Saturday, 21 March 2009

English contingent under Turenne

I've been trying to find more out about the English contingent fighting in the 1670s - finding out bits and pieces about the Royal English Regiment and so on. Best thing I've found on the web in the English language is Winston Churchill's 'Marlborough, his life and times, book one' which is on Google books and covers his early career under Turenne. This letter is interesting giving a flavour of the warfare at that time.

Col. John Churchill to the Duke of Monmouth Sept 25/Oct 5 1674
The 4th of this month M. de Turenne proffered battle to the enemies' army, but they would not advance out of their post to fight us, though they were much stronger, so we were forced to attack them as well as we could.
The enemy had a village in their rear and a wood in their front, so M. de Turenne made 8 battalions of us and the dragoons to march out into the wood and push till we came to the head of it, where they had a battery of 5 cannon, which we beat them from and took the cannon and afterwards pushed their foot about 100 yards from the wood's side, so that there was room for squadrons of horse to draw up with us, which being done, we advanced towards them, and beat them out of their at post, which was a very good ditch; which being done M. de Vaubrun, one of the lieutenant-generals, commanded us to guard that, and to advance no forwarder so that we advanced all that day afterward no forwarder. Half of our foot was so posted that they did not fight at all. Your Grace's last battalion was on this attack, and both those of Hamilton and mine, so we have lost a great many officers, Hamilton, his brother and several others of his regiment. In your battalion Captains Cassels and Lee were killed and 2 wounded. I had Captain Dillon killed, Captains Piggott and Tute wounded, Lieutenants Butler and Mordant and Ensign Donmere wounded, and Lieutenants Watts, Howard, Tucker and Field killed. I had with me but 22 officers, of which I have given your Grace account of 11.
Yet your regiment of horse was used much worse than we, for Lieutenant-colonel Littleton, Captain Gremes and Sheldon and 4 cornets with several lieutenants were killed. The Major, Captain Kirke and most of the officers not killed are wounded, and above half the regiment lost with also several of their colours.
I durst not brag much of our victory, but it is certain they left the field as soon as we. We have three of their cannon and several of their colours and some prisoners. The village where the battle was fought is called Waldheim

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