orleans with
the main fleet and ranged the ships along the length of the camp
at Beauport. The boats were then lowered and manned by marines,
sailors, and such few soldiers as had been left below Quebec, while
the ships opened fire on the beach as if to clear it for a landing.
Montcalm, completely deceived, massed the whole of his troops
at Beauport, and kept them under arms to repel the threatened
attack. Meanwhile Holmes' squadron, with boats moored alongside
the transports, lay quietly anchored off Cap Rouge, nor showed
sign of life until late dusk, when seventeen hundred men[320]
took their places in the boats and drifted with the tide for some
little distance up the stream. Bougainville marked the movement
and made no doubt that attack was designed upon his headquarters.
Night fell, dark and moonless, and all was quiet. Monsieur Vergor,
who commanded the post at Anse du Foulon, gave leave to most of
his guard of Canadians to go harvesting, and saw no reason why he
should not himself go comfortably to bed. Bougainville remained on
the alert, doubtless impatient for the tide to turn, which would
carry the British away from his quarters and leave him in peace. He
did not know that Wolfe was even then on board the flag-ship making
his final arrangements for the morrow's battle, and that he had
handed the portrait of his betrothed to Captain John Jervis[321] of
H.M.S. _Porcupine_, to be returned to her in the event of his death.

[Sidenote: Sept. 13.]

At length at two o'clock in the morning the tide ebbed.
Two lanterns rose flickering to the maintop shrouds of the
_Sutherland_; Wolfe and his officers stepped into their boat, and
with the whole flotilla astern of them dropped silently down the
river. After a due interval the sloops and frigates followed, with
the second division of troops on board;[322] and Bougainville with
a sigh of relief resolved not to harass his men by a fruitless
march after them. For full two hours the boats pursued their way,
when the silence was broken by the challenge of a French sentry.
"France," answered a Highland officer who had learned the French
tongue on foreign service. "What regiment?" pursued the sentry.
"The Queen's" (_de la Reine_) replied the officer, naming a corps
that formed part of Bougainville's force. The sentry, knowing that
a convoy of provisions was expected, allowed the boats to pass;
for though Bougainville had, as a matter of fact, countermanded
the convoy, the guards had not been apprised of the countermand.
Off Samos another sentry, visible not a pistol-shot away from the
boats, again challenged. "Provision-boats," answered the same
officer, "don't make a noise or the English will hear." Once
more the boats were suffered to pass. Presently they rounded the
headland of Anse du Foulon, and there no sentry was to be seen.
The leading boats were carried by the current somewhat below the
intended landing-place, and the troops disembarked below the path,
on a narrow strand at the foot of the heights. Then twenty-four men
of the Light Infantry, who had volunteered for a certain unknown
but dangerous service under Colonel Howe, slung their muskets about
them, threw themselves upon the face of the cliff, and began to
drag themselves through the two hundred feet of stunted bush that
separated them from the enemy.

The dawn was just breaking as they reached the top, and through the
dim light they could distinguish the group of tents that composed
Vergor's encampment. Instantly they dashed at them; and the French,
utterly surprised, at once took to their heels. Vergor, who was
reputed a coward, stood firm and fired his pistols; and the report
of three of the British muskets, together with the cheers of Howe's
forlorn hope, gave Wolfe the signal for which he waited. He uttered
the word to advance, and the rest of the troops swarmed up the
cliff to their comrades as best they could. The zigzag path which
had first attracted Wolfe's eye was found to be obstructed by
trenches and abatis, but these obstacles were cleared away and the
ascent made easier. Presently the report of cannon was heard from
up the river: the batteries of Sillery and Samos were firing at the
rearmost of the boats and at Holmes' squadron. Howe and his Light
Infantry were detached to silence them, which they effectually did;
and meanwhile the disembarkation proceeded rapidly. As fast as the
boats were emptied they went back to fetch the second division
from the ships and Burton's men from the opposite shore. Before
the sun was well up the whole force of forty-five hundred men had
accomplished the ascent, and was filing across the plain at the
summit of the heights.

Wolfe went forward to reconnoitre. The ground on which he stood
formed part of the high plateau which ends in the promontory of
Quebec. About a mile to eastward of the landing-place was a tract
of grass, known as the plains of Abraham, fairly level ground for
the most part, though broken by patches of corn and clumps of
bushes, and bounded on the south by the heights of the St. Lawrence
and to north by those of the St. Charles. On these plains, where
the plateau is less than a mile wide, Wolfe chose his position for
the expected battle. His situation, despite the skilful execution
of the movement which brought his army across Montcalm's line
of communication, was no secure nor enviable one, for besides
Montcalm's army and the garrison of Quebec in his front, he had
also to reckon with Bougainville's detachment in his rear. His
only chance of success was that the French should allow him to
beat them in detail, that, in fact, they should bring out their
main army and give him opportunity to crush it in front, before
Bougainville should have time to operate effectively in his rear.
But there was no reason why the French should do anything of the
kind; and Wolfe's dispositions needed to be regulated accordingly.
The extent of the ground was too great to permit order of battle
in more than one line; and it was in one line that he prepared
to meet the main force from the side of Quebec. The right wing
rested on the brink of the heights above the St. Lawrence, and
here was stationed a single platoon of the Twenty-eighth. Next
it, in succession from right to left, stood the Thirty-fifth,
three companies of the Louisburg grenadiers,[323] the remainder
of the Twenty-eighth, the Forty-third, Forty-seventh, Fraser's
Highlanders, and the Fifty-eighth. Straight through the centre
of the position, midway between the Forty-seventh and Fraser's,
ran the road from Sillery to Quebec, and here was posted a single
light field-gun[324] which had been dragged up from Wolfe's Cove.
On the extreme left, beyond the flank of the Fifty-eighth, ran
the road from Sainte Foy to Quebec, with a few scattered houses
on the south side and patches of bushes and coppice beyond it.
The line, being three ranks deep, was not long enough to rest its
left on this road, much less on the heights above the St. Charles,
so the Fifteenth foot was thrown back _en potence_ to prevent the
turning of the left flank. The second battalion of the Sixtieth
and the Forty-eighth Foot were stationed in rear, the one on the
left and the other on the right, in eight subdivisions, with wide
intervals. Two companies of the Fifty-eighth were left to guard the
landing-place, the third battalion of the Sixtieth was detached
to the right rear to preserve communication with it; and finally
Howe's Light Infantry occupied a wood far in rear, evidently to
hold Bougainville in check. Monckton commanded the right and Murray
the left of the fighting line, while Townsend took charge of the
scattered troops which did duty for a reserve. Wolfe in person
remained with Monckton's brigade.[325] Probably he anticipated that
Montcalm would attempt to turn his right and so cut off his retreat.

Meanwhile Montcalm had passed a troubled night. The false attack
of the fleet on Beauport had kept him in continual anxiety; and
he was still more disquieted at daybreak to hear the sound of the
cannon of Samos and Sillery above the city. He sent an officer to
the Governor's quarters in Quebec for information, but received
no answer; so at six o'clock he rode up to look for himself,
when on reaching the right of his camp he caught sight, over the
St. Charles, of an ominous band of scarlet stretched across the
heights two miles away. His countenance fell. "This is a serious
business," he said, and he despatched an aide-de-camp at full
gallop to bring up the troops from the right and centre of the camp
of Beauport. The men, only lately relieved from the manning of the
entrenchments, got under arms and streamed away in hot haste across
the bridge of the St. Charles and through the narrow streets of the
city--Indians, Canadians, and regulars all alike stirred by the
sudden approach of danger. Further reconnaissance filled Montcalm
with still greater dismay. It was not a mere detachment, but
practically the entire British army that had found its way to the
heights between him and Montreal. Meanwhile Vaudreuil, the Governor
of Quebec, who was also Commander-in-Chief, was not to be found;
and there was unity neither of direction nor of obedience. Montcalm
applied to Ramesay, who commanded the garrison of Quebec, for
twenty-five field-guns which were mounted in one of the batteries:
Ramesay declared that he needed them for his own defence and would
spare but three. Then there was anxious waiting for the troops from
the left of Beauport's camp, which for some reason never came. All
was confusion, perplexity, and distraction.

In such circumstances Montcalm appears to have succumbed to
nervous strain and to have lost his wits. He held a hasty council
of war with his principal officers and decided to fight at once.
He was afraid, it seems, lest Wolfe should be reinforced or lest
he might entrench himself. Yet there was no occasion for extreme
haste. Another two hours would have sufficed, if not to bring up
the missing troops from Beauport, at all events to procure more
guns and to send a messenger by a safe route to concert measures
with Bougainville; and the day was yet young. The supplies of the
French were failing, it is true, but their army was not starving;
and from whence was Wolfe himself, with Bougainville in his
rear, to draw his supplies even supposing that he did entrench
himself? The British had two days' provisions with them, but for
all further supply they must depend on a single zigzag path wide
enough for but one man abreast. Even supposing that Montcalm could
not succeed in obtaining the thirty field-guns for which he asked,
and which if obtained would almost inevitably have blasted the
British army off the field, there was nothing to prevent him from
manœuvring with a superior force to keep the British under arms
until nightfall, while his Indians and irregulars, of whom he had
abundance, harried the British right flank in front and rear under
shelter of the scrub, and hindered the bringing up of further
stores. What would have been the condition of Wolfe's army on the
following morning after a second night under arms, and what opening
might there not have been for successful attack? But it was not to
be. Whether Montcalm was spurred on by the impatience of his own
half-distracted force, or whether he simply gave way to nervous
exhaustion, must remain uncertain. At any rate he resolved with the
five thousand troops that were with him to accept battle at once.

By nine o'clock his line of battle was formed, some six hundred
yards from the British position. On his right, resting on the road
to Sainte Foy was a battalion of Canadian militia, and next to it
in succession the regular regiments of Bèarn and La Sarre. Next
to these, in column on either side of the road to Sillery, were
the regiments of Guienne and Languedoc, and to their left regiment
Roussillon and another battalion of militia. On the extreme right
and left some two thousand Indians and Canadians swarmed forward in
skirmishing order in advance of the line of battle. It was with the
fire of these sharpshooters that the action began. There was good
cover for them not only on the flanks but also among the scattered
bushes in the front. Wolfe threw out skirmishers to meet them, and
the fusillade became lively, especially on the British left, where
Townsend's men began to fall fast. So severe became this pressure
on the left that Townsend, alarmed for his flank, brought up the
second battalion of the Sixtieth to the left of the Fifty-eighth,
detailed part of them to drive the Canadians from the houses by the
road and doubled the remainder back _en potence_ in line with the
Fifteenth; while at the same time the Light Infantry was called up
in support of the Fifteenth to strengthen the flank still further.
Thus before the action was well begun the rear-guard and half of
the reserve was practically absorbed in the fighting line. On the
British right, where the French sharpshooters could not get round
the flank, their fire was by no means so deadly; but it does not
appear that either of these attacks formed part of any settled plan
of Montcalm, for by throwing the mass of his skirmishers against
the British left he might have made them very formidable.

Meanwhile Montcalm's three field-guns had opened fire, and were
answered by the single gun on the Sillery road with great effect.
So the minutes dragged on, until at a little before ten the French
line advanced with loud shouts to the true attack, the regulars in
the centre moving steadily, a long streak of white edged on either
hand with red and with blue, and the militia striving to move as
steadily on the flanks. The English, who until now had been lying
down, then sprang to their feet and stood steady with recovered
arms. At a range of two hundred yards the French muskets opened
fire but with little effect, while much confusion and delay was
caused by the Canadian militia who, true to their instincts as
skirmishers, threw themselves flat on the ground to reload. Wolfe
was shot through the wrist, but he merely wrapped his handkerchief
round the wound, and called to the men to be steady and reserve
their fire. The French recovered their order somewhat and again
came on, filling the air with their cries, while the British stood
calm, silent and immovable, knowing their chief and trusting
him.[326] Nearer and nearer drew the parti-coloured line, gayer
and gayer as the blue and scarlet facings on the white coats came
into view, brighter and brighter as the detail of metal buttons and
accoutrements cleared themselves from the distance, till at length
the time was come. Thirty-five yards only separated the opposing
arrays, when the word rang out, the still red line sprang into
life, the recovered muskets leaped forward into a long bristling
bar, and with one deafening crash, the most perfect volley ever
fired on battlefield burst forth as if from a single monstrous
weapon, from end to end of the British line. A dense bank of smoke
blotted the French from sight, and from behind it there rose a
horrible din of clattering arms, and savage oaths and agonised
cries. The sharp clink of ramrods broke in upon the sound as the
British reloaded; and when the smoke rolled away, the gay line was
seen to be shivered to fragments, while the bright coats strewed
the ground like swathes of gaudy flowers. There was hardly a bullet
of that volley that had not struck home.

Montcalm, himself unhurt and conspicuous on a black charger,
galloped frantically up and down his shattered ranks in a vain
effort to restore order. Wolfe gave the order to advance, and
after one more volley the scarlet line strode forward with bayonet
and claymore to complete the rout. There was nothing to stop the
British, nothing even to gall them except the fire of a few
sharpshooters hidden in the scrub. Wolfe himself led them at the
head of the Twenty-eighth. A bullet struck him in the groin, but
he paused not a moment and was still striding on, when another
ball passed through his lungs. He staggered forward, still vainly
striving to keep on his feet. "Support me, support me," he gasped
to an officer who was close to him, "lest my gallant fellows
should see me fall." Two or three men fell out and carried him
to the rear, but his fall was noticed by few; and the victorious
line pressed on. Some of the sharpshooters continued to fire from
behind the shrubs and required to be driven out. Others taking
cover nearer to the town opened a biting fire on the Highlanders
who, charging as usual with the claymore only, suffered much loss
in the attempt to force so wily an enemy from the bush. But other
regiments came up and did the work for them with the musket,
and thenceforward no further stand was made by the French, but
Montcalm's whole force broke up and fled in wild confusion towards
the town. He himself, borne away in the rush of the fugitives,
was shot through the body, but being supported in the saddle rode
in through the gates. "It is nothing, nothing," he called to the
shrieking women who saw the red stains on his white uniform; "don't
distress yourselves over me, good people." He was lifted from his
horse and borne into a surgeon's house to die. The panic among
the French increased. Their chief was dying, his second mortally
wounded; and among the terrified mob that fled by the St. Charles
there rose a cry to destroy the bridge of boats, lest the English
should break into the camp of Beauport. This insane movement, which
would have sacrificed the whole of the fugitives who had not yet
crossed the river, was checked by one or two officers who still
kept their wits about them; but none the less the French were not
only beaten but demoralised, and the victory of the British was

But the victors also had lost the services both of their General
and his second. Monckton had been severely wounded by a musket-shot
which for the present disabled him from duty, and Wolfe had been
carried to the rear more dead than alive. He begged his bearers to
set him down, and refused to see a surgeon. "There is no need," he
said, "it is all over with me"; and he sank into unconsciousness.
"How they run," cried out one of the attendants, as he watched the
French flying before the red-coats. "Who run?" asked Wolfe, waking
suddenly to life. "The enemy, Sir, they give way everywhere." "Go
one of you to Colonel Burton," ordered the dying General with great
earnestness, "and tell him to march Webb's regiment[327] down to
Charles River to cut off the retreat from the bridge." He ceased,
and turned on his side. "Now, God be praised, I will die in peace,"
he murmured; and so died.

With his death and the disabling of Monckton the command devolved
upon Townsend, who had no sooner assumed it than he found the rear
of the army threatened by Bougainville. Turning upon this new
enemy with two battalions and two field-guns he soon forced him to
retire; and then, the pursuit being ended, he proceeded to entrench
himself on the battlefield. The losses of the British were trifling
compared with the magnitude of the success, amounting to no more
than six hundred and thirty of all ranks killed and wounded.[328]
The chief sufferers were the Highlanders, during their onslaught
with the claymore, and the Fifteenth, Fifty-eighth and second
battalion of the Sixtieth, who bore the brunt of the sharpshooting
on the left flank. Before midnight the entrenchments had made good
progress, and cannon had been brought up to defend them. A battery
also had been mounted at the northern angle of the town, and the
French hospital, full of sick and wounded men, had been taken.
Nothing is said of the exhaustion of the troops, who had been on
duty continuously for at least thirty hours.

Meanwhile utter confusion reigned in the French camp. Vaudreuil
called a council of war, and there was tumultuous debate. A
messenger was sent to the dying Montcalm for advice, and returned
with the reply that there were three courses open, to retreat up
the river, to fight again, or to surrender the colony. There was
much to be said for fighting, for with Bougainville's force the
French could still bring superior numbers into the field; still
more to be said for the defence of Quebec; but the demoralisation
was too deep to permit any bold action. At nine o'clock in the
evening Vaudreuil gave the order to retreat, and, the word once
uttered, the entire French force streamed away in disorderly and
disgraceful flight to the post of Jacques Cartier, thirty miles up
the St. Lawrence. The only instructions left with the garrison of
Quebec were to surrender as soon as provisions should fail. Well
was it for Montcalm, always a brave and faithful soldier, that his
deliverance came to him before the dawn of another day.

[Sidenote: Sept. 17.]

Townsend for his part pushed his trenches forward against Quebec
with the greatest energy. The French, despite their precipitate
retreat, were still superior force in his rear; and though
certainly demoralised might rally on joining the unbeaten troops
of Lévis, and imbibe new courage under the leadership of that
excellent officer. It was therefore imperative to press the
garrison hard while still overpowered by the despairing sense of
its isolation. On the 17th of September the British ships of war
moved up against the Lower Town, and a scarlet column approached
the walls from the meadows of the St. Charles. The French drums
beat to arms, but the Canadian militia refused to turn out, and the
white flag was hoisted. An officer was sent to Townsend's quarters
to gain time, if possible, by prolonging negotiations. Townsend's
answer was peremptory: unless the town were surrendered by eleven
o'clock, he would take it by storm; and on this Ramesay signed the
capitulation. It was none too soon. Before the messenger with the
signed articles had reached Townsend, Canadian horsemen arrived
with provisions and with a cheering message that help was at
hand; and on the very next morning Lévis marched out from Jacques
Cartier, only to learn that he was just too late.

[Sidenote: Sept. 18.]

On the afternoon of the 18th the British entered the city, and
during the following weeks were employed in strengthening the
defences and making provision against the winter; for it had been
decided that the fortress must be held at all risks. Monckton
was still too far disabled to assume command; Townsend, fresh
from the House of Commons, had no mind for such dreary duty as
winter-quarters; so Brigadier Murray was left as Governor with a
garrison of seven thousand five hundred men, his battalions being
strengthened by drafts from the Sixty-second and Sixty-ninth, which
were serving on board the fleet. At the end of October Admiral
Saunders fired his farewell salute and dropped down the river with
his fleet, carrying with him the embalmed remains of Wolfe, to be
laid by his father's body in the parish church of Greenwich.

So ended the first stage of the conquest of Canada, with better
fortune than might have been expected; for there is no gainsaying
the fact that the concert of operations intended by Pitt and
designed by Amherst had broken down. It should seem indeed that
the scheme was too complex, that too much was attempted with
the resources at command, that the combination of the various
enterprises was too intricate to admit of complete success in a
wild and distant country, where the campaigning season was so
strictly bounded by the climate. Amherst's operations depended
greatly on the help given to him by the Provincials, and the
colonial assemblies whatever their good-will were always dilatory,
while sometimes, as in the case of Pennsylvania, they were
intolerably recalcitrant. Again, though drafts had been sent to
the General to make good the losses of the previous campaign,[329]
these were not nearly sufficient to fill the gaps made by the
slaughter of Ticonderoga and the bitter cold of a Canadian winter.
Significantly enough, also, no care had been taken to provide
the garrison of Louisburg, most arctic of quarters, even with
coverlets, so that the casualties in the winter were far greater
than they should have been.[330] Again, it had been ordained that
Hopson should reinforce Amherst when his work at Martinique was
done, but this arrangement also had broken down; and the least
forethought as to the waste of a tropical campaign would have shown
that it should not have been reckoned on. The result was that
Amherst and Wolfe found themselves with insufficient troops, and
that as a natural consequence the former was obliged to cut the
margin of his several operations too fine. The death of Prideaux,
an excellent officer, was a great misfortune, though Johnson
finished his work at Niagara efficiently enough. Stanwix also,
after overcoming vast difficulties of transport, succeeded in
penetrating to Pittsburg; but here the operations of both columns
came to an end. The Ohio happened to be so low that Stanwix could
not send up a battalion, as he had been bidden, to reinforce
Gage for his advance to La Galette; and Gage, who was not a very
enterprising man, to Amherst's great disappointment thought
himself not strong enough to move in consequence. On Amherst's own
failure to reach Montreal comment has already been passed; but it
should be remembered that the whole burden of the preparations for
Wolfe's expedition was laid upon him, and that Wolfe gratefully
acknowledged the thoroughness of the work. Still the fact remains
that the diversions from south and west were an almost total
failure, and that Wolfe was consequently obliged to perform his
difficult task unaided.

Fortune was against the British in that the weather delayed the
assembling of Wolfe's army at Louisburg; for those few lost weeks
might easily have made the entire difference to the campaign.
Wolfe, with an inadequate force, was driven to his wits' end to
solve the problem assigned to him; and it is quite incontestable
that the credit for the fall of Quebec belongs rather to the
Navy than to the Army. The names of Saunders and of Holmes are
little remembered; and the fame of James Cook the master, whose
skill and diligence did much to reveal the unknown channel of the
St. Lawrence, is swallowed up in that of Captain James Cook the
navigator. Still the fact remains unaltered. It was the audacity of
Holmes and his squadron in running the gauntlet of the batteries of
Quebec which first threatened the supplies and communications of
the city, and forced Montcalm to weaken his main army by detaching
Bougainville. It was the terrible restless energy of the same
squadron, ever moving up and down the river, which wore out the
limbs of the French soldiers and the nerves of their officers; and
to the Navy fully as much as to the Army is due the praise for the
movement that finally set Wolfe and his battalions on the heights
of Abraham. But in truth this last most delicate and critical
operation was so admirably thought out and executed by the officers
of both services that it must abide for ever a masterpiece in its
kind. The British Navy and Army working, as at Quebec, in concord
and harmony under loyal and able chiefs, are indeed not easily

It still remains for enquiry why Wolfe did not take earlier
advantage of the opportunities opened to him by the fleet; and even
after allowance has been made for his constant illness, the answer
is not readily found. The measures which led to the decisive action
were, as has been told, taken on the advice of his brigadiers,
and, if Montcalm had not succumbed to positive infatuation, would
very likely have brought Wolfe to a court-martial. But if instead
of wasting the whole of August in futile efforts below Quebec,
Wolfe had shifted his operations forthwith to the west of the city,
it seems at least probable that he could have attained his object
without hazarding that desperate cast on the plains of Abraham. It
would presumably have been open to him to gain the heights as he
gained them ultimately, to have overwhelmed Bougainville's posts
piecemeal, as was done as far as Sillery by a small detachment on
the morning of the battle, and to have entrenched himself in the
most suitable of them. Then having cut the French communications
by land and water, he could have forced Montcalm either to abandon
Quebec or to fight on his own terms. But it is easy to be wise
after the event; and a brilliant success, however fortunate, is
rightly held to cover all errors. Moreover, the praise for the
perfection of drill and discipline which won the victory with a
single volley is all Wolfe's own. Still it seems to be a fair
criticism that the General was slow to perceive the real weakness
of Montcalm's position and the vital spot laid open to him by the
fleet for a deadly thrust. The consequence was that the work was
but half done and, as shall now be seen, only narrowly escaped


[Sidenote: 1759.]

The city of Quebec when the British entered into possession
was little better than a shapeless mass of ruins, having been
reduced to that state by the guns of the fleet. The population
was thoroughly demoralised, and given over to theft and pillage;
liquor was abundant and the British soldier was thirsty; in fact it
needed all Murray's firmness to restore any kind of order.[331] In
December severe weather began in earnest, and the effects of bad
quarters, bad food, insufficient clothing and insufficient fuel
speedily made themselves felt. The sentries were relieved every
hour, yet it was impossible to keep them free of frost-bite. The
Highlanders despite their natural hardihood suffered more than
their comrades, the kilt being but a sorry protection against a
Canadian winter; and they were only relieved by a supply of long
woollen hose knitted for them, perhaps as much for decency's as for
charity's sake, by the nuns of the city. Still the men remained
cheerful, for they were kept constantly at work cutting fuel and
dragging it in sledges to their quarters, an errand on which they
set forth always with muskets as well as with axes, from fear
of Indians and bushrangers. Nevertheless their sufferings were
great. Fifty men were frost-bitten on a single day while employed
on this duty; three days later sixty-five more were similarly
afflicted, and before Christmas there were over a hundred and
fifty cases.[332] This, however, would have been a small matter
but for the more deadly scourge that was added to it. The garrison
was victualled entirely with salt provisions; it was impossible to
procure fresh meat for the men; and scurvy grew and increased until
there was hardly a soldier in the ranks, even among those reckoned
fit for duty, who was wholly free from the disease.

[Sidenote: 1760.]

With such a plague in his midst Murray might well feel apprehensive
for the safety of Quebec against the enemy without the walls,
for ever since the British occupation of the city the French had
made no secret of their intention to recapture it. Murray had
established two fortified posts a few miles to westward of Quebec
at Sainte Foy and Old Lorette; while the French had established
themselves at St. Augustine, only two days' march from the gates,
from which position it was soon necessary to expel them. Petty
skirmishes such as this were frequent, but ended always with so
easy advantage to the British that the troops began to think
themselves invincible. Repeated intelligence, however, still
arrived of French designs against Quebec, vague enough at first,
but, as the winter wore on, gradually assuming more definite form.
Lévis, the ablest officer left to the French since the fall of
Montcalm, was in fact straining every nerve to organise and equip
a force of overwhelming strength for the purpose. He had full
information of the state of Murray's army and knew that he had but
to bide his time for scurvy to do the best part of his work for
him. At the end of March he heard that half of the British were on
the sick-list, and the report was not far from the truth. By the
middle of April Murray had barely three thousand men fit for duty,
while no fewer than seven hundred were lying in the snow-drifts,
waiting till spring should unbind the frozen ground to give them a

[Sidenote: April 21.]

[Sidenote: April 26.]

[Sidenote: April 27.]

On the 17th of April Murray, learning that the preparations of the
French were complete, occupied the mouth of Cap Rouge River to
prevent a landing at that point. Four days later Lévis set out with
about seven thousand men, half of them regular troops, and a fleet
of bateaux escorted by two frigates and by several smaller craft.
The river was not yet free from ice, the weather was bad, and
navigation was difficult; but on the 26th the army, reinforced by
the garrisons of several outlying stations to nearly nine thousand
men, landed at St. Augustine and marched upon the British advanced
posts. The British at once fell back from Cap Rouge and Old Lorette
upon Sainte Foy. Lévis followed after them all night, despite the
difficulties of half-thawed ice and driving rain and tempest, and
at daybreak arrived before Sainte Foy to find every house occupied
by the British and their cannon playing on his columns as they
emerged from the forest. Murray, warned by the information of a
French gunner, who had been picked up half dead from the floating
ice in the St. Lawrence, had marched out with half of the garrison
to cover the retreat of his advanced parties. The position which
he occupied was strong, and Lévis being ignorant of the weakness
of his numbers would not venture to attack, but resolved to wait
until nightfall and then move round the British left flank. Murray
therefore was able to retire in safety to Quebec, while Lévis
occupied Sainte Foy and pushed his light troops forward to Sillery.

[Sidenote: April 28.]

Murray's position now was none of the pleasantest. The
fortifications of Quebec were in no condition to withstand an
energetic cannonade, and the ground was still frozen so hard that
it was impossible for him to throw up entrenchments, as he had
long desired, outside the walls. The only alternative open to him
was to sally out and fight Lévis, at odds of one against two, and
beat him if he could. Murray was young, daring and fired by the
example of Wolfe; his army was, as he said, in the habit of beating
the enemy;[333] and he had a fine train of artillery. He therefore
resolved to go out and fight. Accordingly at half-past six on the
morning of the 28th he marched out of Quebec at the head of all
the troops that he could muster, a bare three thousand men, with
three howitzers and twenty field-pieces, and drew them up on the
ground which Montcalm had occupied on the famous 13th of September.
The force was formed in one line of two brigades, the right or
Burton's brigade consisting, from right to left, of the Fifteenth,
Fifty-eighth, second battalion of the Sixtieth, and Forty-eighth
regiments; the left or Fraser's brigade of the Forty-third,
Forty-seventh, Fraser's Highlanders, and the Twenty-eighth. The
Thirty-fifth and third battalion of the Sixtieth were posted in
reserve in rear of the centre, while the Light Infantry and the
Provincial rangers stood wide on the right and left flanks. The
field-guns were distributed in pairs to each battalion.

Moving forward to reconnoitre, Murray perceived that the French
line was not yet formed. That Lévis had chosen his ground was
clear, for he had occupied two block-houses built by the British
above Anse du Foulon at the southern edge of the plateau, as well
as a house and a fortified windmill at the northern brink, and had
extended his vanguard along the ridge between these two points. But
the main body was still debouching in columns from Sillery Wood, a
mile or more in rear, and two brigades only were as yet deployed
by the block-house to form the French right wing. Thinking the
opportunity favourable, Murray ordered an immediate advance; and
his whole line moved forward, the men dragging their guns with them
in the intervals between battalions. The ground was for the most
part still covered with snow, which in some places was piled up in
drifts and everywhere soft and sodden with rain; and the tramp of
three thousand men soon turned the soil into a sea of mud. Arrived
at the ground where Wolfe's army had stood, the line halted, and
the guns unlimbering opened so destructive a fire on the French
columns that Lévis ordered the battalions of his left to fall back
to the woods. The manœuvre was not executed without confusion,
and Murray, elated by his apparent success, ordered the line to
renew its advance, inclining to its right. This movement, however,
brought Burton's brigade on to low ground, where the melting snow
was knee-deep and the guns could not be worked with effect. The
British Light Infantry attacked the windmill and houses on the
French left with great spirit, carried them in spite of a desperate
resistance, and pressed on in pursuit of the retreating French. But
now the battalions of the French left, no longer checked by the
fire of artillery, dashed out of the woods in skirmishing order
and falling on the rash pursuers fairly overwhelmed them. Over two
hundred of the Light Infantry were killed and wounded, and the
few survivors hurrying back in confusion upon Burton's brigade
prevented it from firing on the advancing enemy. The French seized
the opportunity to reform their broken ranks and the combat was
hotly maintained for more than an hour, until ammunition for the
British artillery failed, the tumbrils being immovably fixed in the

On Murray's left his hasty advance was little less disastrous.
The block-houses were indeed carried and held for a time, but
the French fell back into the woods only to advance again in
overwhelming force when the fire of the British artillery failed,
and to extend themselves along the British front and flank. The
two battalions of the reserve were called up and the fight was
maintained with indomitable stubbornness; but with both flanks
turned the efforts of the British were hopeless, and Murray gave
the word to fall back. The men, though but two in three of them
remained unhurt, were furious at the order. "Damn it, what is
falling back but retreating!" they said; but there was no help for
it. So first the left brigade and then the right retired, cursing
as they went. Some of the regiments tried to carry off their guns
with them, but finding this impossible owing to deep snow and mud
spiked and abandoned them. The French followed in pursuit, hoping
to cut them off from the city; but Lévis perceiving the orderliness
of the retreat judged it more prudent to recall his troops, and
Murray brought back the remnant of his force in safety to Quebec.

So ended the action of Sainte Foy after two hours of stern and
bloody work. The loss of the British amounted to a thousand
killed and wounded or a full third of the entire force. The
Fifteenth, Twenty-eighth, and Highlanders[334] were, after the
Light Infantry, the greatest sufferers, but in the attenuated
state of the battalions it is probable that in seven out of the
ten there fell at least one man in three. The loss of the French
was admitted to have exceeded eight hundred. Altogether it was
an unfortunate affair, though it cannot be called discreditable
to the troops. Murray was misled by overweening confidence in
his men and miscalculation of the spirit of the French. His past
experience doubtless partly excused the mistake; but even if
he had failed to grasp that Lévis was a man who could restore
confidence to demoralised troops, he might at least have guessed
that he would bring up fresh regiments, who had not learned to
fear the red-coats, to meet him. As things were, he sacrificed the
advantages of his position and of his superiority in artillery
and found himself shut up within the miserable fortifications
of Quebec, with his force reduced to twenty-four hundred men,
nominally fit for duty, but in reality, to use the expressive words
of one of them, "half-starved scorbutic skeletons."

[Sidenote: May 9.]

[Sidenote: May 16.]

Murray, however, rose to the emergency with a spirit worthy of a
British officer. The troops were at first inclined to break loose
from discipline, but Murray hanged the chief offender, staved in
all the rum-barrels of the sutlers and quickly restored order. Then
every soul of the garrison fell to work to strengthen the defences.
Officers yoked themselves to cannon and plied pickaxe and spade,
and the men with such an example before them strained themselves
to the utmost. In a short time one hundred and fifty guns were
mounted and at work on the walls of Quebec, while the French,
however they might toil at their trenches in the stubborn soil of
the plateau, had hardly brought up a single cannon to answer them.
None the less incessant labour and bad food were telling heavily
on the enfeebled strength of the garrison, when on the 9th of May
the _Lowestoft_ frigate sailed up to Quebec with the news that a
squadron was at the mouth of the river and would arrive within a
few days. The tidings put new heart into the besieged, though had
Lévis ventured on an assault they would have found it hard to repel
him. On the 15th two more British men-of-war arrived at Quebec,
and next morning two frigates sailed up above the city, attacked
and destroyed Lévis' ships and with them the French supplies of
food and ammunition. That same evening Lévis raised the siege and
retreated with precipitation, leaving behind him forty guns, the
whole of his material for the siege, and every man of his sick and
wounded. Murray marched at dawn to fall upon his rear, but though
he captured many stragglers failed to overtake the main body. Thus
Quebec was saved; and the advent of spring, together with a supply
of fresh provisions, soon turned Murray's sickly battalions into an
army fit for service in the field.

During these miserable months of cold, privation, and disease
Amherst had been maturing his plans for a decisive campaign. Pitt
had enjoined the capture of Montreal upon him as the principal
object, and had resolved to demolish the useless fortress of
Louisburg, thereby releasing the garrison for active service.[335]
The provincial assemblies were called upon once more to furnish
large contingents of troops for a supreme effort, and the final
blow was about to fall. Amherst's design was to invade Canada
simultaneously from east, west, and south. Murray was to ascend
the St. Lawrence from Quebec; Brigadier Haviland was to break in
by Lake Champlain; and Amherst himself was to lead the main army
down the St. Lawrence from Lake Ontario. Of the three lines of
advance Amherst's was not only the longest but the most difficult
and dangerous, owing to the rapids which obstruct the navigation
of the St. Lawrence; but on the other hand the movement would cut
off the retreat of the French army to westward and force it back
upon Montreal, where Haviland and Murray would close in upon it and
fairly throttle it. The plan was delicate in the extreme and called
for the greatest nicety of calculation, for the three armies must
start from three different points hundreds of miles apart without
possibility of inter-communication, and yet arrive at their goal
together, lest the French should concentrate and overwhelm Murray's
or Haviland's corps in detail. The principal French posts for
barring the lines of advance were Île aux Noix at the head of Lake
Ontario, Sorel on the eastern side of Montreal, and La Galette at
the head of the rapids of the St. Lawrence.

The year opened ill for Amherst. In March he was compelled to
send thirteen hundred men[336] to the south to quell a rising of
Cherokee Indians; and he had not long communicated his instructions
to Murray when he received tidings of the defeat of Sainte Foy. He
at once summoned two battalions from Louisburg to reinforce Murray,
but it was not until late in June that he was relieved by news
of the safety of Quebec. The provincial governments also were as
usual a sore trial and the cause of much vexatious delay;[337] but
Amherst was a man of tenacity and patience who never lost sight of
his object nor relaxed his industry for a moment. At length, when
midsummer was fully past, the net which he had woven began to close
round the French.

[Sidenote: July.]

[Sidenote: August 4.]

Murray was the first to move. His garrison had rapidly recovered
health and strength, and by July he was able to pick out twenty-two
hundred men for the advance on Montreal, while still leaving
seventeen hundred behind him for the garrison of Quebec. On the
14th of July his little column embarked in thirty-two vessels
with a number of boats and bateaux, and on the following day set
sail up the St. Lawrence, leaving Lord Rollo to follow with the
Twenty-second and Fortieth Regiments, which had arrived from
Louisburg. Murray advanced slowly, skirmishing with small parties
of the enemy which hovered about the flotilla on the shore, and
disarming the inhabitants as he passed. On the 4th of August
he reached Three Rivers, where lay a detachment of the French
army; but without delaying to attack it, he passed on to Sorel,
where Bourlamaque and M. Dumas with some four thousand men were
entrenched along both banks of the river. These officers had been
instructed to follow up the flotilla as it moved, so British and
French alike advanced towards Montreal, where Lévis lay with
the main French army. Murray, meanwhile, by rigour towards the
recalcitrant and lenity towards the submissive, persuaded half of
Bourlamaque's militia to yield up its arms and take an oath of
neutrality. By the 24th, being within nine leagues of Montreal, he
sent out a party to seek news of Haviland, and then moving up to
Île Sainte Thérése, just below Montreal, he encamped and awaited
the coming of his colleagues.

[Sidenote: August 27.]

Haviland, meanwhile, had embarked in the third week of August at
Crown Point, with two battalions of regulars, and with Provincials
and Indians sufficient to raise his force to thirty-four hundred
men. Four days brought him to Bougainville's position at Île aux
Noix, where he landed, erected batteries, and opened fire on the
fort; while at the same time a party of rangers dragged three guns
to the rear of the position and turned them upon Bougainville's
sloops of war, which got under way in all haste and stranded in the
next bend of the river. Thus Bougainville's communications with
the next post, St. John's, down the river Richelieu, were severed,
and, as Amherst had foreseen,[338] he was compelled to abandon
the island. He joined M. Roquemaure at St. John's with infinite
difficulty by a night march through the forest; and both officers
falling back from St. John's and Chambly waited with Bourlamaque on
the banks of the St. Lawrence, where their force melted away fast
through desertion. Haviland opened communications with Murray, and
both awaited the approach of Amherst.

[Sidenote: August 26.]

[Sidenote: Sept.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 5.]

The main army had assembled at Oswego during July, Amherst
himself arriving on the 9th, but it was not until the first week
of August that the last of the appointed regiments appeared at
the rendezvous. The force consisted of eight weak battalions of
British, numbering less than six thousand men, with four thousand
five hundred Provincials and seven hundred Indians, or about eleven
thousand in all. The flotilla for the transport of the army was
made up of nearly eight hundred whale-boats and bateaux, and was
escorted by gun-boats. On the 10th of August the entire force was
embarked and by the 15th it had reached Oswegatchie or La Galette,
on the site of the present Ogdensburg. Here a French brig of ten
guns was attacked and captured by the gun-boats, and the flotilla
pursued its way among the Thousand Islands. On an islet at the
head of the rapids stood a French post named Fort Lévis, with a
garrison of three hundred men, which Amherst forthwith invested,
and after three days' cannonade reduced to surrender. Repair of
the fort and of his boats detained him until the 30th, and on the
31st the expedition entered upon the most critical of its work, the
descent of the rapids. On the 1st of September the flotilla was
compelled to proceed in single file, but all went well until the
4th, when the most dangerous of the rapids was reached. On that
day over sixty boats were wrecked or damaged and eighty-four men
were drowned: but the passage was accomplished without molestation
from the enemy, though large numbers of Canadians were on the
watch on the banks. The next day was consumed in repairs, and on
the 6th, the last rapid having been passed, the boats glided down
to La Chine, nine miles from Montreal, on the left bank of the
St. Lawrence. Here the army landed unopposed, marched straight
upon Montreal and encamped beneath the walls on the eastern side:
while Haviland on the 8th arrived on the southern shore against
Amherst's camp. Amherst was a little late, having been delayed by
the resistance of Fort Lévis. Had he been content to ignore it and
simply to cut it off from Montreal, he, Murray and Haviland would
have met, punctual to a day, on the 29th of August. As it was the
junction was sufficiently complete, and the work of the campaign
was practically done.

[Sidenote: Sept. 8.]

Bougainville, Bourlamaque, and Roquemaure had crossed over to
Montreal with the few regular troops remaining with them, for the
whole of their militia had melted away, and even the regulars had
been greatly reduced by desertion. Thus the army assembled at
Montreal, the sole force that remained for the defence of Canada,
amounted to barely twenty-five hundred men, demoralised in order,
in spirit, and in discipline. Around the city lay an hostile army
of seventeen thousand men; the fortifications were contemptible
except for defence against Indians, and Amherst's cannon were
already moving up from La Chine. The French Governor called a
council of war, which resolved that resistance was hopeless.
Articles of capitulation were accordingly drawn up, and carried
on the 7th by Bougainville to Amherst. The condition on which the
French laid greatest stress was that they should march out with
the honours of war; but this Amherst flatly refused. The troops,
he said, must lay down their arms and serve no further during the
present war: the French had played so inhuman a part in stirring
up the Indians to treachery and barbarity of every kind, that he
was determined to make an example of them. It is probable that the
General referred only to the massacre of the wounded after the
defeats at Fort William Henry, Ticonderoga, and the Monongahela;
but the reckoning to be paid went back to earlier times. There
were the wrongs, the encroachment and the double-dealing of a full
century to be redressed; and the time for payment was come. In vain
the French pleaded for easier terms: Amherst, a man not easily
turned from his purpose, remained inflexible. Accordingly on the
8th of September, despite expostulation which rose almost to the
point of mutiny on the part of Lévis, the capitulation was signed,
and half a continent passed into the hands of Great Britain.

Meanwhile, as if to crown the whole work and to redeem all past
failings and misfortunes, the expedition against the Cherokee
Indians had been brilliantly successful. Trifling though the affair
may seem in comparison with Amherst's momentous operations in the
north, it marked the banishment of the panic fear of Indians which
had followed on the defeat of Braddock. The command was entrusted
to Colonel Montgomery, and the force committed to him was four
hundred of the First Royals, seven hundred of his own Highlanders,
and a strong body of Provincials. Starting from Charlestown,
Carolina, Montgomery marched up one hundred and fifty miles to the
township of Ninety-six, so called because it was supposed to be
ninety-six miles from the township of Keowee, and pushed forward
thence for four days through dense forest and mountainous country
without finding any sign of Indians. Concluding therefore that
the Cherokees were unaware of his advance, he left all tents and
baggage behind and made a forced march to surprise the savages
before they could escape. The main body of the Indians, however,
retired before he could reach them; and he could accomplish no
more than the destruction of crops and villages, after which he
returned to a fort on the frontier, having traversed no less than
sixty miles over a most difficult country without a halt. It was
then resolved to begin the work anew and to make a fresh advance
into the forest. On this occasion the Indians lay in wait for
the British in a wooded valley and burst upon them suddenly, as
they had upon Braddock, with hideous whooping and howling, and
a scattered but deadly fire of rifles. The grenadiers and Light
Infantry at once plunged into the forest to engage them, while the
Highlanders hastened round their rear to cut off their retreat; and
after a sharp action of an hour the Indians were put to flight with
great slaughter. This engagement cost the British over eighty men
killed and wounded, twice as many as Amherst had lost by lead and
steel during the whole of his advance from Oswego to Montreal. But
the mere comparison of casualties is of small moment. The really
weighty matter is that British officers had learned to face the
difficulties which had been fatal to Braddock, and to overcome them
with a light heart.

It now remained for Amherst to enforce the capitulation on the
French posts of the west. The occupation of Detroit, Miamis, and
Michillimackinac was entrusted to Rogers, the partisan, with his
rangers, who in the course of the winter hauled down the ensign
of the Bourbons and hoisted the British flag in its place. There
was still to be trouble with these remote stations, but it was not
to come immediately, nor directly from the French. The rest of
the General's work was principally administrative. Generous terms
were granted to the inhabitants, and every precaution was taken
to protect them against the Indian allies of the British. Amherst
issued a general order appealing to his troops not to disgrace
their victory by any unsoldierlike behaviour or appearance of
inhumanity; and the army responded to the appeal with a heartiness
which amazed the Canadians. A month after the capitulation the
General could report that British soldiers and Canadian peasants
were joining their provisions and messing together, and that when
he had ordered soldiers to leave their scattered quarters so as to
be closer to their companies, the people had begged that they might
not be moved.[339] Such was not the fashion in which the French
were wont to treat a captured territory.

Here then for the present we may take leave of Amherst. Pitt, as
shall presently be seen, had further tasks for him, which were to
be executed as usual quietly and thoroughly. The fame of the man
is lost in that of Wolfe, and yet it was he, not Wolfe, that was
the conqueror of Canada. The criticism usually passed upon him is
that he was sure but slow, and to some extent it is justified by
facts. Yet it should be remembered that, when he took over the
command, affairs in North America were in extreme confusion and
disorder, and that the work assigned to him was, on a far larger
and more formidable scale, that which had fallen to Cumberland in
1745. Braddock had started everything in the wrong direction. Not
only had he quarrelled with the Provincials and failed to instruct
his troops aright, but he had deliberately forced them to follow
wrong methods. Loudoun, again, had not improved relations with
the provincial assemblies either by his correspondence with them
or by his military operations. Finally Abercromby's imbecility at
Ticonderoga had sacrificed hundreds of valuable lives, disgusted
the colonists, and heightened the reputation gained by the French
at the Monongahela. Then Amherst took the whole of the confused
business in hand, and from that moment all went smoothly and well;
so smoothly indeed that people quite forgot that it had ever gone
otherwise. Yet his difficulties with the Provincials were not less
than those of his predecessors nor less trying to his patience
than to theirs; nay, even the good-will of the colonists was
sometimes as embarrassing to him as their obstruction. It must not
be forgotten, moreover, that the atmosphere of young communities,
such as were then the North American colonies, is most noxious to
discipline. Americans, as their latest military effort has proved,
do not yet understand the meaning of the term; the colonists of
Australia and New Zealand, which have no such religious traditions
as America, have but the vaguest conception of its significance.
Thus when Amherst returned from the conquest of Louisburg to
Boston, not all his efforts could prevent the inhabitants of that
godly city from filling his men with rum; and the same spirit of
indiscipline doubtless haunted the army through all the long and
dreary months of winter-quarters. There was, again, the additional
complication that in the matter of forest-fighting the British
had much to learn from the Provincials; and it fell to Amherst
to teach his troops greater freedom and independence in action
without simultaneous relaxation of discipline. He overcame all
these obstacles, however, in his quiet, methodical way. Discipline
never failed; for Amherst, though no martinet, could be inexorably
severe. Special corps of light troops and of marksmen were
organised, and the drill of the whole army was modified to suit
new conditions. It was in fact Amherst who showed the way to the
reform afterwards carried out by Sir John Moore at Shorncliffe, of
reducing the depth of the ranks to two men only. Such a formation
would have diminished Wolfe's difficulties and materially have
strengthened his dispositions on the plains of Abraham: but
apparently so important an innovation never occurred to him.
Amherst never fought a great action, so his improvements were never
put to the test; but this does not impair his credit as a soldier
of forethought and originality.

But the most remarkable quality in Amherst was his talent for
organisation. The difficulties of transport in the Canada of
his day were appalling. "Canada," says the American historian
Parkman, "was fortified with vast outworks of defence in the savage
forests, marshes, and mountains that encompassed her, where the
thoroughfares were streams choked with fallen trees and obstructed
by cataracts. Never was the problem of moving troops encumbered
by artillery and baggage a more difficult one. The question was
less how to fight an enemy than how to get at him." It was just
this problem which Amherst's industry and perseverance had power
to solve. We read of his launching forth on to Lake George with a
flotilla of eight hundred boats and an army of eleven thousand men,
and all sounds simple and straightforward enough. Yet these boats,
setting aside the original task of building and collecting them,
had to make several journeys to carry the necessary stores and
provisions from Albany to the head of the lake, while every one of
them, together with its load, required to be hauled overland from
three to six miles through forest and swamp from the carrying-place
on the Mohawk to Wood Creek. The same provision against the same
difficulties were necessary on a smaller scale for Prideaux's
attack on Niagara, and, under conditions of special embarrassment,
for Stanwix's advance to the Ohio; while over and above this,
there was marine transport and all necessaries for the expedition
to Quebec to be provided, so as to enable Wolfe to proceed on his
mission fully equipped and without delay. Add to this burden of
work endless correspondence with the various provinces, as well as
constant friction, obstruction, and general dilatoriness, and it
becomes apparent that for all his slowness Amherst accomplished no
small feat when he achieved the conquest of Canada in two campaigns.

The whole problem was in truth one of organisation, and Amherst was
the man to solve it, for he was a great military administrator.
Cautious undoubtedly he was in the field, but it would be absurd
to contend that a man who took ten thousand men down the rapids of
the St. Lawrence, with the dry comment that the said rapids were
"more frightful than dangerous,"[340] was wanting in enterprise
or audacity. His career as a general in the field was short,
and his crowning campaign, having achieved its end without a
general action, has little fame. Such is the penalty of bloodless
operations, though they be the masterpiece of a mighty genius.
Austerlitz is a name familiar to thousands who know nothing of the
capitulation of Ulm. So Amherst to the majority of Englishmen is
but a name: as though it were a small thing for a colonel taken
straight from the classic fields of Flanders to cross the Atlantic
to a savage wilderness, assume command of disheartened troops and
the direction of discordant colonists, and quietly and deliberately
to organise victory. He was the greatest military administrator
produced by England since the death of Marlborough, and remained
the greatest until the rise of Wellington.

  AUTHORITIES.--The history of the French in Canada and of the
  long struggle between them and the English for the mastery of
  the continent has been admirably written in a series of volumes
  by Francis Parkman. Following in his footsteps through the
  original papers in the Record Office (C.O., _America and West
  Indies_, vols. lxiii., lxv., lxxiv.-lxxvi., lxxxi.-xciv., xcix.;
  W. O. _Orig. Corres._, vols. xiii.-xv.), through the _Bouquet
  and Haldimand Papers_, and through other English material, I
  have found little or nothing to glean, while the information
  which he has gathered from American sources is most valuable.
  The histories of Mante and Entick give a general account of the
  operations. Knox's _Journal_ is one of the most valuable sources
  of information. Other authorities will be found given in detail
  by Parkman. Readers who are familiar with his works will have no
  difficulty in apprehending my obligations to him, which I wish to
  acknowledge to the full.


[Sidenote: 1755.]

It is now time to return to the subject of India, which, as will
be remembered, was dropped at the conclusion of the truce between
France and England in January 1755. Two days after the signing of
the articles, Governor Saunders left Madras for Europe, and was
followed a month later by M. Godeheu. It is not likely that the
departure of the two signatories of the treaty wrought any great
influence on the subsequent proceedings of the East India Company;
but certain it is that before the instrument was a month old the
infraction of its provisions was already begun. It was in fact
impossible to observe the truce. Its object seems to have been to
terminate hostilities in the Carnatic alone; but it was not to
be expected that, while Bussy was exerting his vast ability and
energy at Aurungabad for the promotion of French interests, the
British could sit with folded hands in submission to the article
which bound French and English alike "not to interfere in any
difference which might arise between the princes of the country."
The British had their puppet as well as the French, and having
used him for their own purposes could not suddenly desert him, the
less so inasmuch as the Nabob Mohammed Ali had neither resources
of his own nor the wits whereby to provide himself with them.
When therefore Mohammed Ali begged for a British force to reduce
Madura and Tinnevelly, which he conceived to be his tributaries,
and to collect his tribute for him, the authorities at Madras
assented without hesitation. It was, in fact, unusual, not to say
impossible, for Indian tribute to be levied except by means of an
armed force; and, since Mohammed Ali had no troops of his own, it
might be maintained, at least with some show of reason, that the
furnishing of a small army for so innocent a purpose was not an act
of war.

[Sidenote: February.]

Accordingly at the beginning of February twenty-five hundred men,
one-fifth of them Europeans, were placed under command of Colonel
Heron, an officer lately arrived from England, who proceeded to
perform the duty assigned to him. It is unnecessary to enter into
details of his operations. Suffice it that he succeeded not only
in occupying both Madura and Tinnevelly, but in demoralising
his troops and insulting the religious prejudices of the people
by scandalous pillage of a pagoda. Mohammed Ali made over the
government of the subdued territory to his brother Maphuze
Khan, and in June Heron, having done his work, encamped before
Trichinopoly. From thence he was summoned to Madras to be tried by
court-martial for accepting bribes and for malversation of funds,
and was dismissed from the Company's service.

The French lost no time in protesting against this expedition as
a violation of the treaty, and with not the less vigour that they
were extremely jealous of the reuniting of Madura and Tinnevelly,
which had long been severed from the sway of Arcot, to the
dominions of Mohammed Ali. The protest was of course answered by
indignant disclaimer of any sinister purpose; and M. de Leyrit,
the Governor of Pondicherry, thought it more profitable to waste
no further words in argument, but simply to follow the British
example. An opportunity for doing so soon presented itself. The
chieftain of a tract of country known as Terriore, about thirty
miles north of Trichinopoly, had for some time past evaded payment
of his tributary dues to Mysore. Now the Mysoreans on retiring from
Trichinopoly had appointed the French their agents to watch over
their interests in the Carnatic; and M. de Leyrit accordingly
sent fifteen hundred men under M. Maissin into Terriore to enforce
discharge of the arrears of this revenue. Maissin having fulfilled
his mission with ease and success led his army eastward to
Palamcotah, on territory which the British claimed to be subject
to Mohammed Ali. The authorities at Madras threatened to stop him
by force if he did not desist; and, De Leyrit giving way, war was
for the present averted. But since both sides had now infringed the
treaty, it was plain that the renewal of hostilities could not long
be deferred.

[Sidenote: 1756.]

The rest of the year passed away without serious trouble; but,
however the suspension of arms might be observed in the south,
there could be no safety for the Carnatic while Bussy remained
at Aurungabad, virtually viceroy of the Deccan. He had been now
installed therein since 1751, wielding his great powers with
consummate tact and address in the face of intrigue, jealousy, and
even conspiracy; nay, he had turned the most formidable of the
combinations against him into a means of increasing his influence
and of gaining nearly five hundred miles of the eastern coast,
from the Chilka Lake southward, for the government of Pondicherry.
It is true that this vast tract, which was known as the Northern
Sirkars, had for the most part been restored to its native owners
under the terms of the treaty, but it was still held by France
pending the ratification of the articles, which was not expected
to arrive until the middle of 1756; and it was always possible
that so degrading a concession might be repudiated at Versailles.
Moreover, whatever the fate of the negotiations, the cardinal fact
remained that Bussy continued always at the court of the Viceroy
of the Deccan, and that it was vital to the British that his
power should be undermined--that, in fact, Salabad Jung should be
persuaded or forced to dismiss him. The first idea at Madras was
to send a force to the assistance of the Mahratta, Balajee Rao,
who had frequently carried on hostilities against Salabad Jung;
for which duty Clive, who had returned to India with the rank of
Lieutenant-Colonel and Governor of Fort St. David, volunteered his
services. Another officer, however, was preferred to him, who died
before the work could be begun; and the authorities at Bombay,
from which side the operations were to be conducted, allowed the
project to drop. Native intrigue nevertheless wrought effectually
for the British what they could not do for themselves; and in May
the feeble Salabad Jung was prevailed upon to dismiss Bussy and
the French troops from his service. But Bussy had still an army
with him, and had shown himself not less formidable in the field
than in the council-chamber; so his enemies, to decide the matter,
applied to Madras for a body of troops to assist in the expulsion
of the French. No invitation could have been more pleasing. A force
of eighteen hundred men was at once ordered for the service, when
in the middle of July came tidings from Bengal which demanded the
presence of every British soldier that could be spared from the
coast of Coromandel.

[Sidenote: May.]

[Sidenote: May 9.]

[Sidenote: June.]

The provinces of Bengal, Orissa, and Behar had since 1735 been
governed by a prince known to the English as Allaverdy Khan,
who, like all other viceroys of the Moguls, had become virtually
independent. At his death the sovereignty descended, according to
his own nomination, to his great nephew Surajah Dowlah, a youth who
had early discovered propensities towards cruelty, intemperance,
and debauchery such as are rare even in Oriental despots. Surajah
Dowlah had always hated the English, and his hatred was not
lessened after his succession by the fact that the most formidable
of his competitors for the throne had received asylum and
permission to deposit his treasures and his family at Madras. At
the beginning of April the authorities at Calcutta received warning
that the renewal of war with France was inevitable, and accordingly
set about the repair of the fortifications of the settlement.
Surajah Dowlah, not only irritated but alarmed lest such
preparations should be levelled against himself, sent a message
to the Governor requiring that the work should cease and that
the newly-erected defences should be destroyed. The authorities
answered by tendering explanations; but the angry Nabob heard them
only to reject them, and ordered his army to march against the
fort and factory of Cossimbazar. The place was in no condition to
make any defence, and Surajah Dowlah having received its surrender
pursued his march upon Calcutta. There the authorities, uninured to
such trials as Madras, had weakly endeavoured to appease the wrath
of the Nabob by desisting from further work on the fortifications:
nor was it until too late that they discovered that their only
safety lay in resistance. Letters were hurriedly despatched to
Bombay and Madras for reinforcements, though with little hope
that these would reach Calcutta in time. Appeals for aid were
addressed also to the French at Chandernagore and to the Dutch at
Chinsura, but were rejected by both parties, and by the French in
particular with studied insolence. By the 16th of June the Nabob's
army was before the city. Fort William, the principal defence, was
abandoned as untenable, and the British resolved to confine their
resistance to the streets. On the 18th the enemy attacked and were
gallantly beaten back; but on the 19th they succeeded in carrying
the principal batteries: and it was then determined, while there
was yet time, to embark the women and children on the shipping in
the Hooghly. The resolution was executed with a haste and disorder
which soon turned to panic, and there was a general rush to escape.
The Governor, who so far had shown firmness and courage, embarked
with the rest, and the scanty remnant of Europeans left behind in
Calcutta was compelled to capitulate. The tragedy that ensued is
well known--how one hundred and forty-six Europeans were packed
during the insufferable heat of a summer's night into a room not
twenty feet square and with but two small windows; how the unhappy
creatures strove for a time to fight with order and discipline
against suffocation; how the effort proved, as it could not but
prove, beyond their powers, and gave place to a succession of mad
struggles for life, renewed and renewed again through hour after
hour till at length they were closed by the slow mercy of death;
and how when the corpses were cleared away from the door in the
morning thirty-three ghastly figures staggered out from among them
to tell to their countrymen the tale of the Black Hole of Calcutta.

[Sidenote: July.]

The Nabob then occupied himself with the plunder of the city and
in writing inflated accounts of his conquest to Delhi; which done
he left a garrison of three thousand men in Calcutta and departed
with his army on the 2nd of July. On his way he extorted large
contributions from Chandernagore and Chinsura as the price of their
immunity, and so returned to his capital of Moorshedebad.

[Sidenote: July 20.]

[Sidenote: August.]

[Sidenote: December.]

It was not until the 15th of July that the news of the fall of
Cossimbazar reached Madras. Two hundred and thirty Europeans under
Major Kilpatrick were promptly shipped off to the Hooghly, and
arrived at Fulta, five-and-twenty miles below Calcutta, on the 2nd
of August. But there was long hesitation as to the expediency of
sending further reinforcements to Bengal. News was daily expected
of declaration of war with France, and it was held by many of the
Council that it would be wiser policy to send aid to Salabad Jung
and to complete the discomfiture of Bussy while there was yet time.
Fortunately wider and less selfish views prevailed, and ultimately
it was decided to send every ship and man that could be spared
to the Hooghly. There was still longer debate over the selection
of a commander, but the choice finally fell upon Clive, though
he was subordinated to Admiral Watson, who commanded the British
squadron then lying at Madras. The force entrusted to him consisted
of nine hundred Europeans, two hundred and fifty of which were of
the Thirty-ninth regiment, and fifteen hundred Sepoys. Thus at
last on the 15th of October the transports sailed under convoy of
Admiral Watson's four ships of the line, though, owing to divers
misfortunes, it was Christmas before the bulk of the fleet arrived
at Fulta. Even then two ships, the one containing two hundred
European troops, the other the great part of the field-artillery,
were still missing.

[Sidenote: Dec. 29.]

Even more discouraging was the condition of Kilpatrick's detachment
which, being perforce encamped on unhealthy ground, had buried over
one hundred men and could supply but thirty that were fit for duty.
Still there was nothing to be gained by delay, so on the 27th of
December the fleet sailed up the river and on the 29th anchored at
Mayapore, two miles below the fort of Budge Budge. Here, contrary
to Clive's opinion, Watson insisted that the troops should march
against the fort overland. Five hundred Europeans and the whole of
the Sepoys were accordingly disembarked, and after a most difficult
march arrived at the place appointed for camp, a large hollow
situated between two villages a mile and a half to north-east of
Budge Budge. The men being greatly fatigued were permitted to
leave their arms in the hollow and to lay themselves down wherever
they thought best; and with inexcusable neglect not a sentry was
posted. It so happened that Monichund, the officer left by Surajah
Dowlah at Calcutta, had that very day reached Budge Budge with
thirty-five hundred men, where on receiving intelligence of Clive's
dispositions he laid his plans to attack him at nightfall. The
British troops had not been long asleep when they were awaked by
the fire of musketry and found the enemy upon them. Instantly they
rushed to the hollow for their arms, the artillerymen deserting
their guns and flying back with the infantry to take shelter.
Clive, always cool and collected, called to his men to stand,
knowing that the slightest retrograde movement would produce a
panic, and detached two platoons from two different points to make
a counter-attack. The British then recovered themselves, the
artillerymen returned to their guns, and Clive was able to form his
line in order for a general advance. Before the action could become
general a round shot passing close to Monichund's turban caused
that officer to give a hasty signal for retreat; and so Clive's
army was saved, though, indeed, it was by no fault but his own that
it had been endangered. H.M.S. _Kent_ then sailed up and silenced
the guns of Budge Budge; and on the following night a drunken
sailor, who chanced to blunder into the fort, made the discovery
that it had been abandoned by the enemy.

[Sidenote: Dec. 30.]

[Sidenote: 1757.]

[Sidenote: Jan. 12.]

[Sidenote: Feb. 2.]

[Sidenote: Feb. 3.]

On the 30th the fleet pursued its way up to Alighur, where Clive
again landed with the army to march on Calcutta, while the ships
engaged the enemy at Fort William. The Nabob's troops soon deserted
both fort and town, and the fort was occupied, before Clive
could reach it, by a detachment under Captain Eyre Coote of the
Thirty-ninth Foot, who had sailed from England with two companies
of his regiment in the previous November. It was then resolved to
recapture Hooghly before the Nabob could advance from Moorshedabad;
and accordingly three hundred and fifty of the Thirty-ninth with a
due proportion of Sepoys were detached for the purpose, who took
the town by storm with trifling loss and a week later returned to
Calcutta. Meanwhile news arrived of the outbreak of war between
France and England; and the Company fearing lest the French troops
at Chandernagore, who numbered three hundred Europeans with a train
of artillery, might join the Nabob, endeavoured to come to terms
with him. The attempt was vain. Surajah Dowlah, irritated by the
attack on Hooghly, collected an army of forty thousand men and
moved steadily upon Calcutta. On the 2nd of February his advanced
guard came into sight; whereupon Clive, who had taken up a position
at the northern end of the town, marched out as if to attack. He
decided, however, to wait for a more favourable moment; and on the
following day the whole of the Nabob's army was encamped along the
eastern side of the town, beside the entrenchment that bore the
name of the Mahratta Ditch.

[Sidenote: Feb. 4.]

Even then, though the French had not joined Surajah Dowlah, Clive
was loth to encounter his army without reinforcements, and made a
last effort at negotiation; but, on the return of his commissioners
without success, he decided to make an attempt upon the enemy's
camp on the morrow. At midnight six hundred sailors were landed
from the men-of-war, and with these, six hundred and fifty European
infantry, a hundred gunners with six guns, and eight hundred
Sepoys Clive started before dawn for the Nabob's encampment. His
advance was made in a long column of three men abreast, with the
artillery in rear; and day had just broken when he struck against
the enemy's advanced posts and drove them back. With the coming of
the light there came also a dense fog, through which the column
continued to move forward, successfully repulsing an attack of the
enemy's cavalry as it went, until a causeway was reached, running
at right angles to the line of march, which led to the Nabob's
quarters within the Mahratta Ditch. There the head of the column
changed direction to the right, as it had been bidden, but in the
perplexity caused by the fog found itself under the fire of the
British field-guns in the rear, and broke up to seek shelter.
This movement misled the rear of the column; and very soon the
entire force was in hopeless confusion. The enemy opening fire
with their cannon increased the disorder; and Clive had much ado
to keep his men together. Finally when the fog lifted he found
himself surrounded by the enemy's cavalry; and though he succeeded
in driving them off he was obliged, owing to the fatigue of his
troops, to abandon the attack and return to camp. His losses
amounted to one hundred Europeans and fifty Sepoys killed and
wounded, against which there seemed little gain to be set. The men
indeed were not a little disheartened, and complained with some
bitterness of the rashness of their leader.

[Sidenote: Feb. 9.]

[Sidenote: March.]

[Sidenote: June 4.]

[Sidenote: June 13.]

But if the British were discouraged, much more so was the Nabob.
Blind and uncertain though the action had been, he had lost six
hundred men and five hundred horses, while the idea of a British
force calmly perambulating his camp was utterly distasteful and
disquieting to him. Five days later he concluded a treaty whereby
he agreed to restore all property taken at Calcutta and to revive
all other privileges formerly granted to the British; an agreement
which was expanded forty-eight hours afterwards into an offensive
and defensive alliance. Clive then proposed to attack the French
at Chandernagore, but this the Nabob positively forbade. In March,
however, reinforcements of three companies of infantry and one
of artillery arrived from Bombay, and Clive resolved to make the
attack notwithstanding the Nabob's prohibition. On the 7th of March
the army began its march up the river; the siege was opened a week
later, and the fort, which held no very strong garrison, was soon
forced to capitulate. This defiance of his wishes increased at
once the Nabob's dread of the British and his anxiety to evade the
obligations of the treaty. The miserable creature writhed under
the masterful spirit of Clive. He made overtures to Bussy, to the
Mahrattas, to any one whom he thought able to help him out of
his difficulties: sometimes he threatened the English, sometimes
he apologised to them; and Clive, thoroughly distrustful of this
abject ally, determined to keep the whole of his army in Bengal to
watch him and hold him to his obligations. Meanwhile aid suddenly
reached the British from an unexpected source. The followers of
the Nabob, alienated by his folly, his insults, and his caprice,
began to fall away from him. Discontent ripened into disaffection,
and disaffection into conspiracy. Overtures were presently made to
the authorities at Calcutta to join in a plot for the overthrow of
Surajah Dowlah and for the setting up of Meer Jaffier, hitherto
his commander-in-chief but now foremost among the conspirators, in
his place. Long negotiations followed, which have become famous
for the blot which, rightly or wrongly, they have left upon the
memory of Clive. Finally Meer Jaffier signed the treaty which
bound the English to win for him the throne of Bengal, Orissa,
and Behar, and engaged himself in return to make over to them
all French factories within those provinces, as well as a slight
accession of territory about Calcutta, and to give compensation for
the damage inflicted by Surajah Dowlah. Meer Jaffier, however, had
displayed considerable irresolution during the negotiations, and
the secret of the conspiracy had already begun to leak out, so that
it became necessary to clench the arrangement by immediate action.
Accordingly on the 13th of June, Clive, who had been throughout
the leading and deciding spirit, set his force in motion from
Chandernagore upon Moorshedabad, and on the following day sent a
letter to the Nabob which amounted virtually to a declaration of

Before the letter arrived Surajah Dowlah had awaked to his peril
and sent emissaries to treat with Meer Jaffier; nay, throwing off
all royal state he visited his former vassal in person to entreat
humbly for reconciliation. Meer Jaffier yielded; the agreement
between the two men was ratified by the usual oaths on the Koran;
and Surajah Dowlah, returning a defiant answer to Clive, ordered
the whole of his army to assemble some twelve miles due south of
Moorshedabad at the village of Plassey.

[Sidenote: June.]

Meanwhile Clive continued his advance up the Hooghly, the Europeans
travelling by water in boats, the Sepoys marching along the western
bank. His force consisted in all of nine hundred Europeans, two
hundred half-bred Portuguese and twenty-one hundred Sepoys, with
ten guns. On the 16th he halted at Paltee, on the Cossimbazar river
above its junction with the Jelingeer, and sent forward Major Eyre
Coote to secure the fort of Cutwa, twelve miles farther up, which
commanded the passage of the river. The governor of the fort was
one of the conspirators against Surajah Dowlah, but he met Coote's
overtures with defiance, and on the deployment of the British
force for attack set fire to the defences and retired together
with his garrison. Clive's force encamped in the plain of Cutwa
that night; but the behaviour of the Governor was calculated to
disquiet him, for Meer Jaffier's letters only reported vaguely that
he himself, though reconciled to the Nabob, intended none the less
to abide by the treaty with the British. Distrusting so ambiguous
a declaration Clive decided not to cross the river into what was
called the Island of Cossimbazar,[341] until his doubts should be
resolved. On the 20th further letters arrived from Meer Jaffier
tending somewhat to allay Clive's misgivings as to his good faith,
but holding out little hope of assistance in the coming operations;
while simultaneously there came a letter from one of Clive's agents
which gave some reason for doubting Meer Jaffier's sincerity. Much
perplexed Clive summoned a council of war, and put it to the twenty
officers therein assembled whether it would be better to cross the
river and attack the Nabob at all hazards, or to halt at Cutwa,
where supplies were abundant, until the close of the rainy season,
and meanwhile to invoke the assistance of the Mahrattas. He gave
his own opinion first in favour of remaining at Cutwa, and was
followed by thirteen of the officers, including so bold a soldier
as Kilpatrick. Coote and six more, however, gave their votes for
immediate action or return to Calcutta. Clive broke up the council,
retired alone into an adjoining grove for an hour, and on his
return issued orders to cross the river on the morrow.

[Sidenote: June 23.]

At sunrise of the 22nd the army began the passage of the river,
and by four in the afternoon it stood on the eastern bank. Here
another letter reached Clive from Meer Jaffier, giving information
as to the intended movements of the Nabob. Clive's answer was that
he should advance to Plassey at once, and on the following morning
to Daoodpoor, six miles beyond it; and that if Meer Jaffier failed
to meet him there, he would make peace with Surajah Dowlah. The
troops accordingly proceeded on their way, Europeans by water,
Sepoys by land; but owing to the slow progress of the boats against
the stream, it was one o'clock in the morning before they had
traversed the fifteen miles to the village of Plassey. Here they
were surprised to learn from the continued din of drums and cymbals
that the Nabob's army was close at hand; for they had expected to
meet with it farther north. Solaced by this rude music the men lay
down in a mango-grove to sleep; but the officers that slept were
few, and Clive was not one of them.

The grove of Plassey extended north and south for a length of
about half a mile, with a width of about three hundred yards. The
trees were planted in regular rows, and the whole was surrounded
by a slight bank and by a ditch beyond it, choked with weeds
and brambles. The grove lay at an acute angle to the river, the
northern corner being fifty yards and the southern two hundred
yards from the bank. A little to the northward of it and on the
edge of the river stood a hunting-house of the Nabob, surrounded
by a garden and wall. A mile to northward of this house the river
makes a huge bend to the south-west in the form of a horse-shoe,
containing a peninsula of about a mile in diameter, which shrinks
at its neck to a width of some five hundred yards from stream to
stream. About three hundred yards to south of this peninsula an
entrenchment had been thrown up, which ran for above a furlong
straight inland and parallel to the grove, and then turned off at
an obtuse angle to the north-eastward for about three miles. The
whole of the Nabob's army was encamped within this entrenchment
and the peninsula, and the angle itself was defended by a redoubt.
Some three hundred yards to the east of the redoubt, but outside
the entrenchment, stood a hillock covered with trees; half a mile
to southward of this hillock lay a small tank, and yet a hundred
yards farther south a second and much larger tank, both of them
surrounded by a mound of earth.

At dawn the Nabob's forces began to stream by many outlets from the
camp towards the grove, a mighty host of thirty-five thousand foot,
eighteen thousand horse, and fifty pieces of artillery. The cannon
were for the most part of large calibre and were carried, together
with their crews and ammunition, on large stages, which were tugged
by forty or fifty yoke of oxen in front and propelled by elephants
from behind. Forty or fifty French adventurers under M. St. Frais,
who had formerly been of the garrison of Chandernagore, took post
with four light field-guns at the larger tank, which was nearest to
the grove; while two heavy guns under a native officer were posted
to St. Frais's right and between him and the river. In support of
these advanced parties were five thousand horse and seven thousand
foot under the Nabob's most faithful general, Meer Murdeen. The
rest of the hostile army extended itself in a huge curve from the
hillock before the entrenchments to within half a mile of the
southern angle of the grove. Thus the British could not advance
against the force in their front without exposing themselves to
overwhelming attack on their right flank.

Clive watched these dispositions from the hunting-house, and was
surprised at the numbers and confidence of the enemy. But knowing
that his only chance was to assume a bold face, he drew his troops
out of the grove and formed them in a single line, with their
left resting on the hunting-house and their front towards the
nearest tank. The European battalion occupied the centre of the
line. It mustered on that day about seven hundred men, partly of
the Company's troops, since numbered the Hundred and First to the
Hundred and Third Regiments, and partly of the Thirty-ninth Foot,
while one hundred half-bred Portuguese also were ranked within it.
Three six-pounders were posted on each flank of this battalion,
manned by fifty men of the Royal Artillery and as many seamen; and
to right and left of these guns, twenty-one hundred Sepoys were
drawn up in two equal divisions. The line extended for six hundred
yards beyond the grove, but the enemy at this point was too remote
to fall upon the British flank before dispositions could be made
to meet them. Two more field-guns and two howitzers were posted
two hundred yards in advance of the left division of Sepoys, under
shelter of two brick-kilns. Therewith Clive's order of battle was
complete; and the handful of three thousand men stood up to meet
its fifty thousand enemies. Its strength lay in the group of white
faces in the centre, and the strength of that group lay in the will
of one man. It was the first time that British troops had faced
such odds; but it was not to be the last.

At eight o'clock the action was opened by the firing of one of
the French guns at the tank. The shot fell true, killing one man
and wounding another of the British grenadier-company. Then the
whole of the enemy's guns, from the tanks in front along the whole
vast sweep of the curving line, opened a heavy and continuous
fire. The British guns replied and with effect, but the loss of
one of Clive's soldiers was ill compensated for by the fall of
ten of the enemy; and after losing thirty men in the first half
hour of the cannonade Clive ordered the whole of his force to fall
back into the grove. So the little band of scarlet faced about,
passed into the trees and vanished from sight; while wild yells
of elation rose up from the enemies that ringed them about, and
their whole line closing in nearer upon the grove renewed the
cannonade with redoubled energy. The shot, however, did little
damage, for the British had been ordered to lie down; and Clive's
field-guns, firing through embrasures made in the bank, wrought
greater destruction, at the closer range, than before. So the duel
of artillery continued until eleven o'clock, when Clive called a
council of officers, and decided that it would be best to maintain
the position until nightfall, and at midnight to take the offensive
and attack the enemy's camp.

Then by chance nature interposed, as at Créçy, to change the whole
aspect of the fight. A heavy storm of rain swept over the plain,
drenching both armies to the skin. The British had tarpaulins
ready to cover their ammunition; but the enemy had taken no such
precaution, and consequently most of their powder was damaged.
Their fire began to slacken, while that of the British was as
lively as ever. Nevertheless, believing that his adversary must
be in the same predicament as himself, Meer Murdeen advanced
from the tank towards the grove to drive the British from it.
His troops were met by a deadly fire of grape, his cavalry was
dispersed and he himself mortally wounded. The news of his fall
shattered the shaken nerves of the unhappy Nabob, and in abject
despair he sent for Meer Jaffier and besought earnestly for his
help. He, the sovereign, flung his turban at the feet of his
subject and cried, "Jaffier, that turban you must defend." And
Jaffier, with the readiness of submissive gesture which graces
Oriental duplicity, bowed his head and laid his hands upon his
breast, swearing to render his utmost service. Then returning
to his fellow-conspirators he forthwith despatched a letter to
Clive, advising him to push forward at once, or at all events to
attack the Nabob before next dawn. The messenger was afraid to
deliver the letter while the fire continued; but Surajah Dowlah, as
though aware that no faithful counsellor was left to him, turned
to another of his leaders for help. This man, being also of the
conspirators, advised him to order the army to fall back within
the entrenchment and himself to retire to the capital, leaving
the issue of the fight to his Generals. The wretched Nabob acted
on this counsel, and mounting a camel set forth with an escort of
two thousand horse for Moorshedabad. Thus it was that at about two
o'clock the enemy's fire ceased, the teams were harnessed to the
guns, and the whole host turning about flowed back slowly towards
the entrenchments.

While all this was going forward, Clive, having resolved to make no
offensive movement before night, had retired to the hunting-house
to snatch a few minutes of sleep after the anxiety and fatigue of
the previous day. He was roused by a message from Major Kilpatrick
which brought him back speedily into the field. Despite the
withdrawal of the Nabob's army St. Frais and his little party
still held their position in the tank, and Kilpatrick, perceiving
that the position was one from which the enemy's flank could be
cannonaded during their retreat, sent word to Clive that he was
about to attack it. Clive, waked abruptly from sleep, sharply
reprimanded Kilpatrick for taking such a step without orders; but
presently seeing that the Major was right, he took command of his
two companies, and sending Kilpatrick to bring forward the rest of
the army, himself led the advance against the tank.

St. Frais, aware that he could hold his ground no longer, thereupon
limbered up, and retiring with perfect coolness to the redoubt at
the angle of the entrenchment, made ready for action once more.
Meanwhile, during the advance of the British, the southernmost
division of the Nabob's army was observed to be holding aloof
from the rest of the host and approaching nearer to the grove.
These were the troops of Meer Jaffier, but their movement was
misconstrued as a design upon the boats and baggage in the grove;
and accordingly three platoons and a field-gun were detached to
hold them in check. The division therefore retired slowly, but
still remained significantly apart from the remainder of the host.
But before this, the main body of the British had reached the
tank, and planting their artillery on the mound opened fire on the
enemy behind their entrenchments. Thereupon many of the Nabob's
troops faced about again and moved out into the plain to meet them;
the infantry opening a heavy fire, while the artillery likewise
wheeled about to enter the fight anew. In effect it was at this
moment that the true battle began, though the Nabob's force was
by this time without leader or general. Clive perceived that his
only chance was to press his attack home before the resistance to
him could assume any organised form. He therefore pushed forward
half of his infantry and artillery to the lesser tank, and the
remainder to some rising ground a furlong to the left of it, at
the same time detaching a hundred and fifty men to occupy a tank
close to the entrenchments and to keep up a fire of musketry upon
them. From these stations the firing was renewed at closer range
than before and with admirable efficiency. The enemy suffered great
loss, and the teams attached to their heavy artillery were so much
cut up that the guns could not be brought into action. Nevertheless
St. Frais's field-pieces at the redoubt were still well and
regularly served; and the enemy, though lacking leadership, were
able, under favour of the ground and of their immense superiority
in numbers, to carry on the fight with some spirit in their own
irregular fashion. The entrenchments themselves, the hillock to
eastward of the redoubt, and every hollow or coign of vantage,
were crammed with matchlockmen, while the cavalry hovered round,
threatening continually to charge, though always kept at a distance
by the British artillery. At length it dawned upon Clive that the
isolated division of the Nabob's army by the grove must be that of
Meer Jaffier, and that his flank and rear were safe. He resolved
therefore to cut matters short. Two parties were detached to make
simultaneous attack upon the redoubt on one side and the hillock on
the other, while the main body moved up between them in support.
The hillock was carried without the firing of a shot, and St.
Frais, perceiving that he was now wholly unsupported, abandoned his
guns and retired. At five o'clock the British were in possession of
the Nabob's entrenchments and camp, and the battle of Plassey was

From a military standpoint the action has comparatively little
interest, since the issue turned really on the good faith or, if
the term be preferred, the ill-faith of the leading conspirators
against Surajah Dowlah. The British could not advance until the
enemy retired; it was a shower of rain that silenced the Nabob's
artillery and began the discouragement which led to their retreat;
and even then the British commander needed to be waked out of sleep
to follow them. There were no such superb audacity of attack, no
such bloody struggle, no such triumph of discipline over numbers,
as were to be seen afterwards at Meeanee. The whole loss of the
British amounted to but seven Europeans and sixteen Sepoys killed,
thirteen Europeans and thirty-six Sepoys wounded. It was a small
price to pay for dominion over the provinces of Bengal, Orissa, and
Behar, for such and no less were the fruits of the victory. Yet it
is not by the mere tale of the slaughtered and the maimed that such
successes must be judged. The victory may have been easily won when
the moment came for the actual clash of arms; but the main point is
that the British were there to win it. The campaign of Plassey is
less a study of military skill than of the iron will and unshaken
nerve that could lead three thousand men against a host of unknown
strength, and hold them undaunted, a single slender line, within a
ring of fifty thousand enemies.

[Sidenote: June 24.]

[Sidenote: 1758.]

The day's work did not end with the capture of the camp. Eyre Coote
was sent forward with a detachment to keep the enemy moving, and
the army encamped for the night at Daoodpoor. On the following day
Meer Jaffier was saluted by Clive as Nabob of Bengal, Orissa, and
Behar, after which he hastened with his troops to Moorshedabad,
reaching the city on the same evening. Surajah Dowlah had fled
before his arrival, but parties were sent out at once in search of
him, and a few days later he was brought back and assassinated. On
the 29th Clive likewise entered the city and formally installed
Meer Jaffier on the throne. He then spent the succeeding months in
dividing the spoils of the victory, of which the troops received
no small share, and in securing that British interests should be
paramount in the new possessions, or, to use plain language, that
the Company should be the true sovereign and Meer Jaffier its
puppet. On this part of his task I shall for the present dwell no
further, except to mention that the agent selected by him to reside
at the Court of Meer Jaffier was a young man of five-and-twenty,
named Warren Hastings. The work was not fully accomplished for many
months, nor was it until the following May that Clive was able to
return to Calcutta, having left the greater number of his troops
at Cossimbazar to keep watch over Moorshedabad. A month before his
arrival events in Southern India had taken a ply which called for
the appointment of the ablest possible man as ruler of Bengal;
and in June Clive, at the request of the authorities at Calcutta,
assumed the office of President. Before long his hand will again be
seen busy in the direction of new conquests; but it is necessary
first to trace the course of events in Southern India.


[Sidenote: 1756.]

[Sidenote: Aug. 26.]

[Sidenote: 1757.]

[Sidenote: June.]

It might have seemed that, with the recall of Dupleix and the
dismissal of Bussy from the court of Salabad Jung, French
ascendency in India was already shaken to its foundations. Such,
however, was very far from the fact. On the news of Bussy's
withdrawal the French governors both at Pondicherry and at
Masulipatam had sent him reinforcements, which he contrived by
rare skill and daring to join to his own troops, and to use so
effectively that within three months of his dismissal he was
re-established at Hyderabad with all his former titles, dignities,
and honours. For the rest of the year he was fully occupied in the
reassertion of his position at the Viceroy's court and of French
influence in the Northern Sirkars, those provinces on the eastern
seaboard which, as will be remembered, should by the treaty of
1755 have been restored to their native owners. The most dangerous
enemy of the British, therefore, though not removed, was fully
employed over his own affairs during the year 1756. No sooner was
he free, however, than he was once again busy in mischief, reducing
Vizagapatam and the British factories on the Godavery, until new
intrigues at the Court of the Viceroy recalled him hurriedly to

[Sidenote: May.]

Still farther south, at Trichinopoly, matters remained for a
time comparatively quiet. Major Caillaud, who commanded the
garrison of the city, had received strict orders to abstain from
all hostilities; while the French, though still in occupation
of Seringham, had been so much weakened by the detachment of
reinforcements for the help of Bussy, that until December 1756
they ceased to be formidable. In the following February, however,
the dread of French intrigue at Madura and Tinnevelly had forced
Caillaud to lead an expedition to both of these districts; and
in April the necessity for collecting the revenues of the Nabob
Mohammed Ali led the authorities at Madras to send a further
expedition to Nellore on the river Pennar. This latter enterprise
was unsuccessful, but has a distinct interest of its own for that
it was entrusted to Lieutenant-Colonel Forde of the Thirty-ninth
Foot, an officer who was soon to win for his name a place beside
those of Clive and Lawrence. In this his first command, however,
he failed; and the French, though they had received orders to
attempt nothing before the arrival of reinforcements, could not
resist the temptation to take the field while the forces of
Madras were divided between two points so remote as Tinnevelly
and Nellore. M. d'Auteuil therefore seized the moment to collect
four thousand men, one-fourth of them Europeans, together with a
train of siege-artillery, and on the 14th of May appeared with this
force before Trichinopoly. The position of the British garrison
was never more critical during the whole course of the war than
at this moment. The best of the troops were absent with Caillaud;
and Captain Joseph Smith, who was left in command, had but seven
hundred Sepoys and less than two hundred English with which to
hold the fortifications and to guard five hundred French prisoners
who were still within the walls. D'Auteuil, thinking to capture
Trichinopoly at small cost, tried to scare Smith into surrender
by bombardment and by incessant petty attacks, but Smith was not
easily frightened and held his ground until the 25th. Then Caillaud
appeared, having hastened back with all speed from Madura, and by
extreme skill and perseverance passed his force by night unnoticed
through the midst of the French camp into the city. D'Auteuil
thereupon retired to Pondicherry, and Trichinopoly was once more in

[Sidenote: Sept.]

Meanwhile the authorities at Madras had initiated a diversion
in favour of Trichinopoly, to which the French answered by
reprisals in kind; but the operations were of little interest
or significance. In September a French squadron arrived which
disembarked one thousand regular troops; but even after the
arrival of this reinforcement the enemy's movements were of small
importance. Indeed their inactivity at this period was no less
surprising than welcome to the British, for the Presidency of
Madras, in the face of their superior numbers, had been obliged
to withdraw all its troops into garrison and to stand strictly
on the defensive. The secret of the French forbearance was that
the Governor of Pondicherry, having received positive orders
from France to await the arrival of further succours, was fain
to content himself with the reduction of a few of the outlying
forts of the Carnatic. Thus the campaign of 1757 closed with the
advantage to the French of the capture of Chittapett, a post thirty
miles south of Arcot, and to the British of the acquisition of

[Sidenote: 1758.]

[Sidenote: April.]

The year 1758 opened far more seriously for the British. At
daybreak on the 28th of April a fleet of twelve sail was seen
standing into the roadstead of Fort St. David and was presently
recognised to be French. This was the long-expected armament on
which the French had built all their hopes for the expulsion of
the British from India, and it had consumed nearly twelve months
in its passage. It had left Brest originally in March 1757 and had
been driven back by foul weather. Then two line-of-battle ships had
been taken from it for service in Canadian waters, and the squadron
had waited till May for their place to be supplied by two French
East Indiamen fitted out as ships of war. Then the Admiral, d'Aché,
for all that a British fleet was hurrying after him, loitered on
the voyage to Mauritius, and on leaving that island selected a
course which kept him three months on his passage to Coromandel.
At last, however, the squadron arrived in the roadstead of Fort
St. David, having lost by that time between three and four hundred
men through sickness. It carried on board Lally's regiment of
infantry and fifty European artillerymen, together with Count Lally
himself, who had been appointed to the supreme command of the
French in India. Lally de Tollendal, or to give him his real name,
O'Mullally of Tullindally (for he was of Irish extraction), was an
officer who had been of the Irish brigade in the French service,
and who enjoyed the credit of having suggested that movement of
the artillery which had shattered the British column to defeat at
Fontenoy. How far this training would avail him in India remained
still to be seen.

[Sidenote: April 29.]

Lally's instructions from Versailles directed him first to
besiege Fort St. David; and accordingly he himself sailed at once
with three ships from that roadstead to Pondicherry to give the
necessary orders, while the rest of the fleet worked down two
miles to southward and dropped anchor off Cuddalore. But now the
consequences of the long protraction of Admiral d'Aché's voyage
began to reveal themselves. Commodore Stevens, who had left England
with his squadron three months after him, had reached Madras five
weeks before him, and joining with Admiral Pocock's squadron in
the Hooghly had sailed with it on the 17th of April to intercept
d'Aché. Pocock having missed the French squadron on his voyage
south bore up to the northward, and on the morning of the 29th came
in sight of it at its moorings before Cuddalore. D'Aché at once
weighed anchor and stood out to sea; but owing to the heavy sailing
of some of the English vessels it was not until the afternoon that
Pocock could engage him, with seven ships against nine. The action
that ensued though indecisive was decidedly to the disadvantage of
the French. They lost six hundred men killed and wounded, while
one of their ships of the line was so badly damaged that she was
perforce run ashore and abandoned. The British ships lost little
over a hundred men, though on the other hand their rigging was
so much cut up that they were unable to pursue the enemy. Pocock
therefore returned to Madras to refit, while the French fleet
anchored some twenty miles north of Pondicherry in the roadstead of

[Sidenote: April 30.]

[Sidenote: May 1.]

[Sidenote: May 6.]

On the self-same day, under the energetic impulse of Lally, a
thousand Europeans and as many French Sepoys under Count d'Estaing
arrived before Fort St. David from Pondicherry and exchanged shots
with the garrison. On the morrow M. de Soupire joined d'Estaing
with additional troops and with siege-guns, and on the 1st of May
appeared Lally himself, who immediately detached a force under
d'Estaing against Cuddalore. The defences of this town were slight
and the garrison consisted of five companies of Sepoys only, which
were encumbered by the custody of fifty French prisoners. The fort
accordingly capitulated on the 4th of May, on condition that the
garrison should retire to Fort St. David with its arms, and that
the French prisoners should be transported to neutral ground in the
south until the fate of Fort St. David should be decided. Two days
later d'Aché's squadron anchored again before Fort St. David and
landed the troops from on board; and on the 15th the French began
the erection of their first battery for the siege.

[Sidenote: May 28.]

[Sidenote: June 2.]

Lally had now the considerable force of twenty-five hundred
Europeans and about the same number of Sepoys assembled before
the town; but his difficulties none the less were very great. The
authorities at Pondicherry were disloyal to him; the military
chest was absolutely empty; and, long though his arrival had
been expected, no preparation had been made for his transport
and supplies. In his impatience for action, for he dreaded the
return of Pocock from Madras, he had hurried the first detachment
forward to Cuddalore without any transport or supplies whatever,
with the result that the troops had been obliged to plunder the
suburbs for food. Now, since no other means seemed open to him,
he took the still more fatal step of impressing the natives for
the work of carriage, without respect to custom, prejudice, or
caste. For the moment, however, he was successful. The defences of
Fort St. David were respectable, but the garrison was too weak in
numbers to man them properly, and the quality of the troops was
remarkably poor. The Sepoys numbered about sixteen hundred and
the Europeans about six hundred; but of the latter less than half
were effective, while two hundred and fifty out of the whole were
sailors, recently landed from the frigates and most defective in
discipline. Major Polier, who was in command, made the mistake of
attempting to defend several outworks with an inadequate force,
instead of destroying them and retiring into the main fortress.
Lally was therefore able to drive the defenders from these outworks
piecemeal; and his success sufficed to scare nearly the whole of
the Sepoys into desertion. A ray of hope came for a moment to
the garrison with the news that Pocock's squadron had arrived at
Pondicherry on its way from Madras, and that the French sailors had
mutinied, refusing to put to sea until their wages were paid. But
Lally, always energetic, contrived to find the necessary funds,
and d'Aché set sail in time to prevent any communication between
the fleet and Fort St. David. Finally the fort, though not yet
breached, capitulated on the 2nd of June, and Lally's first great
object was gained.

[Sidenote: June 7.]

The fall of Fort St. David gave great alarm at Madras, and with
reason, for the defence had been discreditably feeble. Polier
had formerly proved himself in repeated actions to be a gallant
soldier; but making all allowance for the defects of his garrison,
his conduct was not such as was to be expected from a countryman of
Caillaud and a brother officer of Clive, Lawrence, and Kilpatrick.
Moreover, Lally was not a man to be content with a single success.
On the very day of the surrender he detached a force under
d'Estaing against Devicotah, which was perforce abandoned by the
British at his approach; and there was every reason to fear that
his energy would now be bent towards the capture of Madras. The
government therefore called in all its scattered garrisons in the
Carnatic, maintaining only that of Trichinopoly, and concentrated
them in Madras; thus adding two hundred and fifty Europeans and
twenty-five hundred Sepoys to the strength of that city. On this
same day Lally returned to Pondicherry with his army from Fort
St. David and made triumphant entry. _Te Deum_ was sung, and
thanksgiving was followed by banquets and festivities--all at a
time when the public treasury was empty.

[Sidenote: June 18.]

In fact, however Lally might long for it, there was no possibility
for him yet to attack Madras. D'Aché, declaring that his duty
summoned him to cruise off the coast of Ceylon, would not spare
the fleet to aid in the enterprise against the seat of British
power in the Carnatic, and actually sailed for the south on the 4th
of June. For a march overland upon Madras Lally's army required
equipment; and equipment meant money, which the authorities at
Pondicherry averred that they could not supply. Acting therefore on
the advice of a Jesuit priest, Lally resolved to march into Tanjore
and to extort the cash which he needed from the Rajah. The civil
authorities in alarm recalled d'Aché to protect Pondicherry, and
on the day following his arrival Lally ordered out sixteen hundred
European troops and a still larger number of Sepoys and started
with them for the south.

[Sidenote: June 25.]

The march was one long succession of blunders and misfortunes. The
harsh measures employed towards the natives on the advance to Fort
St. David had alienated every man of them from taking service with
the army; so the force started without transport. Gross excesses
committed by the French troops in plundering the country drove the
villagers to hide away all their cattle; hence neither transport
nor supplies were to be obtained on the march. The soldiers were
therefore of necessity turned loose to find provisions as best
they might, and their discipline, already seriously impaired, went
rapidly from bad to worse. When they entered Devicotah they had
not tasted food for twelve hours; and finding that only rice in
the husk awaited them there, they set fire to the huts within the
fort and went near to kindling the magazines. It was not until
they reached Carical, after traversing fully a hundred miles, that
the troops at last received a real meal. Fresh follies marked the
progress of the march. The town of Nagore was seized and its ransom
farmed out to the captain of the French hussars, a corps which had
only recently arrived in India and had distinguished itself above
all others by violence and pillage. Ammunition again, for even this
was not carried with the army, was extorted by force from the Dutch
settlements of Negapatam and Tranquebar. Finally, two pagodas of
peculiar sanctity were plundered, though to no advantage, and the
Brahmins were blown from the muzzles of guns. Lally's difficulties
were doubtless great, and his methods were those honoured and to
be honoured by his countrymen in many a campaign past and future;
but it is hard to understand how a man calling himself a soldier
could deliberately have led from three to four thousand men for
a distance of a hundred miles from his base without making the
slightest provision for its subsistence, or the least effort to
maintain its discipline.

[Sidenote: August.]

[Sidenote: Aug. 18.]

Lally's sins soon found him out. On his arrival at Carical seven
thousand Tanjorines under the Rajah's general, Monacjee, advanced
to Trivalore to oppose him; and this force was soon afterwards
swelled not only by native allies but by five hundred British
Sepoys and ten English gunners, who had been lent by Caillaud
from Trichinopoly. Monacjee fell back before Lally step by step
to the city of Tanjore, but his cavalry never ceased to harass
the French foraging-parties, to drive off the cattle which they
had collected, and to intercept supplies. Some days were spent in
fruitless negotiation, and on the 2nd of August Lally's batteries
opened fire on the city; whereupon Caillaud immediately sent to the
Rajah a further reinforcement of five hundred of his best Sepoys.
On the 8th disquieting intelligence reached Lally of the defeat of
a French squadron by the British, and of a British occupation of
Carical, the only port from which his army, already much distressed
by want of stores and ammunition, could possibly be relieved. On
the 10th, having with difficulty repelled a sortie of the garrison,
he raised the siege and retreated towards Carical, leaving three
heavy guns behind him. Instantly the Tanjorines were after him,
hovering about him on every side during his march, swooping down on
stragglers and cutting off supplies. The sufferings of the French
troops were frightful. It was only with the greatest difficulty
that Lally brought them through to Carical, to find on his arrival
that the British fleet was anchored at the mouth of the river.

[Sidenote: Aug. 28.]

[Sidenote: Sept.]

For on the 2nd of August Pocock had again engaged d'Aché, though
with inferior numbers, and after an action of two hours had so
battered the French squadron that it had crowded all sail to
escape and taken refuge under the guns of Pondicherry. Moreover,
d'Aché was so much disheartened that he not only refused to meet
the British again, but announced his intention of returning to
Mauritius. Lally had received intimation of this resolve during his
retreat to Carical, and had despatched Count d'Estaing to d'Aché
to protest against it. On arriving with his army at Pondicherry
from Carical he repeated his remonstrances, but in vain. D'Aché had
secured thirty thousand pounds by illegal capture of certain Dutch
ships in Pondicherry roads, and this he was content to leave with
his colleagues; but he was resolute as to his departure from the
coast, and on the 2nd of September he sailed away.

[Sidenote: Oct. 4.]

Whatever Lally's indignation against d'Aché for this desertion,
it must be confessed that his operations had been little more
successful than the Admiral's. He had injured both the health and
the discipline of his troops by the raid into Tanjore, and had
failed to extract more than a trifling sum from the Rajah. The
money taken by d'Aché, however, furnished him with sufficient funds
to initiate preparations for a march on Madras; and since the
British had seized the opportunity of his own absence to recapture
some of the scattered forts in the Carnatic, he despatched three
several expeditions to Trinomalee, Carangooly, and Trivatore
to clear the way to Arcot, ordering them to concentrate about
thirty-five miles south-east of Arcot, at Wandewash. The several
columns having done their work, he joined the united force in
person at Wandewash and marched with it on Arcot, which having no
British garrison surrendered without resistance. There now remained
but two posts in the occupation of the British between him and
Madras, Conjeveram on the direct road from Arcot to Madras, and
Chingleput on the river Paliar, neither of them strongly garrisoned
and both therefore easy of capture. Failing, however, to appreciate
the importance of these two forts, and finding that his stock of
ready money was exhausted, Lally sent his troops into cantonments,
and returned to Pondicherry to collect funds. Thereby he threw away
his last chance of worsting the British in India.

[Sidenote: Sept. 14.]

The authorities at Madras accepted his successes in the Carnatic
as the inevitable consequence of the fall of Fort St. David, and
were therefore little dismayed. Nevertheless the situation had been
apprehended to be serious; and early in August appeal had been made
to Bengal for assistance. It was refused. Clive was not indifferent
to the peril of the sister Presidency, but he had matured designs
of his own for a diversion in favour of the Carnatic, which, as
shall presently be seen, was brilliantly executed. Madras being
thus thrown on her own resources, the authorities resolved at the
end of August to recall Caillaud and all the European troops from
Trichinopoly, and to leave Captain Joseph Smith in charge of that
city with two thousand Sepoys only. After some inevitable delay
Caillaud embarked at Negapatam, and on the 25th of September
arrived safely with one hundred and eighty men at Madras. A few
days before, a still more welcome reinforcement had been received
in the shape of Colonel Draper's regiment,[342] eight hundred
and fifty strong, with Draper himself, lately an officer of the
First Guards, in command. Such an accession of strength made it
possible to profit by Lally's omission to capture Chingleput.
That post covered a district which, being rich in supplies, would
spare Madras the exhaustion of the stock which had been laid up
for the expected siege; and in view of its importance the troops
at Conjeveram were withdrawn to it, and the garrison gradually
strengthened to a force of one hundred Europeans and twelve
hundred Sepoys. Further, it was determined to hire a contingent of
Mahrattas and of Tanjorines so as to harass the enemy's convoys and
lines of communication during the siege.

[Sidenote: June 13.]

These preparations were well completed some time before Lally
was ready to move. That General was indeed concentrating all the
strength of France for his great effort against Madras, but in
blind pursuance of this object he had removed the most dangerous
enemy of the British from the post in which, of all others, he
would have been most formidable. In plain words, he had recalled
Bussy, with his army, from the court of Salabad Jung and from
the administration of the Deccan. Further, he had ordered him to
entrust the occupation of the Northern Sirkars to M. Conflans, an
officer who was only just arrived from Europe, together with the
smallest possible force that would enable him to maintain it. Bussy
obeyed, but in perplexity and despair; for it was hard for him to
abandon the work at which he had toiled for so long with unwearied
zeal and unvarying success; and it was scarcely to be expected that
he should feel cordially towards this new and impulsive commander
who, whatever his merits, possessed not a quarter of his own
ability. Lally on his side entertained decided antipathy towards
Bussy. He looked upon the French authorities in India generally as
a pack of rogues, wherein he was not far wrong, but in including
Bussy with the common herd he was very far from right. He therefore
treated Bussy's supplications to return to Hyderabad as designed
merely for the thwarting of his own enterprise, and disregarded
them accordingly. The junior officers of the army, with a sounder
appreciation of Bussy's powers, generously petitioned that he might
rank as their superior, to which request Lally, though with no
very good grace, was forced to accede. Thus, for one preliminary
disadvantage, there was little prospect of hearty accord and
co-operation in the French camp. Then there was the deficiency of
funds to be faced, which was only overcome by subscriptions from
the private purses of Lally and other officers; though Bussy,
the wealthiest of all, declined, if Lally is to be believed, to
contribute a farthing. Finally, there were endless troubles over
the matter of transport, for which Lally had no one but himself to
thank; and, what with one embarrassment and another, it was the end
of November before the French troops were fairly on the march for

[Sidenote: Dec.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 13.]

Lally's force comprised in all twenty-three hundred Europeans,
both horse and foot, and five thousand Sepoys. The main body
moved from Arcot along the direct road by Conjeveram, and a large
detachment followed the bank of the Paliar upon Chingleput. Lally
in person joined this latter column on the 4th of December, but
having reconnoitred Chingleput decided to leave it in his rear,
and to continue his march northward to Madras. The defending force
collected by the British in that city amounted to seventeen hundred
and fifty Europeans and twenty-two hundred Sepoys, the whole under
command of Colonel Stringer Lawrence. The Colonel drew the greater
part of these troops into the field to watch the French movements,
failing back slowly before them as they advanced; and on the 13th
Lally's entire force encamped in the plain, rather more than a
mile to south-west of Fort St. George. Nearer approach to the fort
was barred by two rivers, the more northerly of them, called the
Triplicane, entering the sea about a thousand yards south of the
glacis; the other, known as the North River, washing the actual
foot of the glacis, but turning from thence abruptly southward
to join the Triplicane and flow with it into the sea. Lally
therefore passed round to the other side of Fort St. George, the
British evacuating the outer posts before him as he advanced, and
established himself in the Black Town on the north-western front
of the fort, and thence along its northern side to the sea. With
his right thus resting on the town and his left on the beach, he
prepared to open the siege of Madras.

[Sidenote: Dec. 14.]

The Black Town was rich, and the French troops, with the
indiscipline now become habitual to them, fell at once to
indiscriminate plunder, with the result that in a short time a
great many of them were reeling drunk. Colonel Draper thereupon
proposed a sortie in force, and the suggestion was approved as
tending to raise the spirit of the garrison. Accordingly, at eleven
o'clock on the following morning, Draper with five hundred men and
two guns marched out from the western ravelin of the fort, and
holding his course westward for some distance turned north into
the streets of the Black Town to attack the French right, while
Major Brereton with another hundred men followed a route parallel
to him, but nearer to the fort, in order to cover his retreat. By
some mistake Draper's black drummers began to beat the Grenadiers'
March directly they entered the town, and so gave the alarm. The
French formed in a cross street to receive the attack, but in the
confusion mistook the line of the British advance and awaited them
at the head of the wrong street, too far to the westward. Draper
therefore came up full on their left flank, poured in a volley,
and bringing up his guns opened fire with grape. In a few minutes
the whole of the French had taken refuge in the adjoining houses,
and Draper, ordering his guns to cease fire, rushed forward to
secure four cannon which the French had brought with them. The
French officer in charge of them offered to surrender both himself
and his guns, when Draper, looking behind him, found that he was
followed by but four men, the rest having, like the enemy, fled for
shelter to the houses. Had the British done their duty Draper's
attack would probably have put an end to the siege then and there;
but as things were, the French, hearing the guns cease, quickly
rallied, and streaming out of the houses in superior numbers opened
a destructive fire. Draper was obliged to abandon the guns and
order a retreat, the French following after him in hot pursuit. His
position was critical, for he could not retire by the route of his
advance, but was obliged to take a road leading to the northern
face of the fort. The way was blocked by a stagnant arm of the
North River with but one bridge; and it lay within the power of
Lally's regiment, on the left of the French position, to reach this
bridge before him and so to cut off his retreat. Bussy, however,
who was in command on the French left, either through jealousy,
or possibly because his men were too much intoxicated to move,
took no advantage of this opportunity. Brereton came up in time
to cover Draper's retreat, and the British re-entered the fort in
safety. They had lost over two hundred men in killed, wounded,
and prisoners in this abortive attack; and though the French had
suffered as great a loss, yet they were victorious whereas the
British were demoralised. Had Lally's regiment done its duty Madras
would probably have fallen in a few days. So ended an episode most
thoroughly discreditable to both parties.

[Sidenote: 1759.]

[Sidenote: Jan.]

[Sidenote: Feb.]

[Sidenote: Feb. 9.]

[Sidenote: Feb. 17.]

Lally now began the construction of batteries over against the
north and north-western fronts of the fort, from the Black Town
to the sea. Meanwhile Caillaud was despatched to Tanjore to
obtain troops from the Rajah; and Captain Preston, who commanded
the garrison at Chingleput, never ceased to harass the French by
constant petty attacks and threatening of their communications.
At length, on the 2nd of January, the French batteries opened
fire, which they continued throughout the month, but with no very
great effect. The indiscipline which Lally had permitted during
his earlier operations told heavily upon the efficiency of the
besieging force; and everything moved slowly and with friction.
At length, on the 30th of January, a British ship arrived to
hearten the garrison with ammunition and specie, both of which
were sorely needed; and on the 7th of February Caillaud, after
endless difficulties at Tanjore, joined Preston at Chingleput and
increased his force by thirteen hundred Sepoys and two thousand
Tanjorine horse. Though half of the Sepoys and the whole of the
horse were worth little, yet this growth of numbers in his rear,
and the knowledge that Pocock's squadron was on its way from Bombay
to relieve Madras, forced Lally to take strong measures against
Chingleput. Accordingly, on the 9th of February, he detached a
force of nine hundred Europeans, twelve hundred Sepoys and five
hundred native horse, with eight field-pieces, to attack Caillaud
in earnest. The action was hot, and Caillaud only with the greatest
difficulty succeeded in holding his own; but ultimately the French
were repulsed, and Chingleput, that terrible thorn, remained still
rankling in Lally's side. His position was now desperate. Supplies,
money, ammunition, all were failing, and his troops, both native
and European, were melting away by desertion. He had succeeded in
battering a breach in the fort, but his officers were averse to
attempt an assault. Finally, on the 16th the arrival of Pocock's
squadron, at once relieving Madras and threatening Pondicherry,
brought his darling project to an end. By the morning of the 17th
he was in full march for Arcot, leaving fifty-two guns, all his
stores and ammunition, and forty sick and wounded men behind him.

So ended the siege of Madras, the last offensive movement of the
French in India. It had cost the garrison thirty-three officers,
five hundred and eighty Europeans and three hundred Sepoys killed,
wounded and prisoners, while over four hundred more of the Sepoys
had deserted. Happily Pocock's squadron brought reinforcements
which made good the loss of Europeans. The casualties in the
French army remain unknown, but, whether they were considerable
or not, the survivors were at any rate demoralised. Lally
retired with bitter rage in his heart against the authorities at
Pondicherry, to whose apathy and self-seeking he attributed his
failure. Doubtless if they had seconded his efforts loyally and
truly, his difficulties would have been infinitely less, and his
chances of success proportionately greater. But even if the hasty
and masterful temper which estranged them from him be excused,
nothing can palliate his two cardinal errors as a soldier; first,
the omission to secure Chingleput while yet the capture was easy,
and secondly the neglect to enforce discipline among all ranks of
his army. Violence without strength, energy without foresight,
imperiousness without ascendency--such are not the qualities that
go to make a great leader in the field.

[Sidenote: 1758.]

And meanwhile the counterstroke prepared by Clive had fallen
once and was about to fall again with redoubled force. Affairs
in Bengal in the autumn of 1758 stood on no very sure footing.
Meer Jaffier was not wholly resigned to his puppet-hood; but
his nobles were disaffected, his treasury was empty, and he was
threatened on his northern frontier by invasion from Oude; so
he was obliged reluctantly to throw himself upon the protection
of Clive. So unstable a condition of affairs presented no ideal
moment for weakening the small force on which British influence in
those provinces might depend; but Clive, perceiving that Bussy's
withdrawal from Hyderabad gave him a chance to substitute British
for French ascendency at the court of the Deccan, determined at
all hazards to seize it. The ruler of one district of the Northern
Sirkars, the Rajah Anunderaj, had already risen in revolt against
the French, seized Vizagapatam, and appealed to Madras for
assistance. An agent was sent to concert operations with him; and
Clive, making up a force of five hundred European infantry and
artillery, one hundred Lascars and two thousand Sepoys, together
with six field-guns and as many battering pieces, shipped them off
from Calcutta at the end of September. The command was entrusted to
Lieutenant-Colonel Forde.

[Sidenote: Dec.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 9.]

The voyage was protracted by foul weather, and it was not until
the 20th of October that the expedition reached Vizagapatam, from
which it marched to join Anunderaj's troops at Cossimcotah. Here
more delay was caused by the unwillingness of the Rajah to fulfil
his engagement to pay the British troops; but at length on the
1st of December the force advanced and on the 3rd came in sight
of the enemy, who were encamped forty miles north of Rajahmundry
within sight of the fort of Peddapore and astride of the high
road to the south. The French force, which was commanded by M.
Conflans, consisted of five hundred Europeans, six thousand Sepoys
and a quantity of native levies. Forde's army, on his side, had
received the accession of five hundred worthless horse and a
rabble of five thousand foot, chiefly armed with pikes and bows,
which represented the contingent of Anunderaj. On the 6th Forde
advanced along the high road to within four miles of Conflans, but
each officer thought the other too strong to be attacked. Inaction
continued until the 8th, when both commanders simultaneously
framed independent designs for extricating themselves from the
deadlock. Conflans's plan was to send six guns with a sufficient
force to a height which commanded the British camp, and which
Forde had omitted to occupy. Forde, for his part, had decided to
make a detour of three miles to Condore, from which he could turn
Conflans's position and regain the high road to Rajahmundry. At
four o'clock on the morning of the 9th, accordingly, Forde marched
away with his own troops only, while the Rajah's army, which
though warned was unready to move, remained in the camp. Forde
had not proceeded far before he heard the sound of Conflans's
guns in his rear and received piteous messages from the Rajah for
assistance. Turning back he met the Rajah's rabble in full flight
and rallied them; after which the whole force pursued its march and
at eight o'clock arrived at Condore.

Conflans, flattering himself that he had defeated Forde's entire
army, followed him quickly, with the idea of preventing his return
to his former camp; and in his haste to advance allowed his line to
fall into disorder. His European battalion was in his centre, with
thirteen field-pieces distributed on its flanks, while his right
and left wings were composed each of three thousand Sepoys with
some unwieldly native cannon. Forde formed his line in much the
same order. In his centre he posted the British, now represented by
the Hundred-and-First and Hundred-and-Second Foot, with six guns on
their flanks, and his Sepoys, in two divisions each of nine hundred
men, on either wing; and he bade the Rajah's troops keep out of the
way in the rear. He then advanced under a heavy cannonade from the
enemy for some distance before Condore, and halted with his centre
in rear of a field of Indian corn, which entirely concealed the
Europeans, but left the Sepoys uncovered on the plain on either
hand. These Sepoys, being from Bengal, were dressed in scarlet
instead of in the white clothing worn by their brethren in the
hotter climate of the south. The French had never seen the scarlet
except on the bodies of European troops, and Forde was fully aware
of the fact; for he ordered the Sepoys to furl the old-fashioned
Company flags, which they still carried, as also their regimental
colours, that they might be the more easily mistaken for a regular
battalion of British.

In the ardour of their advance the enemy's infantry out-marched
their guns and moved forward without them. Their line, from its
superiority in numbers, far outflanked the British on both wings;
but as it drew nearer, the French battalion in the centre suddenly
inclined to the right towards Forde's left wing of Sepoys. Conflans
had swallowed the bait laid for him by Forde. The French battalion
evidently mistook the Sepoys for Europeans, for before engaging
them it dressed its ranks, and then opened fire by platoons at
a distance of two hundred yards. Long though this range was for
the old musket, the Sepoys seeing Europeans in front and natives
menacing their flank hardly stood to deliver a feeble volley, but
immediately broke, despite all the efforts of Forde, and fled away
pursued by the enemy's horse. Conflans at once detached several
platoons of his Europeans to join in the pursuit; when to his
dismay a second line of scarlet filed steadily up from behind the
Indian corn to the ground whereon the Sepoys had stood, halted and
fronted as coolly as if on parade, and then with equal coolness
opened fire by volleys of divisions from the left.[343] The first
volley brought down half of the French grenadiers, and by the time
that the fifth and last division had pulled trigger the whole of
Conflans's European battalion was broken up, and flying back in
disorder to its guns, half a mile in rear.

Forde, unable to curb the eagerness of his men, allowed them to
pursue in succession of divisions, the left leading; but every
division marched too fast to preserve order excepting the fourth,
which was kept well in hand by Captain Yorke as a rallying-point
in case of mishap. But no mishap was to come. The French rallied
behind their cannon, but had not time to fire more than a round
or two when the British fell upon them, drove them from their
batteries and captured every gun. The Sepoys and native levies
of the French made little or no stand after the defeat of their
Europeans, and the British Sepoys of the right, together with
some rallied fugitives from the left, advanced to join their
victorious comrades. No sooner were they come than Forde made
fresh dispositions, and marched on without losing a moment to
attack Conflans's camp. The remnants of the French battalion,
which were posted in a hollow way before it, made some faint show
of resistance; but seeing the British guns coming forward, turned
to the right about and fled, with the British in hot pursuit.
Many of the fugitives threw down their arms and surrendered; the
rest, together with the remainder of the French army, ran away in
hopeless confusion. Conflans, after sending off his military chest
and four field-guns, jumped on a horse and galloped away, not
stopping except to change horses till he reached Rajahmundry, forty
miles distant. Of his Europeans seventy-six officers and men were
killed, many wounded, and fifty-six taken. Thirty cannon, seven
mortars, and the whole of his baggage and transport were captured.
The British loss amounted to no more than forty Europeans and over
two hundred Sepoys killed and wounded. Had the Rajah's cavalry
been of the slightest value, the losses of the French would have
been far greater; but Forde's promptness in following up his first
success made his victory sufficiently complete. This brilliant
little action marked the rise of yet another great leader among the
British in India.

[Sidenote: Dec. 10.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 11.]

The British battalion being much fatigued was halted after the
engagement in the French camp, but on the same evening Captain Knox
with the right wing of Sepoys was sent forward to Rajahmundry. On
the following day a further reinforcement of Sepoys joined him;
and the French, still under the influence of panic, evacuated
the fort. Knox at once entered it, and turning the guns on to
the fugitives, though far out of range, set them running once
more. Thus Rajahmundry, the gate and barrier of the district of
Vizagapatam, passed into the hands of the British, with all its
artillery, ammunition, and stores. Forde arrived there with the
rest of the army on the 11th, eager to pursue his success by an
advance on Masulipatam. This, the most important town and the
centre of French influence in the province, was doubly important
to the enemy as a base from which they might at any time recover
their lost territory. Forde, however, was in want of money, for
which he had relied on the promises of Anunderaj. The Rajah, as is
the way of his kind, now refused either to supply funds or to set
his rabble in motion to accompany him. At length after six weeks
of negotiation this deplorable potentate was induced, partly by
favourable terms of repayment, partly by a severe fright, to fulfil
his undertaking; but fifty precious days had been lost, and the
French had gained time to recover themselves.

[Sidenote: 1759.]

[Sidenote: Feb.]

[Sidenote: March.]

On the 28th of January Forde resumed his march, and on the 6th of
February occupied Ellore, forty-eight miles north of Masulipatam.
Here again he was compelled to halt by the dilatoriness of the
Rajah in sending forward supplies; but he was not on that account
idle. Conflans, having got the better of his panic after Condore,
had replaced garrisons in Narsipore and Concal, two outlying
strongholds to the north of Masulipatam, and had organised an army
of observation, consisting of two hundred and fifty Europeans and
two thousand Sepoys, under M. du Rocher. The dispositions of this
latter force were so faulty as to leave Narsipore in isolation,
and Forde lost no time in sending Captain Knox with a detachment
of Sepoys to capture it. The French commander of the post was no
sooner warned of Knox's approach then he evacuated Narsipore and
joined the army of du Rocher. Then came more delay; and it was
the 1st of March before Forde was again able to move. Two days
later Concal was taken, though most gallantly defended by a French
sergeant; and on the 6th Forde came in sight of Masulipatam.
Conflans occupied a strong position before the town, which he might
have held with advantage; but his heart failed him, and he retired
within the fortifications.

[Sidenote: March 7-25.]

[Sidenote: March 27.]

[Sidenote: April 1.]

The defences of Masulipatam had been improved by the French since
their entry into possession in 1751, and now formed an irregular
parallelogram, open on the south side, where a broad estuary
furnished sufficient natural protection, and closed on the three
other sides by mud walls faced with brick and strengthened by
eleven bastions: there was also a wet ditch and a narrow palisaded
space between ditch and parapet, but no glacis. On the landward
side the fort was surrounded everywhere by a heavy swamp, the road
to the town being carried on a causeway to the main gate on the
north-west front. This causeway was covered for a distance of a
hundred and twenty yards from the wall by a parapet ending in a
ravelin, which commanded the whole length of the road. The only
sound ground within reach of the fort was to be found on some
sandhills to east and west of it; of which those on the eastern
side, being within eight hundred yards of the wall, were selected
by Forde for his position. Regular approaches for a formal siege
were out of the question for so small a force, so Forde was fain
to begin the erection of batteries on the sandhills, to play
on the works from thence as best they could. The whole of the
eighteen ensuing days were devoted to the work of construction, the
siege-guns being landed from ships which had followed the movements
of the army along the coast. During this short period it seemed as
though fate had laid itself out to raise every possible obstacle
against Forde's success. No sooner had he invested Masulipatam
than du Rocher's army of observation woke to sudden activity,
and moved round upon Rajahmundry and the British communications
with the north. The officer in charge of that fort, being unable
to make any defence, was obliged to send away to safer custody a
large sum in specie which had been received from Bengal; and thus
Forde's supply of ready money was cut off. Du Rocher then advanced
a little to the northward of Rajahmundry, vowing vengeance against
Anunderaj's country, and so terrified the pusillanimous Rajah
that he declined to employ either his money or his credit for the
service of the British army. Forde was left absolutely penniless.
He had already borrowed all the prize-money of his officers
and even of his men, and knew not whither to turn for cash for
the payment of his troops. The soldiers became apprehensive and
discontented, and on the 19th the whole of the Europeans turned
out with their arms in open mutiny, and threatened to march away.
With great difficulty Forde persuaded them to return; and the men,
once conciliated, went back to work with all their former ardour.
But the batteries had not been completed two days when news arrived
that the Viceroy, Salabad Jung, was arrived at the river Kistnah,
not more than forty miles away, with an army of forty thousand men,
to expel the intruders who had dared to invade the provinces under
his suzerainty. Messengers arrived from him requiring Anunderaj to
quit the British immediately and to repair to his standard; and
the terrified Rajah actually started to return to his own country.
He was only with difficulty recalled by Forde's representations
that his one chance of retreat was to remain with the British. In
the faint hope of gaining time Forde proposed to open negotiations
with Salabad Jung, who to his great relief consented to receive his
emissary and undertook for the present to advance no farther. Here,
therefore, was a respite, though not such as could be counted on
for long endurance.

[Sidenote: April 6.]

Meanwhile, ever since the 25th of March, Forde's batteries had
maintained a hot fire; and, though the damage done to the works by
day had been regularly repaired by the besieged at night, three
of the bastions had been sufficiently ruined to give foothold to
a storming party. But now the weather changed, and on the 5th
of April the southern monsoon broke with a flood of rain that
soaked the morass around the fort to its deepest. On the morrow
the storm ceased, but the day was ushered in by the gloomiest of
tidings for Forde. Salabad Jung was advancing from the Kistnah,
and du Rocher was on the point of junction with him. Finally, on
the same evening, the artillery-officers reported that but two
days ammunition was left for the batteries. Here, therefore,
was the climax. Before Forde was a fortress with a garrison of
greater strength than his own army; behind him was a force which
outnumbered his own by more than ten to one; his communications
were cut, and his ammunition and his funds were exhausted. It was
open to him to embark and retire ignominiously by sea, or to stake
all on a single desperate venture. He chose the bolder course and
resolved to storm the fort.

During the progress of the siege it had been remarked that at the
south-western corner of the fort, adjoining the sound, no ditch had
been constructed; the ground without being a mere waste of mire,
which might well be accounted a more difficult obstacle than any
ditch. Natives, however, had more than once been seen traversing
this quagmire; and Captains Yorke and Knox on making trial of it
found it to be stiff and heavy indeed, but not more than knee-deep.
This, therefore, was a point at which at least a false attack
could be made, and Forde resolved to take advantage of it. Another
point at which a feint might be directed was the ravelin outside
the main gate. The true attack must of necessity be delivered
against the front which had been damaged by the batteries; and
the north-east bastion, known as the Chameleon, was the place
selected. The necessary dispositions were quickly settled. The
Rajah's troops were some of them to guard the camp, and the rest to
make a demonstration against the ravelin. Captain Knox with seven
hundred Sepoys was to conduct the feint attack upon the south-west
angle, and the remainder of the troops were detailed for the true
assault on the Chameleon bastion. The Europeans, who numbered but
three hundred and forty-six, including the gunners, and thirty
sailors borrowed from the ships, were told off into two divisions,
the first under Captain Callendar, the second under Captain Yorke;
while of the seven hundred remaining Sepoys part formed a third
division under Captain Macleane, and the remainder a reserve under
Forde himself. It was ordered that both the true and false attacks
should begin simultaneously at midnight, when the tide would be at
ebb and no more than three feet of water in the ditch; and the last
stroke of the gongs within the fort was to be the signal for the
storming parties to advance.

[Sidenote: April 7.]

[Sidenote: April 8.]

All through daylight of the 7th of April the British batteries
maintained a fierce fire, playing impartially upon the three
bastions of the eastern front. At length night came to silence the
guns, and at ten o'clock the troops fell in for the assault. Knox
having the longer distance to traverse was the first to move off,
and his column presently disappeared into the darkness. The minutes
flew by, and the time came for the advance of the European troops;
but Captain Callendar, the leader of the first division, was not
to be found. There was anxious enquiry and search, but the missing
officer could not be discovered; and at length, after a precious
half-hour had been lost, Captain Fischer took his place and the
column marched off without him. The men were still struggling
through the morass towards the Chameleon bastion when the sound
of firing told them that Knox, punctual to a second, had opened
his false attack. Quickening their speed as best they might, they
plunged heavily on, knee-deep in mire over the swamp, waist-deep
in mud and water through the ditch; when, just as Fischer's column
reached the palisade, a sharp fire from the breach and from the
bastions on either hand showed that they were discovered. All
the more eagerly Fischer's men hewed and hacked at the palisade;
while Yorke's division engaged the St. John's bastion to his left
and Macleane the Small-gate bastion to his right. The men fell
fast, but presently the palisades were cleared away, and the
first division swarming up the breach swept the French out of the
Chameleon bastion. Fischer halted for the arrival of Yorke with the
second division, and then the two officers parted, Fischer to the
right to clear the northern, and Yorke to the left to clear the
eastern face of the fort.

Finding a field-gun with its ammunition in the Chameleon bastion,
Yorke at once trained it along the rampart to southward, and
was preparing to follow in the same direction himself, when he
observed a party of French Sepoys advancing between the rampart
and the buildings of the town to reinforce the Chameleon bastion.
Instantly he ran down, and seizing the officer at their head
bade them lay down their arms and surrender. Startled beyond all
thought of resistance they obeyed, and were at once sent back to
the captured bastion; while Yorke, taking the way by which they had
advanced, pressed on against the St. John's bastion. The French
guard, which had sought shelter within the angles from the raking
fire of Yorke's field-gun, fired upon him and struck down not a
few of his men, but surrendered immediately afterwards. They too
were sent back to the Chameleon bastion, where the Sepoys took
charge of them; and Yorke pursued his way to the next bastion
to southward, named the Dutch bastion, where the same scene was
repeated and a fresh consignment of prisoners was sent back to the
custody of the Sepoys. The François bastion, the most southerly of
all, alone remained untaken, and Yorke was eager to prosecute his
success; but now the men hung back. The division had been not a
little thinned by previous losses and by the detachment of guards
for prisoners and for the captured bastions; and the handful of
men that remained with the Captain began to wonder where such work
was going to end. By threats and exhortations Yorke after a time
induced them to follow him; but while passing an expense-magazine
a little way beyond the Dutch bastion, one of the men caught
sight of powder-barrels within it and cried out "A mine, a mine."
Immediately every man rushed back in panic to the Chameleon
bastion; and Yorke was left alone, with his black drummers by his
side vainly beating the Grenadiers' March. Fortunately the guards
in the captured bastions stood fast; and Yorke returning to the
fugitives, who were on the point of leaving the fort, stopped the
panic by threatening death to the first man who attempted to run.
Rallying thirty-six men he went back to complete his work; but the
delay had given the French in the François bastion time to train a
gun upon the line of his advance. Waiting until his party was come
within close range they fired, killed sixteen of them outright and
wounded several more, including Yorke himself, who was brought to
the ground with a ball in each thigh. The survivors picked him up
and carried him off; but with his fall the attack in that quarter
came, for the time, to an end.

Fischer meanwhile had been even more successful on the northern
front. He cleared the two first bastions without difficulty, and on
reaching the third, by the causeway, seized the gate and cut off
the troops in the ravelin from the fort. Captain Callendar, the
missing officer, suddenly appeared, no man knew from whence, in
the middle of the affair, but was instantly shot dead; and Fischer
was still pushing on, when he received orders from Forde to halt.
Conflans throughout the attack had remained by the south front
of the fort, quite at his wits' end, and adding to the general
confusion by a succession of contradictory orders. Knox's attack
distracted him on one side, the Rajah's troops made an unearthly
din by the ravelin, and the true assault on the eastern front
fairly broke his spirits down. At the very moment when Yorke's
men were returning discomfited from the François bastion, he sent
a messenger to Forde, offering to surrender on honourable terms.
Forde was far too shrewd to betray his own weakness. He replied
that he could hear of nothing but surrender at discretion; and
Conflans, concluding his position to be hopeless, acceded. Five
hundred Europeans and two thousand French Sepoys laid down their
arms, and the British were masters of Masulipatam.

So ended this daring and marvellous adventure, with the loss to
the British of but eighty-six Europeans and two hundred Sepoys
killed and wounded. Salabad Jung was within fifteen miles, and du
Rocher even nearer at the time of the assault; but the victory was
sufficient to paralyse them also. The Viceroy quickly consented
to open negotiations, and though he haggled, after the manner of
his race, for a whole month, finally concluded a treaty whereby
he granted to the British eighty miles of the coast, and engaged
himself not only never to entertain French troops again, but even
to compel such as remained to evacuate the Sirkars. Thus not only
was the district secured, but French influence was displaced in
favour of British at the court of Hyderabad. Such were the prizes
gained by the will, resource, and resolution of one man, who had
strength to rend the toils that fate had woven about him just when
they seemed to have closed upon him for ever.


[Sidenote: 1759.]

[Sidenote: March.]

Lally's failure before Madras could not fail to raise British
reputation and to depress that of the French; and sundry petty
chieftains who had long been wavering in the Carnatic, now threw
in their lot definitely with the victors. Nevertheless the British
success could be but negative unless the territory adjacent to
Madras were at once recovered and protected; and to this task
the authorities wisely addressed themselves without delay. The
reinforcements which had already arrived, together with two
companies lately returned from Bengal, left the British with a
force of eleven hundred Europeans, fifteen hundred Sepoys, and
three thousand native irregulars fit to take the field; but, owing
to the difficulty of collecting transport and supplies, the troops
were not in a position to advance until the 6th of March. Meanwhile
Lally had moved his army eastward from Arcot to Conjeveram, whence
he returned himself to Pondicherry, leaving M. de Soupire in
command with orders not to risk a general action. On the British
side also the command had changed hands owing to the failing health
both of Draper and of Lawrence, and had passed to Major Brereton of
Draper's regiment.

[Sidenote: April 6.]

[Sidenote: April 15.]

For fully three weeks the two hostile armies remained in sight
of each other, de Soupire waiting to be attacked, and Brereton
rightly declining to engage him except on the open plain. The
capture of Conjeveram was important to the British, since the fort
would cover such districts as they had already regained, and so
liberate their army for service farther afield. At length Brereton
determined to dislodge de Soupire, if possible, by threatening his
communications south of the Paliar; so marching upon Wandewash, the
most important French station between Madras and Pondicherry, he
broke ground before it as if for a formal siege. De Soupire made no
attempt to follow him, but finding himself pressed for money and
supplies left a small garrison in Conjeveram and retired to Arcot,
well content to be able to reach it without hazard of an action.
Brereton thereupon made a forced march upon Conjeveram, and before
de Soupire was aware that he had moved from Wandewash, had taken
the fort, with little difficulty, by storm.

[Sidenote: June.]

Lally, who at the news of the siege of Wandewash had advanced
northward from Pondicherry, halted on hearing of the capture of
Conjeveram, and finally took up a position seven miles to westward
of the fortress. There Major Monson, who had taken the command
from Brereton, thrice offered him battle; but Lally declined, and
after a few weeks withdrew from the field, distributing his troops
into cantonments at Arcot, Covrepauk, Carangooly, and Chittapett.
In truth his army was rapidly going from bad to worse. A recent
exchange of prisoners had restored to him five hundred French
soldiers, who, having lived an idle and by no means uncomfortable
life in custody of the British for five years, were very far from
eager to resume hard work in the field. Their discontent soon
extended itself to their comrades, and spread not the less rapidly
since all alike were irregularly paid. Indeed, the garrisons both
at Arcot and Covrepauk offered to betray these stations to the
British for money, though, their hearts failing them at the last
moment, they renounced their bargain. But events had begun to turn
steadily against the French, while the British gathered strength on
every side. At the end of June two hundred recruits arrived from
England, and brought news that Colonel Eyre Coote was likewise on
his way to Madras with his own battalion, one thousand strong,
which had been lately raised in England. Brereton, who was once
again in command, seized the opportunity afforded by his own
strength and by French disaffection to make a dash upon Covrepauk,
which surrendered almost without resistance. The flood-tide of
British power was crawling slowly but surely to the south.

[Sidenote: July.]

Meanwhile disquieting symptoms had been observed in another
quarter, from which British influence had for some years suffered
little trouble. There was intelligence of a Dutch armament fitting
out at Batavia for the Bay of Bengal, which, although nominally
designed merely to reinforce the Dutch garrisons, could not, from
the known jealousy of the Dutch over the British successes in
Bengal, be credited with any very friendly intentions. Admiral
Pocock, who was cruising off Pondicherry in daily expectation of
a French squadron, had already picked up transports with five
companies of Coote's regiment, and had received permission to keep
these troops to man his ships pending the engagement, for which
he waited, with Admiral d'Aché. A sight of the Dutch fleet at
Negapatam, however, convinced him that the troops would be needed
ashore; and he accordingly sent them to Madras, recommending that
at least a part of them should be forwarded to Bengal. It will
presently be seen that Pocock acted with admirable judgment and

[Sidenote: August.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 10.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 26.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 29.]

This complication added not a little to the anxiety of the British,
though some relief was afforded by news of Lally's continued
troubles with his troops. At the beginning of August his own
regiment, which was in garrison at Chittapett, broke into open
mutiny and marched out of the fort with the avowed intention of
joining the British. Their officers followed them, and by promises
to discharge the arrears of their pay, now several months overdue,
succeeded in conciliating most of them; but sixty men persisted in
their resolution and deliberately carried it out. The authorities
at Madras seized the moment to order an advance on Wandewash;
but before the troops could march there came fresh important
intelligence. D'Aché had arrived off the coast and had for the
third time been engaged by Pocock; and the action though severe
had ended indecisively in the retirement of the French squadron to
Pondicherry. It was therefore uncertain what reinforcements might
have been landed for the defence of Wandewash; besides which,
as a further ground for caution, there were uncomfortable signs
of renewed French intrigue at Hyderabad. But Brereton, knowing
that Eyre Coote must shortly arrive to take the command from him,
was burning to advance; and the authorities had not the heart to
bid him halt. Accordingly, after some delay owing to heavy rain,
Brereton marched from Conjeveram, with fifteen hundred European and
twenty-five hundred native infantry, besides cavalry and artillery,
and, misled by false information as to the strength of the French
garrison, attacked Wandewash with a thousand British only. Though
successful at the outset he was eventually repulsed with a loss of
two hundred men. The reverse was unfortunate at so critical a time,
but luckily was insufficient to shake the confidence of the British
troops in themselves.

[Sidenote: Nov.]

In any case, moreover, Lally was in no position to take advantage
of his success. D'Aché, though personally a brave man, was so
much chagrined by his third failure that he sailed, in defiance
of all protests, to Mauritius, leaving Pocock master of the sea.
His desertion was a hard blow to Lally, for the indiscipline of
his troops was ever increasing. In despair of help from other
quarters he reverted to that from which he had at first so hastily
withdrawn, the court of Hyderabad; though affairs there had altered
greatly since the departure of Bussy. Salabad Jung had been won to
the British cause by the storm of Masulipatam; his brother Nizam
Ali had always been Bussy's worst enemy; but there was still a
third brother, Basalut Jung, who hated his brethren and had shown a
friendly disposition towards Pondicherry. Him Bussy now approached
with the offer of the Nabobship of the Carnatic, if he would join
the French with a body of native troops. The terms were agreed
upon; Basalut Jung began to advance along the Pennar; and Bussy was
on his way to him with five hundred Europeans, when he was recalled
by the outbreak of a dangerous mutiny of the garrison which he had
left behind him at Wandewash. Turning back, he succeeded by payment
of six months' arrears in reducing the men to obedience; but the
incident was fatal to his negotiations with Basalut Jung; and after
a few days of fruitless haggling he returned to Arcot, with no
accession to his force but a few irregular levies of horse and foot.

[Sidenote: Nov. 24.]

[Sidenote: Nov. 29.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 12.]

Foiled in this direction Lally in despair determined to make a
diversion in the south, and sent a force of nine hundred Europeans
and a thousand Sepoys under M. Crillon to alarm Trichinopoly,
while he himself marched northward to join Bussy at Arcot. Crillon
duly succeeded in capturing the island of Seringham, and left a
battalion of French there to keep the city in awe; but Lally's
rash division of his force between points so distant as Arcot and
Trichinopoly gave the British an opportunity which they did not
fail to grasp. Coote with the remainder of his regiment, in all six
hundred men, had arrived at Madras, and though compelled to send
two hundred men forthwith to Bengal, had been able to make good
the deficiency with about the same number of exchanged prisoners
who had arrived from Pondicherry. On the 21st of November Coote
arrived at the British camp at Conjeveram, where he was joined
two days later by the newly arrived troops. He had already made
up his mind to attack Wandewash; but to conceal his intentions
he despatched one detachment under Brereton to seize the fort of
Trivatore on the road, sent another detachment with the heavy
artillery to Chingleput, and himself marched upon Arcot. Brereton
captured Trivatore without difficulty, and advancing forthwith upon
Wandewash drove in the French outposts and began to construct
batteries. Coote thereupon joined him instantly by forced marches;
on the 29th his batteries opened, and on the same day Wandewash
surrendered. Without delay Coote pushed on to Carangooly,
five-and-thirty miles to eastward, and took that also after a few
days of siege. Then calling in all detachments to him, he on the
12th of December reunited his entire force at Wandewash.

[Sidenote: Dec. 19.]

Now Lally perceived the evil consequences of his diversion in the
south. The capture of Wandewash and of the other posts retrieved at
once any reputation that the British might have lost by Crillon's
success at Seringham, while the possession of these forts was a
solid gain to his enemy. He therefore hastily recalled Crillon,
bidding him leave three hundred men only in Seringham and join him
with the rest of his troops at Arcot. Meanwhile Bussy's irregular
horse from that city spread desolation on the north of the Paliar
to within twenty miles of Madras itself. The terror of these
marauding bands drove all the natives from the open country to
take refuge in the hills; and Coote, who had moved up to within a
few miles of Arcot, as if to intercept Crillon on his march, was
compelled by lack of supplies and inclement weather to cross the
Paliar and distribute his troops into cantonments. So ended for the
present the disjointed and indecisive operations in the Carnatic
for the year 1759.

[Sidenote: Oct.]

[Sidenote: Nov.]

During these latter months any hope that Lally might have built
on diversion of the British forces to Bengal by the menaces of
the Dutch, had already been dashed to the ground. The Dutch
armament, so much suspected of Pocock, had sailed to the mouth of
the Hooghly in October; and Meer Jaffier, weary of his subjection
and dependence, had gone to Calcutta to concert with them the
overthrow of the British in Bengal. The Dutch force consisted of
seven hundred Europeans and eight hundred trained Malays on board
the fleet; while at Chinsura, their settlement on the Hooghly,
there were one hundred and fifty Dutch soldiers, as well as
native levies, which by Meer Jaffier's connivance and help were
daily increasing in number. To meet this danger Clive could
raise in and about Calcutta but three hundred and thirty men of
the Hundred-and-First, and twelve hundred Sepoys; but he was a
man accustomed to face heavy odds. Summoning to him every man
that could be spared from outlying stations, he called out the
militia for the defence of Calcutta, organised two tiny bodies of
volunteers, both horse and foot, ordered the British ships to sail
up the Hooghly, and strengthened the batteries that commanded the
river. At the beginning of November Forde and Knox arrived fresh
from the triumph of Masulipatam, in time to furnish Clive with
two admirable commanders. To Knox was assigned the command of the
batteries, and to Forde that of the troops in the field.

[Sidenote: Nov. 24.]

In the second week of November the Dutch addressed a long letter
of remonstrance and complaint to Calcutta, and shortly afterwards
followed it up by seizing some small British vessels and burning
the British agent's house at Fulta; after which they weighed anchor
and stood up the river. Clive thereupon ordered Forde to move
forward by Serampore upon Chinsura. Forde started accordingly with
one hundred of the Hundred-and-First, four hundred Sepoys and four
guns, and on the 23rd encamped in the suburbs of Chandernagore,
three miles distant from Chinsura. The Dutch on the same evening
sent one hundred and twenty Europeans and three hundred Sepoys from
Chinsura to take up a position in the ruins of Chandernagore and
bar his further advance. These Forde attacked and utterly defeated
on the following morning, capturing their guns and pursuing them
to the walls of Chinsura. Thus one part of the Dutch force was
disposed of, which, had it waited for the co-operation of the
troops on the river might have placed Forde between two fires.

On the evening of the fight Knox joined the Colonel and raised
his force to three hundred and twenty European infantry, fifty
volunteer cavalry, eight hundred Sepoys, and one hundred native
cavalry; with which Forde faced about to deal with the rest of
the enemy. The Dutch squadron, for want of pilots, had moved but
slowly up the river, but on the 21st it anchored just below the
British batteries, and landed the troops on the western bank,
with orders to march to Chinsura; which done, the ships dropped
down the stream again to Melancholy Point. There on the following
day Clive's armed East Indiamen under Captain Wilson attacked
them, three ships against seven, and captured six of them on the
spot, leaving only one to escape and to fall an easy prey to two
British men-of-war that had arrived at the mouth of the river. This
splendid little action cut off the Dutch troops from their base
and ensured that any reverse must be fatal to them. Nor was that
reverse long in coming. On the same evening Forde learned that the
Dutch army would come up with him on the morrow, and wrote to Clive
for instructions. Clive was playing whist when the letter reached
him. He put down his cards, and without leaving the table wrote on
the back of the letter, "Dear Forde, fight them immediately. I will
send you the Order in Council to-morrow." Then taking up his hand
again, he went on with the game.

[Sidenote: Nov. 25.]

Accordingly early in the morning of the 25th Forde took up a
position midway between Chandernagore and Chinsura and astride of
the road that connects them. His right rested on the village of
Badara and his left on a mango-grove, both of which he occupied;
while his front was covered by a broad, deep ravine behind which he
posted his four guns. About ten o'clock the Dutch forces were seen
approaching over the plain; and as soon as they were within range
Forde's artillery opened fire. The Dutch advanced none the less
with great firmness, until to their dismay they found themselves
stopped by the ravine, of which they knew nothing. The leading
files perforce halted abruptly, while the rear, not understanding
the cause, pushed on and threw the whole body into confusion.
Forde continued to ply them with artillery and musketry until they
wavered, and then seized the moment to hurl his handful of European
cavalry at them. This threw them into still greater disorder;
and the native horse charging in their turn completed the rout.
The entire force of the enemy, excepting sixty Dutchmen and two
hundred and fifty Malays, was killed, wounded, or taken; and the
Dutch settlements, humbled to the dust, sued not only for mercy
but for protection. Clive used his opportunity so to shackle them
that they could never again threaten British supremacy in Bengal;
and the Dutch in Europe, being in alliance with England, disavowed
the action of their fleet and paid compensation for the damage
that it had done. Thus, far from diverting British troops from the
principal conflict, the Dutch expedition served only to strengthen
the foundations of British ascendency by the ruin of a still older
rival than the French. In such fashion could Clive and Forde wrench
profit out of adversity.

[Sidenote: 1760.]

[Sidenote: Jan. 8.]

[Sidenote: Jan. 13.]

[Sidenote: Jan. 15.]

[Sidenote: Jan. 21.]

The death-blow to French rivalry also was now near at hand. On the
8th of January Crillon's force reached Arcot; and in the evening
of the 11th, after three days of manœuvring, Lally divided his
army into two columns, and leaving Bussy with one of them at
Trivatore, made a forced march with the other upon Conjeveram. So
effectively had his Mahratta cavalry screened his movements that
Coote knew nothing of them, until he received a message from the
officer commanding at Conjeveram itself. He at once made a forced
march to save the fort, but on arriving found that Lally had been
content with the plunder of the town and had marched to rejoin
Bussy at Trivatore. Taking five hundred Europeans, a thousand
Sepoys, and six hundred and fifty French and Mahratta horse, Lally
left Trivatore on the 14th and marched on Wandewash, which had been
his true object from the first. Coote received intelligence of his
departure on the same evening, and on the following day marched
also by the direct road to the same point. Lally meanwhile, anxious
to recapture the post before Coote's arrival, had in the morning
of the 15th attacked a small British detachment in the southern
suburb and driven it with some difficulty into the fort; after
which he began to erect batteries against the walls. On the 17th he
learned from Bussy that Coote was advancing against him; by which
time the British had actually arrived at Outramalore, about fifteen
miles to north-east of Wandewash. Here Coote halted, being secure
of his communications with Chingleput and Madras, and resolved
not to risk an action until the French were ready to assault the
fort. The French works meanwhile progressed but slowly; and it was
not until the 20th that the batteries opened fire, Bussy's column
having meanwhile joined Lally from Trivatore. On the next day Coote
advanced to within seven miles of Wandewash, and on the 22nd,
having directed that the rest of the army should immediately follow
him, he went forward at sunrise with his cavalry to reconnoitre.

[Sidenote: Jan. 22.]

About seven o'clock Coote's advanced guard struck against an
advanced party of Lally's native horse; and presently three
thousand Mahratta cavalry came swarming over the plain in his
front. Coote brought up a couple of guns masked behind his own
cavalry, and wheeling his squadrons outwards, right and left, when
within close range, opened a fire which sent the Mahrattas flying
back with heavy loss. Then halting the main body of his army he
went forward to examine the French camp. He found it marked out
in two lines about two miles to the east of the fort and facing
eastward, the left flank of each line being covered by a large
tank. In advance of their left front were two smaller tanks, of
which the foremost had been turned into an entrenchment and armed
with cannon, so as to enfilade the whole front of the camp and
command the plain beyond it. Leaving the advanced guard halted
where it stood, he returned and brought up his main army, formed
in two lines, in order of battle before the camp. Finding after a
short halt that no notice was taken by Lally, he caused the whole
force to file to its right across the French front towards the foot
of a mountain, which stood about two miles to northward of the
fort. As soon as the leading files had reached some stony ground,
impassable by cavalry, close to the mountain's base, Coote again
halted and fronted, at a distance of about a mile and a half from
the enemy. Seeing that this movement also passed unnoticed, he
ordered the army to file along the skirt of the mountain round the
French left flank. By thus coasting the hill until he came opposite
to the fort he would be able to form his line with his left resting
on the mountain and his right covered by the fire of the fort, thus
at once securing communications with the garrison and threatening
the French flank and rear.

Before this masterly manœuvre could be fully completed, Lally came
hurriedly out of his camp; and presently the whole of the French
army was observed to be in motion. Coote thereupon desisted from
his movement round their left flank, halted his filing columns,
and fronting them to the left, formed his line of battle obliquely
to the enemy. Lally was thus compelled to cancel his preconcerted
dispositions, to change front from east to north-east, and, while
still resting his left on the entrenched tank, to move forward
his right in order to bring his line parallel to that of the
British.[344] None the less this tank remained the pivot of his
position. His army was formed in a single line in the following
order. On the extreme right were three hundred European cavalry;
next to them stood Regiment Lorraine, four hundred strong; next to
Lorraine the European Regiment of India formed the centre; and to
the left of the centre stood Regiment Lally with its left flank
resting on the entrenched tank, the entrenchment itself being
manned by marines, with four guns. Three guns were also posted
between the tank and Lally's regiment, and as many more in the
intervals between the different corps of the line, making sixteen
guns in all. The smaller tank, which by the change of disposition
was now in rear of the entrenched tank, was held by four hundred
native infantry; while nine hundred Sepoys were ranged on a ridge
before the camp. The total force drawn out for the action amounted
to twenty-two hundred and fifty Europeans,[345] cavalry and
infantry, and thirteen hundred Sepoys; some five hundred men more
of both nationalities being left in the batteries before Wandewash.
The Mahratta horse, having tasted the fire of the British artillery
earlier in the day, had no relish for further share in the action.

Coote's army was drawn up in three lines. The first line was
composed of four European battalions, with a battalion of nine
hundred Sepoys on either flank. Of the Europeans, Draper's regiment
held the right; the Hundred-and-Second, in two weak battalions, the
centre; and Coote's the left. Three field-guns were posted in the
intervals on each flank of Draper's and of Coote's, and two more
with an escort of two companies of Sepoys were detached a little
in advance of the left of the first line. The second line was
made up of three hundred European grenadiers in the centre, with
a fieldpiece and a body of two hundred Sepoys on each flank. The
third line consisted entirely of cavalry, eighty Europeans forming
the centre, with natives on either flank. The total force in the
field was nineteen hundred and eighty Europeans, twenty-one hundred
Sepoys, and twelve hundred and fifty native horse, with sixteen

In this order the British advanced; but before they arrived within
cannon-shot Lally caught up his squadron of European hussars,
and making a wide sweep over the plain came down with it upon
the cavalry in the British third line. Coote's native cavalry at
once broke and fled away, and the left divisions of Sepoys, while
changing front to meet the attack, showed signs of wavering; but
the weak squadron of British horse stood firm, and the two detached
guns of the left front under Captain Barker coming into action
at short range in the nick of time, brought down ten or fifteen
men and horses at their first fire. The French horse thereupon
broke despite all Lally's efforts to stop them, and would not be
rallied until they had galloped far to the rear. During this attack
the British halted, while the French batteries fired wildly and
unsteadily with grape, though their enemy was not yet within range
of round shot. Coote coolly continued his advance until his guns
could play effectively, and then opened a most destructive fire.
Lally finding his men impatient under the punishment placed himself
at their head, and gave the word to move forward. Coote thereupon
halted the whole of his force excepting the Europeans of the first
and second lines, and advanced to meet him with these alone. Like
Forde at Condore he staked everything on the defeat of the French
regular troops.

Coote, true to the English rule, intended to reserve his volley
for close range; but some few Africans who were mingled in the
ranks of the British opened fire without command, and this disorder
was only with difficulty prevented from spreading to the whole
line. Coote, galloping from right to left of the line, actually
received two or three bullets through his clothes. Order being
restored, he took up his station on the left by his own regiment;
and at about one o'clock the fire of musketry became general.
Coote's regiment had fired but two rounds, when Lally formed
Regiment Lorraine on the French right into a column of twelve men
abreast, and ordered it to charge with the bayonet. Anticipating
Wellington's tactics of a later day Coote met column with line,
reserved his fire until the French were within fifty yards, and
then poured in a volley which tore the front and flanks of Lorraine
to tatters. None the less the gallant Frenchmen, unchecked by
their losses, pressed on the faster; and in another minute the two
regiments had closed and were fighting furiously hand to hand.
The column broke by sheer weight through the small fragment of
line opposed to it; but the remainder of Coote's closed instantly
upon its flanks; and after a short struggle Lorraine, already much
shattered by the volley, broke up in confusion and ran back to the
camp, with the British in hot pursuit, carrying dismay into the
ranks of the Sepoys. Coote paused only to order his regiment to be
reformed, and galloped away to see how things fared with Draper on
the right.

As he passed, a flash and a dense cloud of smoke shot up from the
entrenched tank, followed by a roar which rose loud above the
din of battle. A lucky shot from the British guns had blown up a
tumbril of French ammunition. The commander of the entrenchment
was killed, eighty of his men were slain or disabled around him,
and the rest of his force, abandoning the guns, fled in panic to
the French right, followed by the Sepoys from the smaller tank in
rear. Coote instantly ordered Draper's regiment to advance and
occupy the entrenchment; but Bussy, who commanded on the French
left, brought forward Lally's regiment to threaten their flank as
they advanced, and forced them to fetch a compass and file away to
their right. Bussy thus gained time to rally some of the fugitives
and to re-occupy the tank with a couple of platoons; but Draper's
men, with Major Brereton at their head, moved too fast to allow
him to complete his dispositions, and coming down impetuously
upon the north face of the tank swept the French headlong out of
it. Brereton fell mortally wounded in the attack, but bade his
men leave him and push on. The leading files hurried round to
the southern face of the tank, opened fire on the gunners posted
between Lally's regiment and the parapet, and drove them from their
guns; while the rest hurriedly formed up on their left to resist
any attempt upon the eastern face. Bussy did all that a gallant man
could do, but the odds were too great for him; and he could hope
for no help, since all the rest of the line was hotly engaged. He
wheeled Lally's regiment round at right angles to the line to meet
the fire on its flank, and detached a couple of platoons from his
left against the western face of the tank; but his men shrank from
the British fire and would not come to close quarters. Then two of
Draper's guns came up, and opening on the right flank of Lally's
regiment raked it through and through. As a last chance Bussy
placed himself at the head of his wavering troops and led them
straight at the southern face of the tank; but his horse was shot
under him, and on looking round he saw but twenty men following
him, the rest having no heart for the conflict. Two platoons of
Draper's at once doubled round to cut them off, while Major Monson
came up with part of the grenadiers of the second line to support
Draper's attack. Bussy and his devoted little band were surrounded
and made prisoners, and the whole of Lally's regiment was captured
or dispersed.

The battalions of the centre on both sides had throughout kept up
a continual fire at long range; but when the French Regiment of
India perceived both its flanks to be uncovered, it faced about
and retreated, hastily indeed but in good order. Lally had some
time before attempted to bring forward the Sepoys from the ridge,
but they had refused to move; and the Mahrattas took themselves
off when they saw how the day was going. Nothing was left to Lally
but his few squadrons of French horse, which came forward nobly to
save his army. A few men of Regiment Lorraine, heartened by their
appearance, harnessed the teams to three field-guns and joined with
the cavalry in covering the retreat. The British squadron was too
weak to attack, and Coote's native horse refused to face the French
cavalry; so Lally was able to set fire to his camp, collect the men
from his batteries, and to retire in better order than his officers
had dared to hope.

None the less the victory was sufficiently complete. Two hundred
of the Frenchmen lay dead on the field, as many more were wounded,
and one hundred and sixty were taken, so that Lally's loss amounted
to close on six hundred Europeans. Besides this, twenty-four guns
were taken, together with all the tents, stores, and baggage that
remained unburnt. Against this the British had lost but sixty-three
killed and one hundred and twenty-four wounded, Draper's being the
regiment that suffered most severely. The native troops had few
casualties, for practically none but Europeans were engaged. The
speedy defeat of the French was doubtless due to the explosion
which gave away the key of their position; and there can be no
question but that this fortunate accident immensely simplified
Coote's task for him. On the other hand, it may be asked why,
seeing that this tank was the key of the position, Lally should
have garrisoned it with sailors and marines, the worst instead of
the best of his troops. It is improbable that, even without this
stroke of luck, the ultimate issue of the action could have been
different, especially if Lally's own figures as to the strength
of his own force be accepted as correct. It is plain that he
felt no great confidence in his troops, and that his distrust was
justified. His cavalry would not stand by him in his first attack
on Coote's rear; his artillery was unsteady; he did not venture
to attack the British infantry except with column against line;
he seems to have advanced in the first instance chiefly because
his men chafed under the fire of the British artillery; and his
attack on Coote's left was not only a failure in itself but took
all the heart out of his Sepoys. Coote, on the other hand, felt
perfect reliance on his troops, and proved it by advancing finally
with his infantry only, leaving his guns to follow as they could.
Moreover, he had the choicest of his troops, the grenadiers, still
in reserve at the close of the action; so that it would have been
open to him, after the defeat of Lorraine, to have turned these or
his own regiment upon the flank of the French battalions in the
centre, and to have rolled up their line from right to left instead
of from left to right. In fact, from the moment that he forced
Lally to come out and fight, the superiority of his troops assured
him of victory; and it is probable that Lally himself was painfully
aware of the fact. The tragic fate of the French commander a few
years later made him an object of compassion to foe and friend,
but it is plain that the disaster of Wandewash was principally of
his own making. Bussy had begged him to desist from the siege on
Coote's approach, but he would not, and was therefore unable to
oppose his full strength to his enemy. Finally, though he wished to
decline any engagement except a direct attack on his camp, he was
out-manœuvred and compelled to fight on his adversary's terms. In
the face of such facts, whatever our sympathy with a gallant and
unfortunate man, it is idle to ascribe his defeat to mere accident,
although that defeat was a mortal blow to French domination in

[Sidenote: Jan. 29.]

[Sidenote: Feb. 9.]

[Sidenote: Feb. 29.]

[Sidenote: April 5.]

Lally on the next day fell back to Chittapett, and sending the
Mahrattas and native troops to Arcot retired to Gingee to cover
Pondicherry. Coote on learning of his withdrawal from Chittapett
determined to attack that post, while yet he might, with his whole
army; and after a few hours' cannonade compelled it to surrender.
Then instead of following Lally up further, he bent himself, after
the fashion of Amherst, to systematic reduction of all the minor
posts held by the French. Arcot, the first object chosen, fell
after a siege of a few days; Timery, a few miles to south-east
of Arcot, fell at the same time; Trinomalee surrendered on the
last day of February; Permacoil and Alumparva were taken after
some resistance early in March. Coote, however, was wounded at
Permacoil; and the capture of Carical, the one French station
left on the coast, was entrusted to Major Monson, who speedily
effected it with the help of Admiral Cornish's squadron, which had
arrived on the coast six weeks before. The possession of Carical
was of importance, since, being an outlet from the rich country of
Tanjore, it could have kept Pondicherry supplied with provisions;
while it was also a port wherein a French squadron could obtain
not only victuals but also intelligence before proceeding to
Pondicherry. Lally, amid all his preparations for defence, in his
heart gave up the capital for lost after its fall.

[Sidenote: July 17.]

[Sidenote: August.]

On the 7th of April Coote re-assumed command, and drawing a chain
of posts around Pondicherry from Alumparva to Chillumbrum, closed
in slowly upon the doomed city. Lally had allowed him to capture
far too many of his men piecemeal in different garrisons; but
he now called in all French troops from Trichinopoly and other
posts in the south, and entered into an agreement with Hyder Ali,
then commander of the forces at Mysore, engaging to concede large
tracts of territory in return for the services of eight thousand
men. This accession of strength to the enemy hampered Coote not a
little for the moment, the more so since a detachment which he sent
to check the advance of the Mysoreans was totally defeated. But
the relief to Lally was short-lived; for dearth of provisions and
unwillingness to be attached to the losing side soon caused his
new allies to withdraw. Even so, however, the British force was
not strong enough to undertake a regular siege of Pondicherry, and
Coote was obliged to content himself with a mere blockade.

[Sidenote: Sept. 2.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 4.]

[Sidenote: 1761.]

[Sidenote: April 5.]

At length reinforcements arrived for the Company's troops, together
with half a regiment of Morris's Highlanders[346] under Major
Hector Munro. Three men-of-war also came with the transports,
raising the squadron before Pondicherry to seventeen sail. Lally,
rightly guessing that more vigorous operations would follow on this
increase of the British force, devised a plan of extreme skill and
daring for the surprise of their camp; but fortune was as usual
against him. His combinations miscarried; and his troops after
showing conspicuous gallantry were repulsed. From that day the end
drew rapidly near. Coote indeed forsook the siege for a time on
finding that Colonel Monson had been promoted over his head, but
was soon obliged to take command again on the disabling of Monson
by a wound. It would be of no profit to linger over the dying agony
of Pondicherry. Lally, despite shameful disloyalty and opposition
from the civil authorities, resolved to fight on to the end,
trusting that d'Aché might come with his squadron to his relief;
and his regular troops worked for him with a fidelity and devotion
worthy of the best traditions of France. Once there came a gleam
of hope. On the last day of 1760 a sudden hurricane burst over the
city and harbour which overwhelmed three of the British ships with
all hands on board, drove three more of them ashore, and ruined all
the works of the besiegers. But the surviving ships returned within
a week to resume the blockade, and no d'Aché arrived to interrupt
them. The British works were repaired and pushed forward; and on
the 15th of January the garrison, being on the brink of starvation,
surrendered. A few weeks sufficed to reduce the few isolated
fortresses which were still held by French garrisons; and on the
5th of April the white flag of the Bourbons had ceased to fly in

So after fifteen years of strange vicissitude ended the long
struggle of French and English for empire in the East. That the
result was due as much to the shortcomings of the French Government
as to the prowess of her adversary is unquestionable; for the
corruption and mismanagement both at Versailles and at Pondicherry
were sufficient to wreck any empire. Still the failure of the
French was due to something more than mere maladministration.
Though no people is so patriotic where the soil of their own
country is at stake, Frenchmen once passed across the sea appear
to be cursed with a fatal tendency to jealousy, distrust, and
disunion. In Canada as in India the same forces were always at
work to undermine French influence and neutralise French success.
Individual Frenchmen are found wielding vast power and authority
with consummate ability; yet such men are always alone; not one
of them can command the loyal service of his countrymen. Even
Dupleix, the Napoleon of India, was thwarted at every turn by his
subordinates; for Bussy may be considered to have held practically
an independent command. Again, setting aside individuals of
brilliant talent, the general average of capacity was lower on the
French side. It may have been that ability was by some strange
coincidence absent; or that commanders had no power or were too
jealous to select the ablest of their subordinates for important
work; or indeed that capable subalterns found the acceptance of a
great trust too thankless at the hands of such superiors. In any
case the result remains the same. There are Dupleix, Bussy, and
Paradis on one side, and on the other Clive, Saunders, Lawrence,
Forde, Coote, Brereton, Caillaud, Kilpatrick, Knox,--captains,
lieutenants and ensigns innumerable, all prepared to accept
independent command and yet to work loyally for the common cause.
Before long there will have to be told a story of administrative
cupidity and corruption in Calcutta as shameful as ever disgraced
Pondicherry; and yet always young officers come forward to
undertake the most perilous work and to carry it to a successful
end. Such a contrast points to a distinction between the two
nations which is more deeply rooted than in mere accidents of
administration. Partly no doubt the victory of the British was due
to the traditions that kept archer and man-at-arms together at
Crecy, and may be ascribed to peculiarities of social and political
organisation. But beyond this there appears to be something in
the national character which makes it difficult for a Frenchman,
outside the borders of France, to assume high station without
dangerous exaggeration of his self-esteem; while the Briton, for
all his energetic and imperious nature, has the grim humour and the
deep melancholy of his kind, ever whispering to him of the vanity
of great place.

  AUTHORITIES.--Orme's _Military Transactions_ continues to be the
  chief authority though it unfortunately closes without giving
  account of Forde's action at Badara. The actions of Wandewash,
  Condore and Badara are described at length in Colonel Malleson's
  _Decisive Battles of India_, where the authorities are quoted.
  The French side of the story is presented by the same author
  in his _History of the French in India_, based chiefly on the
  memoirs of Lally and Bussy. Wilks's _History of Mysore_, the
  _Memoirs of Stringer Lawrence_, and the _Biographies of Clive_ by
  Malleson and Malcolm are also of value.

[Illustration: TRICHINOPOLY.]

[Illustration: COVREPAUK, Feb. 3/14 1752.]

[Illustration: PLASSEY, June 23^{rd} 1757.]

[Illustration: WANDEWASH, 22^{nd} Jan. 1760.]

[Illustration: MASULIPATAM, The Assault of 8^{th} April 1759.

  _Walker & Boutall del._      _To face Page 474._


For convenience of arrangement I have followed the conquests both
of Canada and of India without interruption to their close. In
the earlier stages of the war, when England had not yet succeeded
in obtaining for herself the minister that she desired, it was
possible and in the fitness of narrative to turn from enterprise
to enterprise, fitfully undertaken, insufficiently provided for,
and committed to the wrong hands for execution; since all were
symptoms of one organic disorder. While the heart of England beat
weak, palpitating and intermittent, it could not but fail to drive
the blood to the extremities, and leave them cold and paralysed.
But when, under the treatment of Pitt, the heart revives and throbs
with strength and regularity, then we can watch member after member
tingling with new life and waking to new power; and the action of
each may be traced independently, for while their energy continues,
it is certain that the heart must be vigorous and sound. Since,
however, that work is now done, it behoves us to return, after long
digression, to England and to Pitt, and to take up the study where
it was laid down, in the spring of 1759.

[Sidenote: 1759.]

With the mighty enterprises, even now not yet wholly told, of
that year in memory, it is remarkable to note that the estimates
for 1759 showed little sign of what was to come. The British
Establishment was set down at but eighty-five thousand men, or
one thousand more than in the previous year; and the fact is the
more extraordinary in that, ever since the previous winter, the
French had been preparing for an invasion of Great Britain at
three different points with sixty-three thousand men. Vast numbers
of flat-bottomed boats had been collected at Dunkirk, Brest and
Havre de Grace; and the menace was serious, for the regular troops
left in England were but few, and the country was crowded with
French prisoners. Pitt, while reposing his chief trust in the navy,
was sufficiently disquieted in January to offer special terms to
recruits who would enlist for short service within the kingdom
only; and in May he called out the newly-embodied militia. Yet
only two new regiments of regulars were raised during the first
half of the year. The first of these, Eyre Coote's, has already
been seen at Wandewash; the second demands lengthier notice since
it signified a new departure. Mention has already been made of the
addition of light troops to certain regiments of cavalry: it was
now determined to form a complete regiment of Light Dragoons; which
service was entrusted to Colonel George Augustus Elliott,[347] an
officer who was to become famous for his defence of Gibraltar,
though not before his regiment had already won fame both for
him and for itself. Its actions will come before us very soon,
so for the present it will suffice to say that Elliott's Light
Dragoons are still with us, retaining the original number of their
precedence, as the Fifteenth Hussars.

Such additions were trifling enough if in view of no more than the
danger of invasion, but, seeing that Pitt abated not one jot of
his aggressive designs, they were of astonishing insignificance.
With the nature and extent of those designs the reader has already
been in great part acquainted; but it will be convenient to recall
the military situation in all parts of the world in the spring of
1759. Goree had already surrendered and was occupied by a British
garrison; Barrington was busy over the conquest of Guadaloupe; in
America Amherst was organising his expedition against Ticonderoga
and Crown Point, Forbes was struggling with the first difficulties
of his advance to Fort Duquêsne, and Wolfe was on his way to
Quebec; in India Lally had lately raised the siege of Madras and
liberated the garrison for work in the field, Forde had lately
fought Condore and was advancing on Masulipatam, and Clive was at
Moorshedabad securing the fruits of his victory at Plassey. Lastly,
ten thousand British troops were about to enter on their first
campaign under Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick. Yet it never occurred
to Pitt to recall one man of them, notwithstanding the peril of
invasion. It may be asked why the ten thousand, being so near home,
were not summoned from Germany, and of what possible service they
could have been on the Continent. The answer, which has already
been hinted at, will occur readily to those who have had the
patience to follow me so far, who have seen Guadeloupe worried into
submission by a handful of sickly troops, and watched Montreal and
Pondicherry drop at last into British hands like fruit ripe for the
plucking. Pitt spoke but half the truth when he spoke of conquering
America in Germany; it was not only America, but the East and West
Indies, in a word the British Empire. The war in Germany was in
fact nothing more than a diversion on a grand scale, and it is as
such that it must now be followed. The French likewise pursued
their idea of a diversion when they threatened a descent upon the
shores of Great Britain. It was a plan which they had employed with
some success in the days of King William and of Queen Anne, but it
had not saved them from Marlborough at Oudenarde, and it was not to
deliver them from the busy designs of Pitt.

Before entering on the campaigns of Prince Ferdinand it is
indispensable to attempt to grasp the general purport of the
operations on either side. The French had invaded Germany primarily
to take vengeance upon Prussia for King Frederick's scornful
treatment of Madame de Pompadour. Frederick, being already occupied
with the Saxons and Austrians to the south and with the Russians
on his flank to the eastward, could hardly have escaped disaster
with the French pressing on his other flank from the west. He
had indeed, in 1758, with the swiftness that characterised his
operations, made a dash upon the French and hurled them back at
Rossbach, and within a month dealt the Austrians as severe a
buffet at Leuthen with the same army. But to defeat two armies at
two points over two hundred miles apart within a few weeks, was a
strain that could not be repeated; and it was primarily to guard
Frederick's right or western flank that Ferdinand's army was called
into being. So far as Frederick was concerned it quite fulfilled
its purpose; but in the eyes of England its mission was somewhat
different. Under the Duke of Cumberland the force had been called
an army of observation, to secure the frontiers of Hanover; and
Cumberland, despite Frederick's warnings, had endeavoured to cover
Hanover by holding the line of the Weser, with results that were
seen at Hastenbeck. Under Ferdinand the army became an Allied Army
for active operations in concert with King Frederick;[348] but none
the less its chief function was to cover Hanover, Hesse-Cassel,
and Brunswick. For the French army, being lax in discipline,
behaved with shameful inhumanity towards the inhabitants of German
territory during this war; and there was always apprehension lest
the rulers of Hesse and Brunswick, from sheer compassion towards
their suffering people, should withdraw from the Alliance.

Throughout the operations about to come under our notice the French
acted with at least two armies, jointly superior to Ferdinand's in
numbers, along two different lines. The northern army was known as
the Army of the Rhine, its base being Wesel on the Lower Rhine,
an outlying possession of King Frederick's, which had perforce
been abandoned by him at the opening of the war, and which despite
Ferdinand's efforts could never be recovered. This army was
destined to advance into Westphalia, and thence, if possible, into
Hanover; and a glance at the map will show that its simplest line
of advance was by the river Lippe. The second or southern army
of the French was known as the Army of the Main; having provided
itself with a base on that river by the treacherous capture of
Frankfort.[349] This was one of the many unscrupulous actions
whereby the French made themselves loathed in Europe; for Frankfort
being an Imperial Free Town was held always to be neutral. Still
the thing was done; and thereby was secured to the Army of the
Main, which had begun life as the Army of the Upper Rhine, not only
an excellent base but a sure means of retreat. For the Allies,
even if they defeated it, could not bar its way to the Rhine until
Frankfort should be first besieged and captured, which could not
but be a very arduous undertaking. The primary function of this
second army was the invasion of Hesse.

Ferdinand's task, with an inferior force, was in its essence
defensive. For him the supremely important thing was to retain
possession of the line of the Weser, on which waterway he depended
for his supplies alike from Germany and from England. Thus,
roughly speaking, the field of operations lay between the Rhine
on the one side and the Weser on the other, with the sea and the
Main for northern and southern boundaries; and the normal front
of the French would be to the east and of the Allies to the west.
But it must be remembered that in addition to the army operating
from Wesel against Ferdinand's front there was another operating
from Frankfort upon his left or southern flank; while there was
always the further danger that the Saxons might elude a Prussian
corps of observation, which was posted to check them, on the
south-east, and steal in upon Ferdinand's left rear. To defeat
these combinations it was of vital importance to Ferdinand to hold
in particular two fortresses--Münster in Westphalia, since the
French, if they took it, could push on unhindered to the Weser and
cut off his supplies; and Lippstadt on the Upper Lippe, which
secured communications between Münster and Cassel, or in other
words between Westphalia and Hesse, and contrariwise impeded the
joint action of the two French armies. For the rest it will be
useful to take note of three rivers which barred the advance of
the French northward from Frankfort to Cassel and beyond: namely,
counting from south to north, the Ohm, the Eder, and the Diemel.
With the last in particular, as the final barrier between Hesse and
Westphalia, we shall have much to do; so the reader would do well
to grasp its position once for all, not neglecting its relation to
the neighbouring waters of the Lippe and the Weser.

[Sidenote: End of March.]

[Sidenote: April 13.]

At the close of the campaign of 1758 Ferdinand's winter quarters
extended from Coesfeld, a little to westward of Münster, through
Münster, Lippstadt and Paderborn to the Diemel, his front facing
thus somewhat to south of south-east. The French army of the Rhine
under Marshal Contades was cantoned along that river from Wesel
southward almost to Coblentz; while the army of the Main, under the
Prince of Soubise, the defeated General of Rossbach, lay just to
north of the river about Frankfort. Ferdinand's first trouble was
with an advance of the Austrians upon his left flank by the river
Werra. This he headed back by a rapid march to Fulda; and, being
freed from this danger, he resolved to turn this enforced movement
to southward to account by making a bold stroke upon Frankfort, so
as, if possible, to paralyse the operations of the French on that
side by snatching from them their base. Unfortunately for him,
the incapable Soubise had been recalled to command the army for
invasion of England, and Marshal Broglie, who had succeeded him,
had entrenched himself in a strong position at Bergen, a little to
the north of Frankfort. There on the 13th of April, just five days
after the storm of Masulipatam, Ferdinand boldly attacked him,[350]
but was repulsed with a loss of over two thousand men, and
compelled to fall back to Ziegenhain, on the road to Cassel. His
audacious attempt to cripple one French army, before the campaign
had even been opened, had failed.

[Sidenote: May.]

[Sidenote: May 27.]

[Sidenote: May 29.]

After this alarm the French employed themselves busily in
entrenching themselves on the Main. Prince Henry of Prussia, by
King Frederick's direction, marched northward to relieve Ferdinand
from further trouble from the Austrians; and the enemy made little
movement during the ensuing month. On the 25th of April Contades
arrived at Düsseldorf from Paris with an approved plan of campaign
in his pocket, and proceeded to distribute the army of the Rhine
into four corps, two of them about Wesel, a third at Düsseldorf,
and a fourth about Cologne. This grouping, as Contades intended,
left Ferdinand in doubt whether his main design was aimed at
Westphalia or Hesse. The corps which guarded Westphalia included
the British contingent under Lord George Sackville, who had been
appointed to the command on the death of the Duke of Marlborough
in the previous year, and it lay a little to the west of Münster,
under the orders of the Hanoverian General von Spörcke. That
officer growing uneasy over Contades's movements, Ferdinand on the
16th of May marched from Ziegenhain, leaving sixteen thousand men
under General von Imhoff to protect Hesse, and on the 24th, having
effected his junction with Spörcke, cantoned his troops along the
Lippe from Coesfeld to Hamm. Meanwhile Contades, detaching a corps
of fifteen thousand men under Count d'Armentières to threaten
Münster, marched southward from Düsseldorf upon Giessen, there to
join Broglie and begin operations against Hesse. Ferdinand, in
the faint hope of recalling him to the Rhine, despatched a corps
under the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, a most brilliant officer,
to alarm the French garrisons at Düsseldorf and other points on
the river; but Contades, adhering to his purpose, pushed forward
an advanced corps under M. de Noailles from Giessen to Marburg,
evidently intent on prosecuting his march to the north. Contades
was in overwhelming force. Noailles's corps at Marburg numbered
twenty thousand men, his own at Giessen close on sixty thousand,
while Broglie's reserve-corps at Friedberg, a little to the south
of Giessen, included close on twenty thousand more. He now sent
Broglie forward by Fritzlar upon Cassel, while he himself continued
his march due north through Waldeck upon Corbach. Imhoff, fearful
of being cut off and unable to defend Cassel, fell back towards
Lippstadt; and Broglie having left a force to occupy Cassel, turned
westward to rejoin Contades. On the 14th of June the whole were
again assembled together, Contades' corps lying a little to the
south of Paderborn, and Broglie's at Stadtbergen.

[Sidenote: June 11.]

[Sidenote: June 18.]

These movements caused Ferdinand the deepest anxiety. On the 11th
of June he concentrated and marched eastward to Büren, where he
halted and picked up Imhoff's corps; but even so he was weaker
than the enemy, for though he had recalled the Hereditary Prince
from Düsseldorf, he had been obliged to leave nine thousand men
under General Wangenheim at Dülmen, to watch d'Armentières's
designs against Münster. But worse was to come; for on the 18th
Broglie's corps, moving up to the right of Contades's, began
to edge Ferdinand's left wing back to the westward. Ferdinand,
accepting the inevitable, fell back on Lippstadt and crossed the
Lippe to Rietberg. His embarrassment was now extreme. He could not
divine whether the enemy designed to besiege Lippstadt or Münster
or both, or whether they meant to force a battle upon him against
greatly superior numbers. He was inclined to risk a battle, seeing
that, for all that he could do to prevent it, both fortresses
might be taken before his eyes; in which case he must needs cross
to the east side of the Weser. So critical did he consider the
position that he wrote to King George the Second for instructions,
and begged that ships might be ready to transport the garrison in
case it should be necessary to evacuate Emden. The King's answer
showed the Guelphic loyalty and courage at its noblest. He said
that since Ferdinand was inclined to hazard an action he also was
ready to take the risk, but that he left his General an absolutely
free hand, only assuring him that his confidence in him would be
unabated, whatever the result; and, lest Ferdinand should be in any
doubt, he caused a second letter to be written to him to the same
effect, but in stronger terms even than the first.[351]

[Sidenote: June 29.]

[Sidenote: July 3.]

[Sidenote: July 8.]

[Sidenote: July 10.]

[Sidenote: July 14.]

Meanwhile Contades marched up to Paderborn and halted for some
days, keeping Ferdinand still in doubt as to his intentions. At
last on the 29th he moved northward and pushed his light troops
forward to Bielefeld, showing plainly that his true aim was the
capture either of Hameln or of Minden on the Weser. Ferdinand
therefore recalled Wangenheim's corps from Dülmen to the main army;
whereupon, as he had expected, d'Armentières at once advanced to
besiege Münster. On the same day Ferdinand himself moved northward
and encamped parallel to Contades at Diessen, comforting himself
with the reflection that though his enemies might be nearer to
Minden than he, he at any rate was nearer to his food-supplies than
they.[352] It was, however, extremely difficult for him to obtain
intelligence of the French movements, since the two armies were
separated by a broad chain of wooded hills; and he consequently
hesitated for some days before he decided, on false information of
a French advance, to move towards Osnabrück. His intention was to
turn eastward from thence, and to take up a position which would
render it perilous for the French to attempt the siege either
of Hameln or Minden. He had made, however, but one march from
Osnabrück when he received the news that Broglie had surprised
Minden on the day before, and that the French had thus secured a
bridge over the Weser and free access into Hanover. This was a
most unpleasant surprise for Ferdinand. For a day he hesitated
whether or not to return to Münster, and then decided to fall back
to the Lower Weser, so as to save his magazine at Nienburg, and,
since the French had set the example of lawlessness at Frankfort,
to occupy the Imperial Free Town of Bremen. On the 14th of July
accordingly his headquarters were fixed at Stolzenau, between
Nienburg and Minden on the Weser, and a detachment was sent to

[Sidenote: July 17.]

Meanwhile Contades proceeded to reap the fruit of his very
successful movements. Part of his light troops seized upon
Osnabrück, and the rest were sent to levy contributions in Hanover;
M. de Chevreuse was detached with three thousand men to besiege
Lippstadt; d'Armentières continued to besiege Münster; Broglie's
corps crossed the Weser on the 14th to invest Hameln; and on the
16th Contades with the main army debouched into the basin of
Minden, and pushed a part of his army as far to the northward
as Petershagen. Ferdinand, though he could bring but forty-five
thousand men into the field against sixty thousand, advanced
southward next day to offer him battle; but Contades retired
without awaiting his arrival and withdrew to an unassailable
position immediately to south of Minden. If he could hold Ferdinand
inactive while his several detachments did their work, it was of no
profit to him to hazard a general action.

[Sidenote: July.]

So far Contades's operations had been masterly. He had taken
Cassel, the capital of Hesse, and had invested both Lippstadt and
Münster; he had further taken Minden and invested Hameln; and thus
he bade fair to possess himself of the line of the Weser and to
carry the war straight into Hanover. Ferdinand's position was most
critical, and was not rendered more pleasant to him by a series of
uncomplimentary messages from Frederick the Great. But Contades,
from the moment that he declined battle, seems to have taken leave,
possibly from excessive confidence, of all energy and ability. His
position was, it is true, impregnable. His army lay immediately to
the south of Minden, communicating by three bridges with Broglie's
corps on the other side of the Weser. His right rested on the town
and the river, his left on a mass of wooded hills--the end of
the range that had separated his army from Ferdinand's--and the
whole of his front was covered by a wide morass, through which
ran a brook called the Bastau. But though unassailable from any
point, the position had conspicuous defects. In the first place,
it did not leave the army free to move in all directions; and in
the second, it necessitated the detachment of troops to the south
to maintain communication through Gohfeld and Hervorden with the
French base at Cassel. It was for Ferdinand, by skilful use of
these defects, to entice Contades from his pinfold to meet him in
the open field.

[Sidenote: July 28.]

[Sidenote: July.]

Returning to camp at Petershagen after Contades's withdrawal to
Minden, Ferdinand's first step was to push his picquets forward
into a chain of villages that lay in his front: Todtenhausen on the
bank of the Weser, Fredewald immediately to west of Todtenhausen,
Stemmern and Holthausen somewhat in advance of Fredewald, and
Nord Hemmern, Sud Hemmern, and Hille still farther to south and
west. The occupation of Hille brought his advanced posts to the
western edge of the morass that covered Contades's front, and
to the head of the one causeway that led across it. On the 22nd
Wangenheim's corps, about ten thousand strong, was pushed forward
to Todtenhausen, where it remained conspicuous, in advance of
the army. In the midst of these movements came the bad news of
the fall of Münster, which enabled d'Armentières to march from
thence to besiege Lippstadt, and Chevreuse to return with his
detachment to Minden; but this misfortune only quickened Ferdinand
to action. On the 27th the Hereditary Prince marched with six
thousand men south-westward towards Lübbecke, and on the following
day drove from it a body of French irregulars which was stationed
there for the protection of Contades's left flank. Then turning
eastward he pursued his march against the French communications.
Simultaneously, on the 28th, General Dreve led the garrison of
Bremen against Osnabrück, retook it, and hastened eastward to join
the Hereditary Prince. The junction effected, the two pressed on
towards Hervorden, and on the 31st established themselves astride
of the road by which all Contades's supplies must be brought up
from the south.

Here, therefore, was a menace in his rear to make the French
General uneasy in his position behind the morass; and now Ferdinand
added a temptation in his front to induce him the more readily
to quit it. On the 29th the Prince, leaving Wangenheim's corps
isolated about Todtenhausen, led the whole of the rest of the army
a short march to the south-west, and encamped between Fredewald
and Hille. Headquarters were at Hille, under guard of the Twelfth
and Twentieth Regiments of the British Foot, for the red-coats
held the place of honour on the right of the line; and picquets
were pushed on to Sud Hemmern, Hartum, and Hahlen, villages on the
eastern side of Hille, by the border of the morass. Finally, from
two to three thousand men were ordered to Lübbecke to maintain
communication with the Hereditary Prince. Such dispositions might
well have appeared hazardous; but Ferdinand had thought them out
in every detail. Wangenheim's corps, though isolated, was strongly
entrenched, with several guns; while his position covered the
only outlet by which the French could debouch from behind the
marsh. Thereby two important objects were gained. First, the safe
passage of convoys from the Lower Weser was assured; and secondly,
it was made certain that, before Contades could deploy to attack
Wangenheim in force, Ferdinand with the main army would have time
either to fall upon his flank or simply to join his own left to
Wangenheim's right. To ensure the swift execution of this latter
critical movement, Ferdinand directed all Generals to acquaint
themselves carefully with the ground, and in particular with the
outlets that led from his position to the open plain before Minden.

Contades meanwhile reasoned, as Ferdinand had hoped and intended,
in a very different fashion. The Allied army was, to his mind,
dispersed in every direction. Ten thousand men were with the
Hereditary Prince at Gohfeld; at least two thousand more at
Lübbecke; Ferdinand himself, with the greater portion of the army,
seemed so anxious to be within supporting distance of the Prince
that he had left Wangenheim in the air; while even Wangenheim's
corps was not united, but had detached a few battalions across
the river to keep an eye on Broglie. Still the interruption of
his own communications with Cassel was troublesome; and it would
be well to put an end to that and to all other difficulties by a
decisive blow and a brilliant victory. He therefore despatched the
Duke of Brissac with eight thousand men to Gohfeld to hold the
Hereditary Prince in check, threw eight bridges over the Bastau
for the passage of his troops across it in as many columns, and
ordered Broglie to be ready to cross the Weser with his corps to
form a ninth column upon his right. The total force which he could
bring into the plain of Minden was fifty-one thousand men with one
hundred and sixty-two guns. Against it, if all went well, Ferdinand
could oppose forty-one thousand men and one hundred and seventy

[Sidenote: Aug. 1.]

A fresh gale was blowing from the south-west which drowned the
stroke of the clocks of Minden, as midnight closed the last day of
July and ushered in the first of August. Already the French camp
was all alert in the darkness, and the columns were moving off,
not without confusion, to the bridges of the Bastau. An hour later
two white-coated deserters were brought in by a picquet to the
Prince of Anhalt, General Officer of the day in the Allied army,
with the important intelligence that the whole French army was in
motion. Ferdinand had seen signs of some stir on the previous
evening, and had directed that, on the observance of the slightest
movement at the advanced posts, information should be brought to
him at once. Yet two o'clock came, and three o'clock, before a
belated messenger arrived at headquarters from Anhalt with the
news. Instantly Ferdinand called the whole of his troops to arms,
and ordered them to march to their appointed positions. His orders
had already been issued, and were clear and precise enough. The
advance was to be in eight columns, and the formation for battle,
as usual, with infantry in the centre and cavalry on each flank.
The first or right-hand column consisted of twenty-four squadrons
of cavalry under Lord George Sackville, fifteen of them being
British squadrons of the Blues, First and Third Dragoon Guards,
Scots Greys, and Tenth Dragoons. The second was made up entirely
of German artillery; and the third under Major-General von Spörcke
comprised the Twelfth, Twentieth, Twenty-third, Twenty-fifth,
Thirty-seventh, and Fifty-first regiments of the British Line.
Seven out of the eight columns were formed and marched off with
great promptitude; but in Sackville's column all was confusion and
delay. Some of the regiments were ready and others were not; and
Sackville himself was not to be found. It was no good beginning for
the British cavalry.

Having given the alarm Ferdinand hastened, with a single
staff-officer accompanying him, to see for himself how matters
stood. It is not difficult to conceive of his anxiety. Owing to
the unpardonable neglect of Anhalt the French had gained two hours
upon him; and now, when the army had been at last set in motion,
the cavalry of his right wing was not moving with the rest. There
was therefore every likelihood that the village of Hahlen, on which
he had intended to rest his right flank, might be occupied by the
French before Sackville could be there to prevent them. Instantly
galloping away to Hartum he ordered the picquets stationed therein
to move at once to Hahlen, and then hurried back with all speed
to the latter village, only to learn the bad news that it was
already in possession of the French. Meanwhile not a word had
come from Wangenheim, who, for aught he knew, might be in serious
difficulties. Despatching his solitary aide-de-camp to Todtenhausen
to ascertain how matters were going on the left, he galloped on
alone with his groom into the plain of Minden. The wind was blowing
so furiously that not a sound even of cannon could be heard in the
direction of the Weser; but before long he caught sight of the
French advancing on Kuttenhausen, and of a dense cloud of smoke
rising before Todtenhausen. Evidently Wangenheim was hotly engaged.
But meanwhile from windward there came the roar of a furious
cannonade about Hille, where the causeway issued from the western
end of the morass. This could only be a diversion, for Ferdinand
had already sealed up the outlet of the causeway with five hundred
men and two guns; but to make assurance still surer he now ordered
two more guns and the detachment from Lübbecke to Hille, and sent
information to the Hereditary Prince of what was passing. Then,
galloping for a moment to the left, Ferdinand satisfied himself
that his columns were advancing, and turned back in the teeth of
the wind to Hahlen. There once again the stupidity of the Prince of
Anhalt had set matters wrong. He had duly brought up the picquets
from Hartum before Hahlen, as directed, but had halted instead of
clearing the French out of the village, and had thereby delayed the
deployment of the whole of Spörcke's column. He was bidden to take
the village at once, which he did without difficulty; but having
done so this hopeless officer proceeded to instal himself and his
picquets as if to stay there for ever.[353]

After the occupation of Hahlen, however, matters on the right began
to adjust themselves. Ferdinand ordered Captain Foy's battery to
the front of the village to cover the formation of the troops,
and was soon satisfied by the admirable working of these British
guns that all was safe in that quarter. Meanwhile his aide-de-camp
returned from Todtenhausen with intelligence that Wangenheim was
holding his own, though the enemy had gained ground on his right,
where his flank was uncovered. Probably few commanders have passed
through two worse hours than did Ferdinand at the opening of the
battle of Minden.

Fortunately for him the French had not executed their own manœuvres
without confusion and delay. It was one defect of Contades's
position that he could not debouch from behind the morass by
daylight, since he would have brought Ferdinand down instantly
upon his flank; and the indiscipline of the French army among both
officers and men was not calculated to favour orderly movement in
the dark. Broglie, a capable officer, had crossed the river, taken
up his appointed position on the right, and made his dispositions
to fall upon Wangenheim, punctually and in good order; but he dared
not attack until the rest of the army was formed, so contented
himself with a simple duel of artillery. The rest of the columns
shuffled here and there in helplessness and confusion; and it
was not until Broglie had waited for two full hours that most
of them were at last deployed in some kind of order. The French
line-of-battle was convex in form, following, as it were, the
contour of the walls of Minden, with the right resting on the
Weser and the left on the morass. Broglie's corps on the right
was drawn up in two lines, the first of infantry, the second of
cavalry, with two powerful batteries in advance. On his left
stood half of the infantry of Contades's army in two lines, with
thirty-four guns before them. Next to these, in the centre, were
fifty-five squadrons of cavalry in two lines, with a third line
of eighteen more in reserve; and next to this mass of horse stood
the left wing, composed of the rest of the infantry in two lines,
with thirty guns. Thus to all intent the French line-of-battle
consisted of a centre of cavalry with wings of infantry; but the
left wing of infantry was late in arriving at its position, and its
tardiness was not without effect on the issue of the action.

Observing the excellent practice of Foy's battery before Hahlen,
Ferdinand had already sent Macbean's British battery to join it
and ordered Hase's Hanoverian brigade of heavy guns to the same
position. Then seeing Spörcke's column of British infantry in
the act of deployment, he sent orders that its advance, when the
time should come, should be made with drums beating. The order
was either misdelivered or misunderstood, for to his surprise
the leading British brigade shook itself up and began to advance
forthwith. A flight of aides-de-camp galloped off to stop them;
and the line of scarlet halted behind a belt of fir-wood to await
the formation of the rest of the army. In the first line of
Spörcke's division stood, counting from right to left, the Twelfth,
Thirty-seventh, and Twenty-third, under Brigadier Waldegrave; and
in the second, which extended beyond the first on each flank, the
Twentieth, Fifty-first, and Twenty-fifth, under Brigadier Kingsley,
Hardenberg's Hanoverian battalion, and two battalions of Hanoverian
guards. There then they stood for a few minutes, while the second
line, which was only partially deployed, hastened to complete the
evolution; when suddenly to the general amazement the drums again
began to roll, and the first line stepped off once more, advancing
rapidly but in perfect order, straight upon the French horse. The
second line, though its formation was still incomplete, stepped
off likewise in rear of its comrades, deploying as it moved, and
therefore of necessity dropping somewhat in rear. And so the nine
battalions, with the leading brigade far in advance, swung proudly
forward into a cross-fire of more than sixty cannon, alone and
unsupported from the rest of the line.

No aide-de-camp, gallop though he might, could stop them now;
and their majestic bearing showed that they would not easily be
stopped by an enemy. The British, being on the right, were the
more exposed to destruction, for the French batteries on their
left were too remote to maintain a really deadly fire; but what
signified a cross-fire and three lines of horse to regiments that
had fought at Dettingen and Fontenoy? For nearly two hundred yards
of the advance the French guns tore great gaps in their ranks;
but they passed through the tempest of shot unbroken and untamed,
and pressed on with the same majestic steadiness against the huge
motionless bank of the French horse. Then at last the wall of men
and horses started into life, and eleven squadrons coming forward
from the rest bore straight down upon them. The scarlet battalions
stood firm until the enemy were within ten yards of them; then
pouring in one volley which strewed the ground with men and horses,
they hurled the squadrons back in confused fragments upon their
comrades, and continued their advance. Ferdinand, perceiving the
disorder of the French, sent an aide-de-camp at full speed to Lord
George Sackville to bring up the British cavalry and complete the
rout. Sackville disputed the meaning of the order for a time, and
then advancing his squadrons for a short distance, as if to obey
it, brought them once more to a halt. A second messenger came up in
hot haste to ask why the cavalry of the right did not come on, but
Sackville remained stationary, and the opportunity was lost.

Then shamed and indignant at their defeat the French horse rallied.
Four brigades of infantry and thirty-two guns came forward from the
French left to enfilade the audacious British foot; and Ferdinand,
since Sackville would not move, advanced Phillips's brigade of
heavy guns in order to parry, if possible, this flanking attack.
Then the second line of the French horse came thundering down,
eager to retrieve their defeat, upon the nine isolated battalions.
For a moment the lines of scarlet seemed to waver under this triple
attack; but recovering themselves they closed up their ranks and
met the charging squadrons with a storm of musketry which blasted
them off the field. Then turning with equal fierceness upon the
French infantry they beat them also back with terrible loss. Again
an aide-de-camp flew from Ferdinand's side to Sackville, adjuring
him to bring up the British squadrons only, if no more, to make
good the success; but it was not jealousy of the foreign squadrons
under his command that kept Sackville back. The messenger delivered
his order; but not a squadron moved. Meanwhile Ferdinand had
hurried forward fresh battalions on his right to save the British
from annihilation; and now the third line of French horse, the
Gendarmerie and the Carbineers, essayed a third attack upon the
nine dauntless battalions and actually broke through the first
line; but was shattered to pieces by the second and sent the way
of its fellows. A fourth messenger was sent to Sackville, but with
no result. Ferdinand's impatience waxed hot. "When is that cavalry
coming?" he kept exclaiming. "Has no one seen that cavalry of the
right wing?" But no cavalry came. "Good God! is there no means of
getting that cavalry to advance," he ejaculated in desperation, and
sent a fifth messenger to bring up Lord Granby with the squadrons
of Sackville's second line only. Granby was about to execute the
order, when Sackville rode up and forbade him; and then, as if
still in doubt as to these repeated orders, Sackville trotted up
to Ferdinand and asked what they might mean. "My Lord," Ferdinand
is said to have answered, calmly, but with such contempt as may be
imagined, "the opportunity is now passed."

Nevertheless the astonishing attack of the British infantry had
virtually gained the day. Ferdinand's line had gained time to form
and to join with Wangenheim's; and the guns of the Allies coming
up gradually in increasing force silenced the inferior artillery
of the French. Ferdinand's left wing then took the offensive, and
the German cavalry by a brilliant charge dispersed the whole of
the infantry opposed to them. Between nine and ten o'clock the
struggle was practically over. The French were completely beaten,
and retreating rapidly under the guns of Minden to their pinfold
behind the marsh. Had Sackville's cavalry come forward when it was
bidden, it might have cut the flying French squadrons to pieces,
barred the retreat of most if not all of the French left wing, and
turned the victory into one of the greatest of all time. As things
happened, it fell to Foy and Macbean of the British Artillery to
gather the laurels of the pursuit. Hard though they had worked
all day, these officers limbered up their guns and moved with
astonishing rapidity along the border of the marsh, halting from
time to time to pound the retreating masses of the enemy; till at
last they unlimbered for good opposite the bridges of the Bastau
and punished the fugitives so heavily that they would not be
rallied until they had fled far beyond their camp.

Meanwhile the Hereditary Prince had engaged the Duke of Brissac at
Gohfeld and defeated him, so that the French communications with
Hervorden and Paderborn were hopelessly severed. The news of this
misfortune seems to have smitten Contades almost with panic. Had
he chosen to fall back by the line of his advance he could hardly
have been stopped by the inferior force of the Hereditary Prince,
and he would have found supplies and a good position at Hervorden.
But his defeat had crushed all spirit out of him. Abandoning his
communications with Paderborn he crossed the Weser in the night,
broke down the bridge of Minden, burned his bridges of boats, and
retired through a difficult and distressing country to Cassel, with
an army not only beaten but demoralised.

[Illustration: MINDEN. Aug. 1^{st} 1759.

The Action at the moment of the attack of the British Infantry.

  _Walker & Boutall del._      _To face page 494._

So ended the battle of Minden, a day at once of pride and disgrace
to the British. The losses of the Allies amounted to twenty-six
hundred killed and wounded, of which the share of the British
amounted to close on fourteen hundred men.[354] Of the six devoted
regiments who went into action four thousand four hundred and
thirty-four strong, seventy-eight officers and twelve hundred
and fifty-two men, or about thirty per cent, were killed or
wounded; while the Hanoverian battalions with them, being on the
left or sheltered flank, lost but twelve per cent. The heaviest
sufferers were the Twelfth, which lost three hundred and two, and
the Twentieth, which lost three hundred and twenty-two of all
ranks; these regiments holding the place of honour on the right
of the first and second lines. The casualties of the French were
acknowledged in the official lists to amount to seven thousand,
though the letters of Broglie and Contades state the numbers
at from ten to eleven thousand; and the defeated army lost in
addition the greater part of its baggage, seventeen standards
and colours, and forty-three guns. From a military standpoint
the most remarkable feature in the action was the skill with
which Ferdinand contrived to entice his adversary into the field,
reflecting perhaps even more credit on his judgment of men than on
his knowledge of his profession. Once drawn from behind the morass
into the plain, Contades made singularly feeble and meaningless
dispositions: and the formation of his line with cavalry in the
centre and infantry on the flanks was, in the circumstances,
simply grotesque. He seems indeed to have had no very clear idea
as to what he really meant to do. If he had designed to overwhelm
Wangenheim's isolated corps--and no doubt he had some vague notion
of the kind--the obvious course was to launch Broglie straight at
him independently, and himself to protect Broglie's flank with the
main army. What he actually did was to turn Broglie's corps into
the right wing of an united army, and so practically to fetter
it for all decisive action. On the other hand, all preconcerted
arrangements on both sides were upset by the extraordinary attack
of the British infantry, a feat of gallantry and endurance that
stands, so far as I know, absolutely without a parallel. "I
never thought," said Contades bitterly, "to see a single line
of infantry break through three lines of cavalry ranked in
order of battle, and tumble them to ruin." "Never," grimly wrote
Westphalen, the chief of Ferdinand's staff, "were so many boots
and saddles seen on a battlefield as opposite to the English and
the Hanoverian Guards." Next to this attack the feature that
seems to have attracted most attention among both contemporary
and modern critics, was the remarkable efficiency of the British
artillery. The handling of the artillery generally at Minden,
which was entrusted to the Count of Lippe-Bückeburg, was very
greatly admired: but Westphalen, who passed lightly over the deeds
of the infantry, went out of his way to write that, though every
battery had done well, the English batteries had done wonders.
And indeed some British guns which were attached to Wangenheim's
corps on the left earned not less praise than those of Foy and
Macbean on the right. The palm of the cavalry fell to the Germans,
and in particular to a few squadrons of Prussian dragoons lent by
Frederick the Great, which earned it brilliantly. It would have
fallen to the British but for Sackville.

The part played by this deplorable man did not end with the battle.
Ferdinand in general orders made scathing allusion to his conduct
without mentioning his name; and Sackville was presently superseded
and sent home. There he was tried by court-martial and pronounced
unfit to serve the King in any military capacity whatever--a hard
sentence but probably no more than just. Sackville was admitted to
be an extremely able man; and as he had passed through Fontenoy and
been wounded in that action, it is not easy to call him a coward.
But the courage of some men is not the same on every day; and the
evidence produced at the court-martial shows, I think, too plainly
that on the day of Minden Sackville's courage failed him.[355]
The King published the sentence of his dismissal from the Army
in a special order, with very severe but not undeserved comment;
and Lord George Sackville henceforth disappears from British
battlefields. But we shall meet with him again as a Minister of
War, and the meeting will not be a pleasant one.

[Sidenote: Aug. 2.]

[Sidenote: Aug. 5.]

[Sidenote: Aug. 18.]

[Sidenote: Aug. 24.]

[Sidenote: Aug. 25.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 19.]

On the day following the battle the Hereditary Prince crossed the
Weser in pursuit of the French, and overtaking their rear-guard
at Einbeck captured many prisoners and much spoil, but failed to
arrest the retreat of the main body. Contades, therefore, succeeded
in bringing his troops back to Cassel, half starved, worn out by
hard marching, and utterly demoralised by indiscipline and pillage.
D'Armentières, on hearing of his chief's defeat, raised the siege
of Lippstadt and marched eastward to meet him. Ferdinand meanwhile,
having received the surrender of Minden, advanced by Bielefeld and
Paderborn south-eastward upon Corbach, so as to turn Contades's
left flank. On the 18th Contades, seeing his communications
endangered, evacuated Cassel and retired by forced marches to
Marburg, where he took up a strong position. Cassel capitulated
to the Allies on the following day; and Ferdinand, while still
pursuing his march southward, detached seven thousand men to
recapture Münster. Marshal d'Estrées then arrived to supersede
Contades; but little came of this change of command. Renewed
menace from the westward upon the French communications forced him
to withdraw from the line of the Ohm and Lahn, and to fall back
to Giessen. Ferdinand at once laid siege to Marburg, which fell
within a week, and finally on the 19th of September he encamped
at Kroffdorf, a little to north-west of Giessen, over against the
French camp.

[Sidenote: Nov. 21.]

Meanwhile the siege of Münster had gone ill for the Allies,
and had been turned into a blockade. Ferdinand, after sending
additional troops thither, found himself too weak to attempt
further operations until the fall of the town; and during this
interval Broglie, who had been appointed to the supreme command,
had received a reinforcement of ten thousand Würtembergers.
Thus strengthened he tried incessantly with a detached corps of
twenty thousand men to interrupt Ferdinand's communications with
Cassel, but in vain; and finally the Hereditary Prince attacked
this corps at Fulda, defeated it signally, and then turning upon
Broglie's right flank forced him to retire to Friedberg. Ferdinand
then blockaded Giessen; but at this point further operations
were stayed. Ever since his disastrous defeat by the Russians at
Kunersdorf in August, Frederick the Great had pressed Ferdinand for
reinforcements; and the detachment of twelve thousand troops to the
King not only rendered the Prince powerless for further aggression,
but obliged him also to raise the blockade of Giessen. In January
1760 both armies retired into winter-quarters. The French occupied
much the same ground as at the beginning of the campaign; and the
Allies likewise were distributed into two divisions, the army of
Westphalia extending from Münster through Paderborn to the Weser,
the army of Hesse from Marburg eastward to the Werra. Thus ended
the campaign of 1759, leaving both parties in occupation of the
same territory as at its beginning; but it had branded the French
with the discredit of a great defeat, and had heightened in the
Allies their contempt for their enemy and their confidence in their


[Sidenote: 1759.]

Never in the whole course of her history had come to England such
a year of triumph as 1759. Opening with the capture of Goree in
January, its later months had brought one unbroken tale of success,
of Madras saved and Masulipatam taken in India, of Quebec captured
in Canada, of Minden won in Germany, of one French fleet worsted
by Boscawen off the Portuguese coast, of another defeated by Hawke
in the romantic action of Quiberon Bay. Such was the story with
which King George the Second met his Parliament for the last time
in his life; and Pitt did not fail to turn it to good account. A
monument was voted to Wolfe in Westminster Abbey; thanks were given
to Hawke, Saunders and Holmes of the Navy, and to Monckton, Murray
and Townsend of the Army; and the military estimates were passed
with little difficulty. It was ordered that Ferdinand's army should
be augmented from Great Britain, Brunswick, and Hesse alike. The
full number of national troops voted for the British Establishment
exceeded one hundred thousand men; the embodied militia augmented
this total by twenty thousand, and the German troops in the pay
of England by fifty-five thousand more; while another twelve
thousand men at home and abroad, which were borne on the Irish
Establishment, raised it to close on one hundred and ninety
thousand men. Before the campaign of 1760 was opened, the infantry
of the British Line had increased to ninety-six regiments; England
contributing one new corps, Wales one, Scotland five, and Ireland
four, all of which were disbanded at the close of the war.[356]
To these there were added later in the year six new regiments
of Light Dragoons. The first was formed in August under Colonel
John Burgoyne, which took rank as the Sixteenth Dragoons, and is
now known to us as the Sixteenth Lancers; the second, created in
October by Lord Aberdour, soon perished and left no mark behind
it; and the third was raised under rather remarkable conditions
by Colonel John Hale in November. Colonel Hale, originally of
the Blues and later of the Forty-third Foot, was the officer who
brought back the despatches reporting the victory of Quebec.
Finding on his arrival in England in October that there was still
some alarm of a French invasion, he volunteered to form a regiment
of the footmen and chairmen of London and to lead them against
the best household troops of France; an offer which so delighted
Pitt that he reported it to the House of Commons. Finally, he
engaged himself to raise a strong regiment of light dragoons
without levy-money for men or horses, promising that any men or
horses objected to on review by the inspecting officer should be
replaced without expense to the country, and that the whole corps
should be completed within two months. The offer was accepted,
and the regiment was raised at the sole expense of the officers
within the space, as it is said, of seventeen days. The number
was not inappropriate; for though first known, during the few
years while Aberdour's lasted, as the Eighteenth, this regiment,
still conspicuous by the white facings and the badge of skull
and crossbones which Hale selected for it, remains with us as the
Seventeenth Lancers. The three remaining corps, which raised the
number of regiments of dragoons to twenty-one, were too short-lived
to merit more than mere mention.[357]

[Sidenote: 1760.]

[Sidenote: Feb.]

The menace of French invasion was rather ludicrously realised
in February by a descent of the French privateer, Thurot, with
five ships upon Carrickfergus. Landing about a thousand troops,
he received the surrender of the town after a skirmish with the
garrison, plundered it, contrary to the terms of the capitulation,
and re-embarked. His squadron, however, was almost immediately
caught by three British men-of-war, when after a short action
Thurot was killed and every one of his ships captured. This tragic
termination to Thurot's escapade relieved the general tension, and
restored the country's confidence.

So foolish a raid was not likely to produce any change in Pitt's
preparations for the reinforcement of Ferdinand, who needed to be
specially strengthened after the disasters that had befallen King
Frederick at Kunersdorf and at Maxen. In January it was decided
to send three more regiments of British cavalry to Germany; and a
few weeks later the number was increased to five. In May a further
reinforcement of six battalions and two regiments of Highlanders
was promised, and in June two additional regiments of cavalry;
making up a total of close on ten thousand men.[358] The troops
were shipped to the Weser instead of, as heretofore, to Emden, and
seem to have been despatched with commendable promptitude; for the
six regiments of foot, though only warned for service on the 1st
of May, were actually reviewed by Ferdinand in his camp at Fritzlar
on the 17th of June, and were declared by him to be in a most
satisfactory condition.[359]

[Sidenote: May.]

[Sidenote: June 20.]

[Sidenote: June 22.]

[Sidenote: June 24.]

[Sidenote: July.]

The campaign of 1759 having been prolonged so far into the winter,
Ferdinand gave his army rest until late in May. At length on
the 20th he called the infantry of the army of Hesse from its
cantonments, and posted the main body under his own command at
Fritzlar, with one corps advanced to Hersfeld on the Fulda to
protect his left, and a second under General Imhoff at Kirchhain,
on the Ohm. It was his intention that, in case of the enemy's
advance, Imhoff should call in the detachment from Hersfeld to
Homberg, a little to the south of Kirchhain on a bend of the
Ohm, where there was a position, before long to be better known
to us, in which he could bar the way to a far superior force.
Simultaneously the army of Westphalia moved to its line of the
previous year, from Coesfeld eastward to Hamm. In these positions
the Allies remained for nearly a month before the French made
the least sign of movement; when at last the army of the Lower
Rhine under the Count of St. Germain assembled at Düsseldorf, and
crossing the Rhine advanced to Dortmund. From this centre it was
open to St. Germain to advance either northward against Münster
or eastward against Lippstadt; but it was tolerably evident that
his real design was to join the army of the Main, and to operate
against the right flank of the Allied army of Hesse. At about the
same time Broglie concentrated the army of the Main a little to the
east of Giessen, and began his advance northward. The Hereditary
Prince at once fell back from Hersfeld with his detachment towards
the Ohm, while Ferdinand moved southward as far as Ziegenhain to
join Imhoff, with every intention of making Broglie fight him
before he advanced another mile. To his infinite disgust, however,
he learned that Imhoff had abandoned the position entrusted to
him, and had ordered the whole of the advanced corps back to
Kirchhain. Thus the most effective barrier in Hesse was opened
to the French; Ferdinand perforce halted; and Broglie pushed on
without delay to Homberg, whence turning eastward he encamped in
the face of Ferdinand's army at Neustadt. In this situation both
armies remained for a whole fortnight inactive, though not two
hours' march apart, neither daring to attack the other, and each
waiting for the other to make the next movement.

[Sidenote: July 8.]

[Sidenote: July 10.]

Broglie brought the deadlock to an end. Sending orders to St.
Germain to march from Dortmund on the 4th of July, and to meet
him at Corbach, he marched on the night of the 7th north-westward
upon Frankenberg. Ferdinand on learning of his movements next day
marched also northward with all speed, pushing forward a strong
advanced corps under the Hereditary Prince by way of Sachsenhausen
upon Corbach, to bar the outlet of the defile through which
Broglie's army must pass into the plain, and so to hinder his
junction with St. Germain. The French, however, had gained too long
a start. St. Germain, though he distressed his troops terribly by
the speed of his march, succeeded in passing through the defile
from the north; and Broglie, hastening up from the south, found his
troops forming in order of battle just as the Hereditary Prince
debouched into the plain from Sachsenhausen. As not more than ten
thousand of the French were yet deployed, the Prince attacked;
but was soon driven back by superior numbers as the rest of the
French came up, and finally retired with the loss of five hundred
men and fifteen guns, seven of which last were British. It fell to
the British infantry with the Prince, the Fifth, Twenty-fourth,
Fiftieth, and Fifty-first regiments, to cover the retreat; but so
hard were they pressed that the Prince only extricated them by
putting himself at the head of two squadrons of the First and Third
Dragoon Guards, and leading them to a desperate charge. Fortunately
the squadrons responded superbly,[360] and so the rear-guard was
saved; but the Prince had received an unpleasant reverse, and the
French had secured their first object with signal success.

[Sidenote: July 12.]

The Allied army of Westphalia, under General von Spörcke, arrived
on the scene in obedience to orders two days after the action, and
was posted at Volksmarsen on the Diemel to protect Ferdinand's
right; and then once more the two hosts remained motionless and
face to face, the French at Corbach, the Allies at Sachsenhausen.
Ferdinand's total force was sixty-six thousand men only, while
that of the French numbered one hundred and thirty thousand;[361]
yet such was the difference in the quality of the two armies that
Broglie dared not act except with extreme caution. His principal
object was to envelope Ferdinand's right and cut him off from
Westphalia at the line of the Diemel; and Ferdinand accordingly
resolved to distract Broglie's attention to the opposite flank.

[Sidenote: July 15.]

[Sidenote: July 16.]

Having intelligence that a party of the enemy under General
Glaubitz, consisting of six battalions, a regiment of Hussars,
and a number of light troops, was on its way to Ziegenhain
from Marburg, evidently with the object of disturbing his
communications, Ferdinand, on the night of the 14th, detached the
Hereditary Prince to take command of six battalions which were
lying at Fritzlar, and to attack it. Accordingly on the following
morning the Prince marched rapidly southward, being joined on
the way by a regiment of German hussars, and by the Fifteenth
Light Dragoons, which had just arrived from England. On reaching
the vicinity of Ziegenhain, he found that Glaubitz was encamped
farther to the west, near the village of Emsdorff. His troops
being exhausted by a long march, the Prince halted for the night
at Treysa, and continuing his advance early on the morrow, picked
up two more bodies of irregulars, horse and foot, which were on
their way to him, and pushed on with his mounted troops only, to
reconnoitre the enemy's position. He found the French posted at the
mouth of a gorge in the mountains, fronting to north-east, astride
of the two roads that lead from Kirchhain to Fritzlar and to
Ziegenhain. Their right lay in rear of the village of Erxdorff, and
their left in front of the village of Emsdorff, resting on a forest
some three miles long. The Prince and General Lückner, who was with
him, entered the forest, but found neither picquets nor sentries;
they pushed forward through the corn-fields to within half a mile
of the camp, but saw neither vedettes, nor patrols, nor so much as
a main-guard; nay, Erxdorff itself, though within less than a mile
of the camp, was not occupied. They stole back well content with
what they had seen.

Waiting till eleven o'clock for his infantry to join him, the
Prince posted one battalion, Lückner's regiment of hussars and
the Fifteenth Light Dragoons, in a hollow a mile before Erxdorff;
then taking the five remaining battalions, together with the
irregular troops and four guns, he fetched a compass through the
forest and came in full upon the enemy's left flank. The French
were completely surprised. Two battalions had barely time to form
towards the forest before the Prince's infantry came upon them,
poured in a volley which laid three hundred men low, and drove back
the rest upon Glaubitz's remaining infantry, which was falling
in hurriedly in rear of the camp. Simultaneously Lückner, at the
sound of the firing, came galloping up on the French right with his
cavalry; whereupon the entire French force abandoned its camp and
retired through the woods in their rear towards Langenstein. Here
they rallied; but Lückner's single battalion hurried on beyond them
to bar their way over the Ohm to westward, while the Fifteenth,
pressing on along their flank, stationed itself across the road
to Amöneberg, and charging full upon them headed them back from
that side. With some difficulty the French repelled the attack,
and turning about to south-eastward made for a wood not far away,
hoping to pass through it and so to escape to the south. But on
arriving at the southern edge of the wood they found every outlet
blocked by the Prince's mounted irregulars. Perforce they turned
back through the wood again and emerged on to the open ground on
its western side, trusting that some marshy ground, which lay in
the way of the Prince's cavalry, would secure them from further
pursuit. But they had not marched over the plain for more than a
mile before the hussars and light dragoons were upon them again,
and the Fifteenth for the second time crashed single-handed into
the midst of them, cutting them down by scores and capturing one
battalion complete. With great difficulty the remnant of the French
beat back their pursuers and continued the retreat: half of them
had been killed or captured, or had dropped down unable to march
farther, but the rest struggled gallantly on. Reaching an open wood
they again halted and formed for action. The Prince, still close
at their heels with his cavalry, thereupon surrounded them and
summoned them to surrender; and the French commander, despairing
of further resistance in the exhausted state of his troops, was
obliged to yield.

So ended the action which is still commemorated on the appointments
of the Fifteenth Hussars by the name of Emsdorff. The French camp
had been surprised at noon; and the last fragment of their force
capitulated at six o'clock in the evening, having striven manfully
but in vain to shake off the implacable enemy that had hunted them
for nearly twenty miles. The loss of the French in killed and
wounded is unknown, though it must have been considerable, but the
prisoners taken numbered twenty-six hundred, while nine colours and
five guns were also captured. The total loss of the Prince's troops
did not exceed one hundred and eighty-six men and one hundred and
eighty-one horses, of which one hundred and twenty-five men and
one hundred and sixty-eight horses belonged to the Fifteenth.
It was the Fifteenth, in fact, that did all the fighting. The
other regiments engaged did not lose twenty men apiece. The
infantry could not keep pace with the pursuit after they reached
Langenstein, and the two other corps of cavalry, though they did
excellent work in heading back the enemy, never came to close
quarters. Lückner's hussars did not lose a man nor a horse, and of
the mounted irregulars but twenty-three men and horses were killed
or wounded. It was the Fifteenth alone, a young regiment that had
never been under fire, which thrice charged five times its numbers
of French infantry and rode through them; and the success of the
action was ascribed to them and to them only. Their gallantry
indeed was the amazement of the whole army.[362] The tradition of
charging home, as shall be seen in due time both in Flanders and in
Spain, remained with the regiment, and doubtless remains with it to
this day.

[Sidenote: July 23.]

[Sidenote: July 25-27.]

[Sidenote: July 29.]

[Sidenote: July 30.]

This brilliant exploit was some compensation to the Allies for
past mishaps; but a week later Broglie sought to turn the scale
by more serious operations. On the 23rd he divided his army into
three corps, of which he sent one round Ferdinand's left flank
under Prince Xavier of Saxony to threaten Cassel, and a second to
force back Spörcke on his right from Volksmarsen, while the main
body under his own command advanced to Sachsenhausen. Perforce
Ferdinand retreated north-westward to Kalle, his rear-guard being
incessantly and severely engaged throughout the movement; whereupon
Broglie, seeing the way to be clear, detached a corps under the
Chevalier de Muy, who had recently arrived to relieve the Count
of St. Germain, across the Diemel to Warburg, in order to cut off
the Allies from Westphalia. The Marshal himself meanwhile moved
up parallel to Ferdinand on the eastern side towards Kalle, and
Prince Xavier pressed still closer upon Cassel. It being evident
to Ferdinand that either Cassel or Westphalia must be abandoned,
he detached a force under General Kielmansegge to strengthen the
garrison of Cassel and resolved to attack de Muy. Accordingly, on
the afternoon of the 29th Spörcke's corps crossed the Diemel to
Liebenau, followed on the same evening by that of the Hereditary
Prince; and on the 30th their combined force, not exceeding in all
fourteen thousand men, encamped between Liebenau and Corbeke with
its left on the Diemel, facing west. At dawn of the same morning
Broglie's army debouched from several quarters simultaneously
against the Allied camp at Kalle, but drew off after some hours of
cannonade; and Ferdinand, satisfied through other signs that this
demonstration was intended only to cover the movement of the French
towards Cassel, resolved to pass the Diemel without delay and to
deliver his stroke against de Muy.

Spörcke and the Hereditary Prince had meanwhile reconnoitred de
Muy's position and had recommended that their own corps should
turn its left flank, while Ferdinand with the main army advanced
against its front. De Muy, with about twenty thousand men, occupied
a high ridge across a bend of the Diemel, facing north-east, with
his right resting on Warburg and his left near the village of
Ochsendorf. To his left rear rose a circular hill crowned by a
tower, and on his left front lay a village named Poppenheim. It
was arranged that the corps of Spörcke and the Hereditary Prince
should advance westward in two columns from Corbeke and form up in
three lines between the tower and Poppenheim, so as to fall on de
Muy's left flank and rear, while Ferdinand crossing the Diemel at
Liebenau should attack his centre and right. As the camp between
Liebenau and Corbeke lay about ten miles from de Muy's, and as
Ferdinand's camp lay some fifteen miles to the south of the Diemel
from Liebenau, the operation called for extreme nicety in the

[Sidenote: July 31.]

At nine o'clock on the evening of the 30th Ferdinand's army
marched from Kalle, and at six o'clock on the following morning the
heads of his columns passed the Diemel and debouched on the heights
of Corbeke. They arrived, however, at later than the appointed
hour. The passage of the Diemel had caused much delay; and not all
the haste of officers nor the eagerness of men could bring the army
forward the quicker. At seven o'clock Spörcke and the Hereditary
Prince, after much anxious waiting, decided to march from Corbeke
before more time should be lost. The northern column, which
included the right wing of all three arms, moved by Gross Eider and
Ochsendorf upon the tower; the southern, composed of the left wing,
by Klein Eider and Poppenheim. Both columns were led by British
troops--the northern by the Royal Dragoons, whose place was on the
extreme right of the first line, while the British grenadiers,
massed in two battalions under Colonels Maxwell and Daulhatt,[363]
marched at the head of the infantry. The southern was headed by
the Seventh Dragoons, with Keith's and Campbell's Highlanders[364]
following them to cover the grenadiers in second line.

At half-past one the Hereditary Prince, having posted his artillery
on the outskirts of Ochsendorf and Poppenheim, opened fire as the
signal for attack; and at the same time the British grenadiers
began to file through Ochsendorf. Certain French battalions, which
de Muy had thrown back _en potence_ to protect his left flank,
thereupon retired without firing, until it was perceived that
the Allies were making for the steep hill in rear of the French
position. Then one battalion of Regiment Bourbonnois deliberately
faced about and marched off to occupy the hill. To permit such a
thing would have been to derange the whole of the plans of the
Allies, so it was necessary to prevent it at any cost. Colonel
Beckwith with ten grenadiers ran forward, keeping out of sight
of the French, to reach the hill before them; the Prince himself
with thirty more hurried after him; and with this handful of men,
all panting and breathless, they crowned the crest of the height.
Bourbonnois arriving on the scene a little later found itself
greeted by a sharp fire, and, being unable to see the numbers
opposed to it, halted for ten minutes to allow its second battalion
to come up. The delay gave time for Daulhatt's entire battalion
of grenadiers to join Beckwith's little party; and then the two
battalions of Bourbonnois attacked in earnest, and the combat
between French and British, at odds of two against one, became most
fierce and stubborn. The disparity of numbers however, was too
great; and Daulhatt's men after a gallant struggle were beginning
to give way, when Maxwell's battalion came up in the nick of time
to support them. This reinforcement redressed the balance of the
fight; Daulhatt's men speedily rallied, and the contest for the
hill was renewed. The French, however, prepared to send fresh
battalions in support of Bourbonnois, and the situation of the
British became critical; for a battery of artillery, which was on
its way to the hill to support them, got into difficulties in a
defile near Ochsendorf and blocked the advance of the rest of the
northern column. Fortunately it was extricated, though none too
soon, and being brought up to the hill was speedily in action;
while the head of the southern column likewise coming up took the
French reinforcements in flank and drove them back in disorder. The
Royals and Seventh Dragoons were then let loose upon the broken
French battalions, completing their discomfiture and taking many

So far the turning movement had succeeded; but its success was
not yet assured, for only a portion of the southern column was
yet formed for action, and the troops on the field were becoming
exhausted. De Muy might yet have hoped to turn the scale in his
left, when his attention was suddenly called to the advance of
troops upon his front. After desperate but fruitless efforts it
had been found that the infantry of Ferdinand's army could not
hope to arrive in time to take part in the action. The British
battalions, urged by General Waldegrave, struggled manfully to get
forward, but the day was hot, and the ground was difficult and in
many places marshy: the men would not fall out, but they dropped
down insensible from fatigue in spite of themselves. Ferdinand
therefore ordered Lord Granby, who had succeeded to Sackville,
to advance with the twenty-two squadrons of British cavalry and
the British artillery alone. Away therefore they started at the
trot, the guns accompanying them at a speed which amazed all
beholders.[365] Two hours of trotting brought them at last within
sight of the enemy; and Granby at once turned them upon the cavalry
of de Muy's right wing. The pace was checked for a brief moment
as the squadrons formed in two lines for the attack. In the first
line from right to left were the First, Third, and Second Dragoon
Guards, in one brigade, the Blues, Seventh, and Sixth Dragoon
Guards in another; in the second line were the Greys, Tenth, Sixth,
and Eleventh Dragoons. Then the advance was resumed, Granby riding
at the head of the Blues, his own regiment, and well in front of
all. His hat flew from his head, revealing a bald head which shone
conspicuous in the sun, as the trot grew into gallop and the lines
came thundering on. The French squadrons wavered for a moment, and
then, with the exception of three only, turned and fled without
awaiting the shock. The scarlet ranks promptly wheeled round upon
the flank and rear of the French infantry; whereupon the three
French squadrons that had stood firm plunged gallantly down on the
flank of the King's Dragoon Guards, and overthrew them. But the
Blues quickly came up to liberate their comrades; and the devoted
little band of Frenchmen was cut to pieces. The French infantry,
finding itself now attacked on both flanks, broke and fled; and the
whole of de Muy's men, horse and foot, rushed down to the Diemel,
and, without even looking for the bridges, threw down their arms
and splashed frantically through the fords. A party of French
irregulars in Warburg tried likewise to escape, but was caught
by the cavalry and well-nigh annihilated. Finally, the British
batteries came down to the river at a gallop, unlimbered on the
bank, and played on the fugitives so destructively as wholly to
prevent them from reforming. Granby presently crossed the river in
pursuit with ten squadrons; and the fragments of de Muy's corps
retired in disorder to Volksmarsen. Thus brilliantly ended the
action of Warburg.

The loss of the French was set down at from six to eight thousand
men, killed, wounded, and taken, while twelve guns remained as
trophies in the hands of the victors. The Allies lost just over
twelve hundred men, of whom no less than two hundred and forty
belonged to Maxwell's grenadiers; Daulhatt's battalion also
suffering very severely. The losses of the cavalry were trifling.
Altogether the action was a brilliant little affair, well designed
and, despite the tardiness of Ferdinand's arrival, well executed.
For the British it redeemed the character of the cavalry which had
been so shamefully sacrificed by Sackville at Minden; since it was
evidently the recollection of that disgrace which spurred Granby on
to so rapid an advance and so headlong an attack. For Ferdinand the
victory effectually opened the way into Westphalia.

[Sidenote: Aug. 10.]

Meanwhile it had been found impossible to defend Cassel against
Broglie's overwhelming numbers; and the town was accordingly
abandoned. It was no fault of Ferdinand's that Hesse was thus laid
at the mercy of the French; indeed, with an army weaker in numbers
by one-half than his enemy's, he had done well to save Westphalia.
He now took up a position along the Diemel from Trendelburg to
Stadtbergen, so as to seal up every passage over the river, while
Broglie posted his main army over against him on the opposite
bank. The Marshal's superiority in numbers, however, enabled him,
while holding the Allies in check with the bulk of his army, to
detach independent corps for minor operations, though he took
even such enterprises in hand with redoubled caution after the
lessons of Emsdorff and Warburg. His first essay was the reduction
of Ziegenhain, which surrendered after a siege of ten days; and
concurrently he moved a corps under Prince Xavier eastward against
Münden, which occupied Göttingen and pushed detachments forward as
far north as Nordheim and Einbeck. This latter movement carried
the war unpleasantly far into Hanoverian territory; but Ferdinand
none the less remained immovable on the Diemel. Broglie thereupon
broke up his camp on that river and shifted his position eastward
to Immenhausen, to support the operations of Prince Xavier. This
placed Ferdinand in an awkward dilemma. He had sent a few troops
to Beverungen on the Weser to check Xavier's advanced parties; but
this detachment, though it had done its work well, was not strong
enough to make head against an invasion in real force. Moreover
Einbeck was disagreeably near to the border of his brother's
dominions of Brunswick, which he would fain have saved from
invasion if he could. Yet he could not move to the east bank of the
Weser without uncovering Lippstadt, the one fortress which enabled
him to prevent the perfect concert of the French armies of the
Rhine and Main. In fact the situation was one of extreme trial and

[Sidenote: Sept.]

Ferdinand, whose light troops and irregulars were never idle while
they could make mischief, first tried the effect of a raid with a
flying column upon Broglie's communications with Frankfort; but
this enterprise, though it alarmed the French and somewhat threw
back their preparations, only partially achieved its object. On
the other hand, it was always open to Ferdinand to stay where he
was till want of forage should compel Broglie to retire; but this,
though an infallible method, was slow, and would mean that the
country would be converted into a desert, through which it would be
impossible to follow the French during their retreat. He therefore
resolved to make a diversion by carrying the war suddenly to the
Rhine. Broglie, in his anxiety to invade Hanover and Brunswick, had
denuded Wesel of the greater part of its garrison. If Ferdinand
could snatch Wesel, the base of the Army of the Rhine, from him,
the diversion would be a telling stroke indeed.[366]

[Sidenote: Sept. 23.]

[Sidenote: Oct. 1-2.]

[Sidenote: October.]

All through the first days of September Ferdinand's preparations
for this undertaking went steadily and silently forward; and on
the 22nd a powerful train of siege-artillery, under the Count of
Lippe-Bückeburg, marched away for Wesel, followed three days later
by the Hereditary Prince with about ten thousand Hanoverians and
Hessians. The Count was to conduct the siege and the Prince to
cover it. Broglie, on learning of their departure, at once detached
a strong corps under the Marquis of Castries to follow them; to
which Ferdinand retorted by sending to the Prince one Hanoverian
and ten British battalions, together with a Hessian regiment and
three British regiments of cavalry.[367] Meanwhile the Prince's
advanced parties had crossed the Rhine below Wesel on the 29th of
September, and had surprised two or three small garrisons. The
commandant of Wesel thereupon broke down the bridge which connected
it with the western bank of the Rhine; and none too soon, for on
the 30th the Prince came up and invested the fortress. The siege,
however, progressed but slowly owing to rain and stormy weather;
and meanwhile Castries was advancing by forced marches, despite the
dreadful state of the roads, along a route full fifty miles south
of the Prince's, to the Rhine. On the 12th of October he crossed
the river at Cologne and pushed on without delay to Rheinberg,
where he was joined by reinforcements from Brabant. Considering
the unspeakable difficulties of foul weather and almost impassable
roads, this march of Castries stands out as a very fine feat of
resolution and endurance.

The advance of French troops from the side of Brabant was a
complication which neither Ferdinand nor the Hereditary Prince
had foreseen. In fact it almost deprived the advance to Wesel of
the character of a diversion. Castries had in Rheinberg thirty
battalions and thirty-eight squadrons besides irregular troops,
and was expecting further reinforcements; whereas the Prince,
weakened by the absence of men in the trenches before Wesel, could
muster but twenty-one battalions and twenty-two squadrons to meet
him. It was open to the Prince either to fight against superior
numbers or to retreat; and he elected to fight. Castries had taken
up a position behind the Eugenian Canal, facing north-west, with
his right resting on Rheinberg, and with the abbey of Kloster
Kampen, on the northern side of the canal, before his left front.
Immediately before his left, but on his own side of the canal,
stood the village of Kampenbröck, consisting of several scattered
houses with gardens, ditches, and hedges. In front and to the
left, or western, side of Kampenbröck was a morass covered by a
straggling wood of sparse and stunted trees, through which were
cut paths to a bridge that connected the village with the abbey on
the other side of the canal. Across this bridge lay the Prince's
only way to penetrate into the French camp; and Castries had been
careful to guard the passage by posting no less than two thousand
irregular troops in and about the abbey. The only possible chance
for the Prince lay in an attack by surprise.

Waiting until the 15th to collect his troops, the Prince marched
from before Wesel in dead silence at one hour before midnight. The
force was disposed in five divisions. The Fifteenth Light Dragoons,
Royal and Inniskilling Dragoons, and Prussian hussars formed
the advanced guard; then came the support, of two battalions
of Highlanders and as many of British grenadiers; then the main
body of the Twentieth and Twenty-fifth British Foot, with eight
Hanoverian battalions, all under command of General Waldegrave;
then the reserve, of the Eleventh, Twenty-third, Thirty-third and
Fifty-first British Foot, with three German battalions, under
General Howard; then a rear-guard of the Tenth British Dragoons and
ten German squadrons.

[Sidenote: Oct. 16.]

At three o'clock on the morning of the 16th the advanced parties
of the Allies come upon the outposts of the French irregulars, a
mile and a half beyond Kloster Kampen. Despite the strict orders
of the Prince one or two shots were fired, but fortunately without
alarming the enemy; and the Allies pursued their march unmolested
to the bridge, thus cutting off the irregulars in the abbey from
the French main body. These isolated troops were then attacked and
utterly dispersed; and while the musketry was still crackling loud
round the abbey's walls the Prince stealing silently on with the
British grenadiers penetrated into the wood and into the village
of Kampenbröck, so quietly and yet so swiftly that he was in
possession before the enemy were aware of his presence. The French
in camp had, however, been alarmed by