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The Life and Diary of Lieut. Col. J. Blackader
Chapter VI


WAR IN FLANDERS.

Cameronian Regiment embark for Flanders—They are disowned by the United Societies—Causes of the wav—Preparations on both sides —Siege of Namur—Battle of Steinkirk—Battle of Nerwinden or Landen—Retaking of Namur—Peace of Ryswick.

The reduction of the Highlands, and the abandonment of Ireland by James, left William at leisure to co-operate with his allies, in prosecuting the war on the Continent. All the troops that could he spared from the necessary defence of his kingdoms, were ordered to cross the seas, to join the confederate army, then assembled in the Netherlands. Of this number was Lord Angus’, and other five Scottish Regiments, viz. the Scots Guards, Mackay’s, Ramsey’s, Douglas’, and O’Farrell’s, now the 21st or Royal North British Fusileers. These regiments suffered severely in the various sieges and actions of the Flemish campaigns. At most of the engagements in that sanguinary war, Lieutenant Blackader was present, and was so remarkably fortunate, as to escape without a single wound

His diary, however, which does not commence until 1700, contains no account of these military operations and only adverts occasionally to some of his own memorable escapes. We do not, therefore, think it necessary to give more than a brief outline of the more prominent actions in which he was engaged. His personal services, in the following campaigns, cannot indeed be distinguished from those of his regiment, but to have omitted them entirely, would have been to leave an important blank in his history, and detract from the merits of his well-earned reputation.

Meantime, we may here observe, that the affection and good understanding which had hitherto subsisted between the gallant Cameronians and their parent sect, was now to be interrupted by an irreparable breach. The United Societies had kept up a friendly correspondence with the regiment, ever since it was raised, and claimed a sort of spiritual charge over its religious and moral deportment They repeatedly sent to the Highlands admonitory letters, exhorting the soldiers both to their private and public duties,— to refrain from drunkenness, duels, swearing, and such other vices as soldiers are addicted to—to abstain from the sinful and scandalous games of cards and dice, of which some of them were occasionally guilty: They sometimes reprimanded the elders for being lax in administering reproof, and not keeping up sessional discipline in the regiment. To all, they recommended the propriety of laying down their arms, and quitting the profession, rather than be engaged in any service which did not tend to advance the glory of God, and the work of reformation. They applauded their resolution, not to serve with the malignant armies in Ireland, which they had refused to do, when the Scots Brigade were sent over. But they were highly incensed at their present conduct, for entering into foreign service, and especially for joining in association with what they considered a profane and Popish confederacy. By this step of defection, as it was called, the brave Cameronians incurred the displeasure of the United Societies, and were formally disowned by the more rigid brethren.

The truth is, being disappointed in their peculiar views of church government, and seeing their persecutors continued in office, instead of being brought to condign punishment, as they expected, they began to be disaffected to the government; and to cast out of their fellowship, all who adhered to it. They retracted theii‘ former declaration for the Prince of Orange, and their owning as Queen, a daughter of the bloody Popish Duke of York, educated in the abjured principles of Prelacy. The gallant Cleland who had disciplined their troops, and led them on to victory against Claverhouse and Canon, was now branded as a betrayer of their cause, and a reviler of the great Mr. James Renwick. Shields the chaplain, with Boyd and Linning, who had assisted, by their eloquence, in levying the regiment, being charged with lapsing into these backslidings of the times, abandoned the Community, and were admitted into the bosom of the church. Their animating appeals to the patriotism of their countrymen on the holms of Douglas, were all construed into rhetorical subtleties, to entrap and insnare them into unlawful associations. Instead of going To pull down the gates of Rome, as the preachers had expressed themselves, they were going to espouse the cause of Antichrist, and fight for the rights of the Holy See, in league with malignant heretics and Popish idolaters,—alluding to the alliance entered into by the treaty of Union, at the Hague, in 1690, which we shall shortly have occasion to mention. From this period, the Cameronian Regiment may be regarded as altogether disowned by the United Societies, or at least, in a state of alienation and apostasy from them.

The war of 1690, against Louis XIV. was a confederacy of all Europe, which he had justly provoked by his insatiable ambition, and his regardless infringement of treaties. His gigantic policy seemed to grasp at universal empire, and to enlarge the Tboun daries of his own dominions, he scrupled not to make the most flagrant aggressions on the territories of his neighbours. Not only the faith of treaties and negotiations, hut even the laws of religion and humanity were dispensed with, when they obstructed the accomplishment of his vain-glorious projects. The English and the Dutch complained that he had oppressed their commerce, plundered their merchants, and encroached upon their fisheries and foreign colonies. By violence or artifice, he had made himself master of the chief fortresses on the side of Germany, and had laid his plans to seize every place of strength on the Rhine, from Basle to Mayence. He had wrested to himself two-thirds of the Spanish Netherlands, and eagerly sought a pretext to appropriate the remainder.

The States helield with alarm these frontier towns, which ought to have been a barrier to repel his ambition, filled with hostile troops, and converted into military stations, whence their enemies might annoy and oppress them at pleasure. On the Upper Rhine he had ravaged the whole country with fire and sword. Not content with possessing the fortifications, he ordered the towns and villages to be laid in ashes, and reduced the Palatinate to a desert. The wretched inhabitants, delivered up to the pillage of a lawless soldiery, were driven from their homes in the dead of winter, to wander in the fields without food or shelter. Twice in his reign did he desolate these fertile and populous provinces, involving, in one. promiscuous ruin, the works of art,—the monuments of antiquity, and the temples of religion. Embowered amidst the luxuries and voluptuous pleasures of Versailles, he consigned, without pity or remorse, the lives and properties of a flourishing district, to the lusts and the swords of a barbarous military. These inhuman mandates found Lauderdales, Grahames, and Dalzells, ready to sanction and to execute them; and it may seem a strange anomaly in human nature, that the most cruel and oppressive acts that disgraced the annals of that period, issued from the two most effeminate courts in Europe, those of Charles II. and Louis XIV. Atrocities so remorseless and unprovoked, struck the nations with horror at the spectacle : Even the officers who were the instruments of. them, were ashamed at their own barbarities.

His severe persecution of the Huguenots or French Protestants, was a measure equally repugnant to humanity, and the principles of sound policy. By revoking the Edict of Nantz, which secured to them the free exercise of their religion, he had driven into exile above 400,000 of the most industrious and valuable inhabitants of France. The Huguenots being incapacitated by law from holding civil offices, had employed themselves chiefly in arts and ingenious manufactures; and by their skill, and the encouragement they received under Colbert, they had amassed very great opulence.

Bat the cruelties and military executions to which they were exposed, forced them from their homes, to seek protection in foreign countries. Religious emigrants were scattered over the whole continent. Fifty thousand of them took refuge in England, and many more in Holland and Germany. Wherever they fled, they carried their wealth, their industry, and ingenuity along with them. Their miseries and complaints excited the compassion of strangers, and increased the general detestation at the tyrant who was the author of them. Numbers of these fugitives joined the ranks of the allied armies, in order to revenge their injuries, by retaliating on the persecutor. Louis had thus the mortification to see his own subjects become, not only rivals in arts and commerce, but enemies, and instruments to chastise him.

By his rapacious aggressions abroad, and his impolitic severities at home, Louis had thus raised up against him a formidable confederacy, such as Europe had never seen; comprehending nearly all the Powers in Christendom, with the exception of Poland and Switzerland. England and Holland, the Emperor, with all the Princes and Electors of Germany, Spain, Savoy, and almost the whole of Italy, were leagued in alliance against France. Of this confederacy, William was unquestionably the presiding genius and master-spirit. Besides his natural hatred of France, which had always been the oppressor of his House, he had at this time special reasons of enmity. Louis had attempted to drive him from the throne, and assailed his dominions in support of the abdicated monarch. He had invested Ireland with his fleets, and filled it with his armies. Emissaries were employed to foment opposition, and even to attempt his assassination. French gold, by which he had corrupted all the courts in Europe, was distributed among the rebels in the three kingdoms. England had thus a personal interest in this Continental Association. She was not entering into foreign connexions from a love of war, or embarking in any romantic speculation of chivalry, from which she was to derive no benefit. She took up arms in defence of her religion,—the independence of her crown,—and her very existence as a free nation. France never beheld such a combination of power leagued against her; and the hour seemed to be approaching, when she was to experience, in her turn, the fate of those countries on which she had heaped so many miseries and insults. With this formidable array, Louis had to contend single-handed. The most magnificent preparations were made to repel the invasions that threatened him on all sides. His resources seemed to increase in proportion to his difficulties, and to multiply with the purposes and demands he had to answer. The unlimited control he possessed over the finances of a mighty empire, enabled him to set in motion, and keep a-going a vast system of offensive war; and with a vigour that astonished the most sanguine of his adversaries. He had in regular pay, of land and marine forces, not less than 450,000 men. These he had divided into six armies, which were stationed round his dominions, and all at once in active operation. One army was employed in Ireland, to support the interests of James, under Count de Lauzun, and the Duke of Berwick; another in Spain with the Duke de Noailles; and a third on the confines of Italy, commanded by Marshal Catinat; a fourth was stationed on the Upper Rhine, to oppose the Emperor Leopold, and the rest of the Germannic Princes; a fifth, under Marshal Boufflers, was posted on the Moselle, as an army of observation, to act as circumstances might require; the sixth, commanded by Luxembourg, the ablest general in the French service, was opposed to the Dutch and British in the Netherlands; where the greatest efforts were to be made, and the greatest obstacles to be encountered. 2 In the Congress which met at the Hague, January 1691, the Allies concerted their measures for opening the approaching campaign, and fixed the number of troops to be supplied by each of the contracting powers, They published their resolution, not to lay down arms against France, until she should restore all she had taken from the neighbouring states since the peace of Munster. William, who presided, and opened the congress, harangued them in an eloquent speech, on the imminence of their danger, and the necessity of making a simultaneous effort, to snatch the liberties of Europe out of the hands of the Usurper. He promised to spare neither his credit, his fortune, nor his person ; and undertook to furnish a quota of 20,000 men, at the head of which, he was determined to conquer or perish with his allies.

Besides the six Scots Regiments mentioned above, which were shipped at Leith, about the end of February, hut detained some weeks in the Frith by contrary winds, several others were about the same time embarked for Flanders, viz. Earl of Leven’s, Argyle’s, Lawder’s, and Beveridge’s.3 His majesty sailed on the 3d of May, and landed in Holland on the 18th. Next month he reviewed the whole of the royal confederate army, consisting of 184 squadrons of horse and dragoons, and 83 battalions of foot, each 800 men, amounting in all to 222,000.

In every quarter, fortune had attended the French arms. Victory had declared for them in Spain and in Italy. In Flanders, they had gained the battle of Fleurus, July 1690, and in March, next year, they took the strongly fortified city of Mons. The summer was spent in marching and manoeuvring, in raising batteries and constructing bridges, without producing any thing of importance, each party forming projects that vanished before they could he put in execution. The allied army had advanced on the Sambre, between Huy and Charleroi; and although William was desirous to undertake some enterprise which might sustain his high reputation among the allies, and give a pledge for the confidence they had reposed in him, yet the enemy were content, merely to thwart his designs, without risking the decision of a battle. In the month of September he returned to England, leaving the army in charge of Prince Waldeck.

As Louis had reaped little glory from the preceding campaign, he resolved to signalize the following year, 1692, by some enterprise, worthy of his power, that might strike terror into the allies, and compel them at once to sue for peace. Two grand projects he had in contemplation; the one was, to astonish the Confederates by the conquest of Namur; the other, to make a descent on England, to second the zeal of the Jacobites, and re-establish James on the British throne. A most splendid naval armament was fitted out at the ports of Brest and Toulon, which was opposed by preparations equally magnificent on the part of England and Holland. The two fleets met off Cape La Hogue; and after an obstinate engagement, which continued for six days, the French were completely defeated.

In Flanders, Louis was more successful. He had withdrawn the greater part of his troops from his other frontiers, and sent them to join the army under Luxembourg, who invested Namur, towards the middle of May. Lord Angus’ Regiment had not yet been in any general action, though they were in active service all the preceding campaign. They were now with the army under King William, that covered this celebrated siege.

Namur, which was reckoned one of the best fortified cities in Flanders, is situated between two hills, at the confluence of the Meuse and the Sambre. Its natural strength was rendered still more impregnable by the subsidiary works of art. The citadel, built upon a rock, was considered one of the strongest in the Netherlands. Cohorn, the famous Dutch engineer, had constructed new fortifications, and was himself employed to defend them. The garrison, between nine and ten thousand men, was provided with all the requisites for a long and obstinate resistance. Few sieges had witnessed such a display of military talent and preparation. Here art was opposed to art; and the two great rivals in military architecture, Cohorn and Vauban, were brought into contact with each other, and set to exert all the powers and resources of their genius, as it were, to determine the point of superiority between them. It was, moreover, a spectacle but seldom witnessed, and which filled the nations with anxiety for the event, to see the two most powerful monarchs in Europe contending in person, each at the head of their respective armies.

Louis appeared first on the field, though he had left .Versailles^s>n the same day that William had quitted the Hague. His travelling retinue was rather unusual for a warrior, and altogether in the effeminate style of an Asiatic court. He had a train of carriages filled with his mistresses and ladies of quality; and was accompanied by musicians, dancers, opera-singers, and all the voluptuous ministers of luxury. He immediately invested the town, being resolved to carry it before he attempted the citadel. His army, consisting of 120,000 men, he divided into two halves; with the one, he himself pressed the siege, while Luxembourg, with the other, was employed to cover it. On the night of the 29th of May, the trenches were opened, and next day, Marshal Boufflers made himself master of one of the suburbs. In two days more, the counterscarp was carried by assault; and after several attacks, in one of which, the grand magazine of the town took fire and blew up, the besieged found themselves obliged to capitulate, which they did on the 5th of June. But the garrison were allowed forty hours to retire into the castle.

When the city had surrendered, Fort Cohorn was next attacked with great fury, the batteries having played upon it for six days, without intermission. But though defended with the utmost resolution, it was reduced, after an obstinate contest, in which Cohorn himself, who commanded the Fort, was dangerously wounded. The reduction of the citadel now only remained, and this was immediately undertaken by the besiegers, with all the spirit and intrepidity which the presence of their great monarch could inspire. From the 22nd until the 37th, bombs and halls were poured into it incessantly. The defendants made several hold attempts to dislodge the enemy, and kept them at hay by the briskness of their fire ; but one of their bastions being taken by surprise, had such an effect on the governor, the Prince de Barbason, who was suspected, on this occasion, of cowardice or treachery, that he beat a parley, and agreed to evacuate the place, which was immediately taken possession of in the name of His Most Christian Majesty.

William, who was assembling his troops near Louvain, had not begun to move when the city of Namur capitulated. On the 8th of June, he advanced on the small river Mehaigne, with intention to force the enemy to raise the siege. Luxembourg occupied the opposite bank, and the two armies continued many days in sight, and sometimes within cannon-shot of each other, without coming to any decisive action.

There was frequent and sharp skirmishing between them, and William made several efforts to dispost his antagonist, and decide the fate of Namur, by a battle. But the rains, having swelled the river, swept away his bridges, and rendered the low grounds a complete marsh, unfit for cavalry or artillery to pass. Besides, Luxembourg who had the start of him in preparations, had secured all the most advantageous posts, and made such dispositions, that it was scarcely possible he could have been dislodged, hut by a force much superior to his own. It was with the greatest mortification, that William saw himself obliged, at the head of 80,000 men, to lie inactive, and witness, with his own eyes, the reduction of the most important fortress in the Netherlands,—his presence serving only to give additional eclat to the triumph of his grand rival, who, considering this feat as the greatest action of his life, returned to Versailles, to he flattered with the pompous compliments of his court and nobility.

In order to retrieve his lost honour, William determined immediately to anticipate, in his turn, the artifices of Luxembourg, who had retired to an encampment between Steinkirk and Enghien ; his own camp being at Lambecq, about six miles distant. Hoping to attack the French by surprise, he sent them, by means of a spy, false intelligence of his destination ; while, by the disposition of his troops, he left it uncertain whether Namur, Liege, or Dunkirk was to be the object of his attack. Eager for a battle, as the only means of sustaining his reputation, and consoling the allies for their ill success, he set out for Steinkirk on the night of the 2nd of August, with all secrecy: The army re-passed the Senne at Halle, and marched in two columns, as the nature of the country, which was covered with thickets, and intersected by hedges and narrow defiles, did not admit of an extended front. By day-break they were close upon the enemy; hut owing to the incumbrances of the ground, it was mid-day before they could make their necessary evolutions, or form in order of battle. The Prince of Wirtemberg led the van, supported by Lieutenant General Mackay, at the head of the Scottish Infantry, and several battalions of English. Count Solmes had the command of the centre, and the Elector of Bavaria, of the rear. The French were posted on a rising ground, with their right on Steinkirk, and their left towards Enghien. They were encompassed with hedges, and defended in front by a wood, so that there was no way of attacking them but by the side of the wood, or through the hedges which they were in possession of. About two in the afternoon, the battle commenced with a furious attack on the enemy’s right wing, by the Prince of Wirtemberg, whose brave battalions charged up the hill with such vigour, that they drove the French from their hedges and trenches, and made themselves masters of the cannon which they kept possession of, for more than half-an-hour. Of the ten battalions that behaved with such gallantry, four were English and Scots, the rest Dutch and Danes.

At this time, the enemy’s camp presented a scene of consternation and disorder; and had the panic been taken advantage of, the affair might have terminated in favour of the allies. But unfortunately. Count Solmes neglected to follow up this success, and either from a hatred of the English, or a jealousy of the Prince of Wirtemberg, purposely kept back the necessary succours, until Luxembourg had rallied his broken lines, and reinforced them with fresh troops. The French soon recovered their lost ground. Their far-famed guards, with many princes and nobles at their head, were let loose, and in a bravado charged sword in hand. The Dutch and British sustained the shock with the greatest intrepidity. Deserted by their friends, they had nothing but their own bravery, and a sense of duty to animate them. For four hours the combat raged with unabated fury, and scarcely was any victory ever more obstinately contested. The carnage on both sides was great; and never was the sword more impartial, for officers and soldiers fell without distinction, in one promiscuous heap of slaughter. Notwithstanding the superiority of the French in numbers, having thirty battalions opposed to ten, the battle seemed to remain doubtful, until the arrival of Marshal Boufflers with his cavalry, which gave the fortune of the day a fatal turn. The brunt of the contest was sustained by the infantry, the horse being no farther engaged than merely covering the attack. The loss of both parties was extremely severe; above 10,000 men having fallen within the space of a few hours. The Scots and English alone, were said to have left 3000 dead upon the field. Many officers of rank on each side were slain or wounded ; and here the Cameronians, who had been in the hottest of the action, lost their gallant Colonel, the Earl of Angus. He was succeeded in command by Lieutenant Colonel Monro.

William conducted his retreat with the greatest order and coolness, while .Lexerilbourg durst not stake the glory he had dearly won, by hazarding a pursuit. Satisfied with his escape, and unable to derive any advantage from liis victory, he was content to remain quietly in his camp, and the allies returned unmolested to theirs.

The most extravagant joy was manifested at Paris, on the first news of this supposed overthrow. The young princes who returned from the battle, were received with a veneration bordering on idolatry. The roads through which they passed, were lined with gazing multitudes who rent the air with their frantic acclamations. Any man who had been there was regarded with admiration. To commemorate this victory, fashion lent her aid; and Steinkirk had the honour of introducing a new mode of tying cravats, and giving name to every modish article of female attire. Jewels, hats, and handkerchiefs were named Stein-kirks; and the populace vied with each other in the invention of flattering compliments.

William, though vanquished and considerably shorn of his military glory, still continued a formidable enemy. After passing the winter in England, he opened the campaign of 1693, in the month of May. The allied armies which had been quartered about Ghent, Aeth, Bruges, and Oudenarde, were summoned to his majesty’s camp at Park, near Louvain, where he was also joined by the Dutch and English Infantry. His first object was to cover such places as were most exposed and most likely to be attacked. For this purpose he ordered detachments to be posted at Liege, Huy, Maestricht, and Charleroi, himself remaining on the defensive in his camp, with about 40,000 foot, and 12,000 horse and dragoons. For above a month the two armies remained in this uncertainty, each ready to seize the first advantage. On the 17th of July, the Duke of Wirtemberg gallantly forced the French lines between the Scheld and the Lys, in several places; and laid the whole country, as far as Lisle, under contribution. Louis had set out for the camp on the 2nd of June, with his ordinary equipage, where it was expected lie would have achieved some mighty exploit; but to the great joy of the allies, after having reviewed his army, he returned with all his ladies to Versailles, leaving the prosecution of the war to Boufflers and Luxembourg. The latter took the town of Huy, and made a feint to invest Liege; but his real object was to surprise the allies, who had taken up a position at Nerwinden. And here was fought another of those disastrous battles, in which William saw himself forced to yield the palm of victory to his rival.

In this action, the Confederate army had the advantage of the ground, but they were greatly inferior to the enemy in point of numbers, being much weakened by the detachments sent to Liege and other places. They were drawn up on a rising ground between the villages of Winden and Landen, distant about two miles; their right defended by the river Geete, their left by the brook of Landen. Their front was covered by ninety pieces of cannon, planted along the ridge of the hill, and by a thick hedge which ran in the direction of their lines, to a considerable extent. The body of the infantry was posted on this eminence, with the cavalry in the rear. The Elector of Bavaria, with his division, in which were several battalions of Scots and English, occupied the village of Nerwinden on the right, which sustained the hottest of the action. On the 28th of July, in the afternoon, the French army reached the plain of Landen, but Luxembourg, content with examining the position of the allies, deferred the attack until next day. This delay gave William an opportunity of retiring behind the Geete, had he chosen to avoid an engagement, which he was advised to do, by the Electors and other Princes of the army: But he was resolved to give battle, hoping to make up for deficiency of numbers, by courage and perseverance. During night he caused, with incredible speed, a deep trench to be dug, from the one village to the other, which covered, as with a parapet, his whole front. By day-break the works were finished; and between four and five in the morning, the cannonading on both sides began. The havoc became more terrible the nearer they approached, but without abating the resolution of either party.

About eight, the attack upon Nerwinden commenced. The carrying of this point was of the greatest importance to the enemy, as they could not approach the entrenched front of the allies, while their flank was exposed to the galling fire of this village. It was therefore vigorously assaulted, and carried in a short time. But the assailants were not long masters of it, until it was regained. The defendants in their turn, were again dislodged, and the enemy once more obtained possession of the place. In this manner, it was taken and retaken three or four times; and such were the desperate efforts made by William to retain this post, that after redoubled exertions, he had the pleasure of seeing it again recovered by the valour of the British Infantry, which he had twice led on to the attack in person.# This obstinate and murderous contest was kept up until four in the afternoon. Both parties had continued to pour in torrents of fresh troops, which were swept away in whole battalions by the fire of their opponents. Every inch of ground was disputed to the last. The little mud-walls, about four feet high, which the inhabitants used instead of hedges to divide their gardens, served the purpose of intrencliments. The streets where they fought, were piled with heaps of slaughter, among which were many of the bravest troops in the French service, the Swiss and Royal Guard.

While the capture of Nerwinden was occupying the attention of Luxembourg, the centre of his army had remained almost in a state of inaction, exposed to the enemy’s artillery. A part of his cavalry, however, finding between the village and the river Geete, a passage which the allies had been forced to abandon, took advantage of this, and fell upon the rear of the infantry that defended the trenches. William, who observed this, advanced with a part of the left wing, hut being too distant, the line was forced and broken before he could approach.

The French dragoons poured in without opposition. The Spaniards and Hanoverians were charged and overthrown. The Dutch horse were put to flight before the English could form. Dismay and confusion became general; and as it was impossible to drive the enemy from their advantage, William gave orders to sound a retreat. The right wing being overpowered with numbers, was forced headlong into the Geete, where many, both men and horses, perished. The bridges were broken down by the pressure, and whole regiments were precipitated into the river, their dead bodies serving to facilitate the escape of their flying companions. But the retreat which William conducted was managed with the greatest order, and was reckoned, even by his enemies, a master-piece of good generalship. Luxembourg, however, was not in a capacity to profit by the advantages which fortune had put in his power; for though victory had declared in his favour, both parties were equally disabled.8 In this bloody rencountre, above 20,000 men were slain, 8000 on the side of France, and 12,000 on that of the allies, besides 2000 prisoners, and a very great number of cannons, mortars, and colours which fell into the hands of the enemy. Here the Cameronian Regiment must again have lost their brave Colonel Monro, for his name does not appear in the list of officers for the subsequent campaign,

At Lew and Tirlemont, William collected the debris of his army, and though but a short distance from the field of battle, his antagonist durst not attack him weak and exhausted as he was, but retired back to his camp, near Liege. The conduct of the king during the whole action, showed the greatest courage and presence of mind. He visited every post in person, faced every danger, and undertook to remove every difficulty. He alighted not less than four times to head the infantry in their attacks, performing the office of a subaltern, as well as of a general. He continued from the dawn on horse-back, and had only taken two hours sleep in his coach, the preceding night. Several officers fell by his side; his own, and two led horses were killed. He had refused to put on his armour, that his movements might be more easy and expeditious. One musket ball went through his peruke, another through the sleeve of his coat, and a third passed through his sash, slightly grazing his body.

The only other achievment of the French this campaign, was the reduction of Charleroi, which was taken in October,—the allies finding it impossible to relieve the garrison, without forcing the lines of the besiegers,

In the spring of 1694, the Confederates were again ready for action. Then* misfortunes seemed only to redouble their efforts. The grand army was reassembled in the beginning of June, at Betldeliem-Abbey, near Louvain, where William had his camp. The Scots and English battalions left their garrisons in Flanders, to join the main body. The Scots were reinforced by an accession of 7000 men : Of these, 3000 were new levies; and with such expedition were they raised, that although the proclamation for them was not issued until the 14th of March, by the 22nd of April, they were not only completed, but all actually embarked in Leith-Roads for Flanders.9 France, enfeebled by success, and exhausted by her victories, was now forced to act upon the defensive. Neither money nor recruits could be procured, while the allies, like the fabulous hydra, seemed to multiply under the sword of the destroyer.

The enemy spent the summer in consuming the forage in the plains of St. Tron, Tongres, and Vigna-mont; and the only memorable action of this campaign was, the re-taking of Huy, which surrendered to the Confederates on the 27tli of September. About the middle of October, the armies again dispersed, and went into winter quarters,

The campaign of 1695, was more disastrous to Louis than any of the preceding. His glory and greatness were evidently verging towards a decline. His resources were exhausted with so many expensive wars, and Luxembourg, who had made France the terror and the scourge of Europe, was no more. These bereavements seemed to put an end to his rapid career of victories. Marshal Villeroi was placed at the head of the army in Flanders, while the second command was given to Marshal Boufflers. As they intended again to act on the defensive, Villeroi took his position behind the lines that ran from Menin on the Lys, to the Scheld; and Bouffllers lay with his forces near Mons, to cover Naniur in case of a siege.

The allies were superior in point of number, and formed into three divisions: One with the Elector of Bavaria was ordered to invest Namur. The King himself at the head of the main body, was encamped behind the Mehaigne, to sustain the siege, while Prince Vaudemont, with an army of observation, occupied a position between the Lys and the Mandel. The grand object of William was to retake Namur; hut to amuse the enemy and conceal his real purpose, as well as to complete his preparations, he made a feint of attacking three different places at once. Having decamped suddenly from Rousselaer, he' sat down (3d of July) with his whole force before the town, which was already invested by a detachment, under the Earl of Athlone. Boufflers at the head of seven regiments of dragoons, followed by a large corps of engineers, miners, bombardiers, &c. had just time to throw himself into the place, before it was completely inclosed.

The garrison was computed at 15,000 men, well furnished with all sorts of stores and provisions. The fortifications which Cohom had left unfinished, were improved by Vauban. The citadel was deemed im-pregnible ;10 and it was believed, the town itself could scarcely be carried. The trenches were opened immediately, and while the siege advanced with all imaginable success, Prince Yaudemont, with his division, executed one of the most masterly retreats recorded in history. While he lay encamped near Arsel, Villeroi with his whole army, instead of marching to the relief of Namur, thought it more adviseable to leave the besiegers unmolested, and attack this separate body, which he doubted not would fall an easy prey to his overwhelming force. About ten in the evening, he reached the Prince’s camp, who was taken by surprise, and kept his troops under arms all night. He caused entrenchments to be thrown up in case of assault. Finding next morning that he was in danger of being surrounded, and cut to pieces, he wisely altered his resolution from fighting to retreating. He ordered the infantry to file off in two columns, through the trenches, with their pikes and colours trailing. He had also a line of cavalry drawn up, behind which, the foot passed along, while their motion was concealed from the enemy. Nor was the deception perceived, until the horse quitted their post, which they did when the infantry were beyond the apprehension of pursuit. The French were struck with amazement, to see a whole army vanish from before their eyes, as it were by magic; while the Prince, who remained in the camp till the last, amused himself at their confusion. About 400 men were cut off, which happened by a stratagem of the enemy, a party of whom, speaking English, and having green boughs in their hats, a distinction which-the allies used in the-day of battle, were mistaken for friends, and had thus; an opportunity of taking advantage by their-disguise.

The Cameronian Regiment appear to have been in this famous retreat, as we find Lieutenant'Blackader alluding in his Diary, some years afterwards, to his: narrow escape at Arsel-on this occasion; 11 The same evening, Prince Vaudemont reached Deynse, next; day he. marched to Ghent, and some time after to Brussels, which Villeroi was preparing to bombard,r in retaliation for' the attacks of the English. on the coasts of France. This was a piece of cruel and useless vengeance. Having mounted his batteries with, mortars, and cannon loaded with red-hot balls, he began to play upon the city, continuing this process of devastation for some days, without intermission. Churches, convents, public buildings, and above 1500 houses were laid in ruins. The wind blowing strongly, the flames spread on all sides, presenting a scene of destruction at once sublime and terrific, f Prince Vaudemont was encamped on a neighbouring hill, and an eye-witness of this tragedy, but without the ability either to prevent or avenge it.

Meantime the siege was carried on with the most determined and invincible obstinacy on both sides. No contest since the beginning of the war had cost more labour and expense of lives. The natural bravery of the troops was aided and increased by the methods in which they were arranged, being often sent to the assault in bodies composed of different nations, who vied with each other in feats of the most desperate courage. This national rivalry inflamed their resolutions to a sort of frenzy, and made them appear more like desperadoes and madmen than soldiers. The Scottish and English infantry, consisting of thirteen battalions, were detached from Prince Vaudemont’s army to join the besiegers.

On the 12th of July, the batteries were opened, and continued for six days to ply without interruption. The first exploit of any consequence was the storming of one of the out-works, on a hill near the Brussels’ Grate. This was performed by five battalions of English, Scots, and Dutch, under Lord Cutts and General Ramsey, in presence of the king himself. 12 They faced the enemy’s fire with great intrepidity, and after a sharp action of two hours, in which many brave men fell, they obliged them to abandon the fort. This attack was led by 120 fusileers, armed, and carrying fascines before them. These advanced up to the very pallisades, where, laying down their fascines, they discharged their muskets; the grenadiers then threw in their grenadoes, and the rest marching close behind, presented over the pallisades, and poured their whole fire upon the enemy. This success they followed up instantly by carrying the first counterscarp, which they did, though repulsed three several times, and left exposed to the shot from

the bastion,—their wool-sacks and fascines having taken fire while endeavouring to effect a lodgement. The same day, the Elector of Bavaria reduced an important post on the opposite side of the town, with very little loss, and threw a bridge over the Sambr e.

The next undertaking was to drive the defendants from their lines of communication between the Sambre and the Meuse, which would prevent them from annoying the besiegers in that quarter. This was reckoned a matter of difficult and almost hopeless execution, as they had a hill to climb planted with cannon, besides those that could be made to bear upon them from the fortifications. Yet with all these discouragements it was attempted. Wherever the officers led, the soldiers were ready to follow, as they had now forgotten what fear was. They made their assault with such hardihood, that they not only forced the besieged from their lines, but turned their own artillery against themselves.

In order to effect a breach in the rampart of the town, the assailants plied their batteries, both of cannon and mortars, for two days incessantly. His Majesty went himself into the trenches to give the necessary orders. On the 2d of August, the breach was deemed practicable, and Lord Cutts, with 400 grenadiers, entered, though several times repulsed, and made such slaughter of the enemy, who were now exposed on all sides to the fire of the besiegers, that they were glad, next day, to hang out their white flag as a signal of surrender. The garrison were permitted two days to retire into the castle, against which the whole operations of the allies were now directed.

On the 12th of August, the siege of the castle commenced, and for several days the assailants continued their approaches with all possible diligence. As they had now possession of the town, they were in a condition to batter the citadel on all sides. On the 21st they had no less than 60 mortars, and 166 pieces of cannon pointed against it, as if they intended to level the walls, like those of Jericho, with one blast. A general discharge from all these batteries was made at the same moment, and with such effect, that the echo rebounded from the hills, and the whole circumference of the castle, with the rock on which it stood, seemed to reel under the shock. Scarcely could the besiegers themselves support the horrors of their own experiment. For some time all was enveloped in one thick cloud of smoke and dust. In the interior of the castle, the scene of astonishment and confusion was indescribable. Every object wore the face of ruin. Nothing was to be seen save bursting shells; fractured battlements, limbs of men blown to atoms, and horses plunging headlong into the trenches, or impaling themselves on the pallisades in their ungovernable fright. Boufflers and the principal officers had found it necessary to retire to the vaults under ground, until the storm had abated; and even there they could scarcely believe themselves safe, as despair seemed to penetrate to their lowest caverns. .

On the 29th, the garrison were summoned to capitulate, and time allowed to prepare their resolutions, but without success, and hostilities went on. A detachment of 10,000 men, divided into four parties, among which were Mackay’s, and other Scots regiments, were ordered to make four different attacks at once, with a view of taking the castle by one general storm. But this design, though the men, as usual,' seemed to out-rival each other in rashness and impetuosity, had only a partial success, owing to a mistake of the signals, and a miscalculation in timing the assault. The carnage within the citadel had become so great, that the defendants solicited a truce of one day, for the burial of their dead, which was granted. At the same time, they offered to surrender Fort Cohorn, and requested that the truce might be prolonged for ten days; neither of which the besiegers were disposed to listen to. The garrison, finding no alternative between a total surrender and the hazard of another general assault, which they were less able to withstand, as the walls were broken down in some places to the extent of an English mile, proposed to capitulate, which they did on honourable terms; and on the 4th of September, the castle was evacuated; the whole siege having lasted nearly two months. This sanguinary contest cost the French nearly 10,000 lives, and the allies many more; although William gained by the recovery of Namur, more honour than he had lost during the three preceding campaigns. The following year produced nothing memorable, being entirely spent in feints and bravadoes, so ambiguous, that it was difficult to know whether they were intended to challenge or avoid an engagement. In 1697, the allies lost the town of Aeth : But France was now so much embarrassed and reduced, that she began to make advances towards a peace, to which the Princes of the Confederacy seemed equally disposed. Accordingly the peace of Ryswick, which was to suspend all hostilities in Europe, was concluded in October this year, although, as it often happens, the eeds of disco rd were planted in those very treaties which were designed to secure the general tranquillity.

Thus ended one of the most ruinous and expensive wars that this country had yet been engaged in. The enormous levies had exhausted the public treasures,— left the fields uncultivated for want of hands, and the inhabitants in danger of starvation. The military operations of this period might have been passed over in silence, but for the reasons mentioned in the beginning of this chapter. The subsequent part of our work, which is to be compiled from the Diary and Letters of Colonel Blackader, will necessarily be of a less general nature, and more restricted to his personal history.


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