CAMPAIGN THIRD, 1704.
The War carried into Germany—Extracts—Battle of Schellenberg— Battle
of Blenheim or Hochstet—Captain Blackader wounded— Returns to
Scotland—Success of the Campaign.
This year lias become memorable in the
annals of British History, being signalized by more brilliant
victories, and more remarkable success than bad hitherto attended
the Confederate arms. The Duke of Marlborough, not more
distinguished as an intrepid warrior, than as a skilful General,
resolved to make the experiment of transferring the seat of war from
the Netherlands to Germany. The state of the Imperial dominions
rendered the interposition of the Allies, in that quarter,
absolutely necessary. The Elector of Bavaria, now in the interest of
France, had carried hostilities into the very centre of the empire.
He had taken Neuberg, Ratisbon, and Passau; and having joined
Marshal Villars, they defeated the Imperialists on the plains of
Hochstet, a place which was soon to become renowned by one of the
most signal -victories of the Allies.
The Emperor was struck with consternation at these disasters, and
reduced to the last extremity. His territories were over-run by the
French and Bavarians, who had penetrated beyond the Danube, and
threatened to besiege him in his own capital.
The insurgents in Hungary menaced him on the opposite quarter, and
nothing but immediate succours seemed capable of preserving all
Germany from revolution, and the House of Austria from total
subversion. Count Wratislau, the Emperor’s Envoy Extraordinary,
presented a memorial to the Queen of Great Britain, soliciting
speedy succour, which her majesty was pleased to grant, by ordering
the Duke of Marlborough and a part of the Confederate troops, to be
sent to rescue the empire from its imminent danger. These subsidies
could be the better spared, since the frontiers of Holland were now
tolerably secured against the invasions of the enemy, being strongly
defended by rivers, forts, and intrenchments. A small army, under
the command of Mons. D’Auverquerque, was to be stationed in
Flanders, to act on the defensive; while the main body with the Duke
of Marlborough, were to march upon the Rhine, (which, by the taking
of Bonn, was laid open as far as Coblentz) with the design, as was
given out, of penetrating into France, but in reality, to carry the
war to the very confines of Austria. All matters relating to the
operations of the campaign being happily adjusted, the Duke set out,
leaving orders to the 'British troops, and the rest of the forces,
to direct their march towards Coblentz and the Moselle. We now recur
to our subject.
January 1. Resolution to spend my time better, so as I may have
peace in it; to serve God more cheerfully,—to trust him, and cast
all my burdens upon him; not to be anxious or careful about any
thing, but by faith and prayer, to interest him in it. Lord, give me
grace to live so.
January 2. Sabbath. On guard this day; and by company, kept from
retirement for spiritual thoughts.
January 4. My judgment sees the emptiness and vanity of things here
below, yet my affections, for all that, will be doating upon them.
Blessed Jesus, raise my affections, and fix them upon thyself.
January 6. This day, from morning till night, my spirits sour and
chagrined : there is still as it were, a weight upon me; a
melancholy temper, inclined to discontent, poisons all my comforts.
Satan also works by it, and the least accident is fuel to it.. If
this grows upon me, my life, which has been made sweet and
comfortable by a long track of singular mercies, will become
miserable. At night, I found help in prayer by faith, believing
firmly that God will help me to serve him more cheerfully and
January 15. I bless God, who keeps me so out . of temptation—keeps
me easy, contented, serene: It is his goodness alone, for if he
should leave me to myself, my own corruptions would rise in
rebellion against me,' and make me miserable. .
January 20. I find great difference in my frame. Some days I am
serene, cheerful, contented; others, without any outward cause,
quite the reverse; every thing ready to become a temptation. .
January 21. This day business went on well. I find the best way to
get through business is, to commit all to God. '
February 3. I keep too fast a hold of earthly enjoyments : I shall
never be well, until I come to that, viz. to rejoice that I am a
stranger in the world, that this is not my home,—to rejoice that the
world is vain and unsatisfying, and all its comforts temporal and
February 4.. If I could live by faith, I might have a sweet, life;
for I find the very moments in which I believe, that, my thoughts
and temper are only pleasant and cheerful.
February 8. This morning access to God in prayer; faith lively;
trusting in God; putting all my interests, my wife and family in
his: hands, believing firmly that he will give a good account, of
all—that mercy and goodness shall follow me and her this campaign,
as it did the last.; for besides the promises of God I had last year
to. trust, to, I have also the, sweet experiences of, the last
campaign to encourage, me, how he gave his angels, charge over us,
that no plague came nigh our dwelling—no evil befel us. We saw a
.peculiar care of Providence about us. G then, I desire cheerfully
to trust a covenanted God still,, and pleasantly to put a blank in a
kind Father’s hand, who, I am assured, will give me a good account
of all, and Once more put songs of praise and deliverance in our
mouths. Lord; Jesus, strengthen our faith. It is only by faith we
can live. When that fails,, all fails.
After writing this sweet experience, and .praying it over alone, I
called my wife, and she. and I prayed it over jointly, blessing ,and
rejoicing in God for his mercies last campaign; trusting in him, and
casting ourselves upon him this campaign; believing firmly that he
will follow us with mercy and goodness still— that he will give his
angels charge over us,—that he will protect, preserve, guide, and
direct by his Spirit and Providence,—and that all shall be well if
we trust and rely upon him.
February 13. Sabbath. O how much do I stand in need of reviving,
quickening ordinances. I complain that I am here infected by the
people, the country, and the company Hive in; grace wastes away, and
I become dry as a parched and thirsty land wherein no water is. Woe
is me, that I sojourn so long in Mesech, that I dwell in the Unts of
Kedar. I long to be under a refreshing gospel ministry, where I have
felt the sweet influences of his Spirit and grace upon my heart,
like Dew upon the tender grass. One day, O Lord, in thy courts is
worth a thousand.
February 17. Again set apart this morning arid forenoon, with my
wife, for prayer, to' humble ourselves in prospect of a new
campaign, and to depend upon him for grace and strength.—I prayed
over the ninety-first Psalm, believing the sure performance of every
particular promise in it. I resolved to depend more upon Christ, and
to employ him in every circumstance of my life.
February 20. A melancholy Sabbath, dejected and desponding. O how
much I long for those rousing arid quickening ordinances I once
enjoyed, wherein I have felt the Spirit of God powerfully reviving
and refreshing a dead soul. The longer I stay in this country, I
think I am the worse. O Lord, carry me wherever thou wilt give me
most of thy presence, for I take no comfort in a life absent from
February 24. Deeply affected with my condition, both as to the sin
and the misery of it. I looked to Christ for comfort, and especially
to that promise, Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest. :
February 25. Concerned in an affair this day. Blessed Jesus, thou
who art the truth, , teach me what I should believe and own as
truth; and let me receive nothing as current, but what thy Spirit
stamps , thy image upon; and then, be it never so small a truth, I
desire grace to own and adhere to it at my utmost hazard. Give me,
Lord, in my own cause, a meek and quiet spirit; but in thine, give
me zeal, courage, and boldness.
March 2. This morning and forenoon again set apart for prayer, for
the presence and blessing of God this campaign, in the view of
launching out into new storms and temptations.
March 9. On guard this day, but kept out of temptation. Taken up all
the morning about the regulations of our employment. I bless God for
his Providence, that he keeps me in garrison here, when others are
going out. I went out before when they were kept in. I know I did
get good of that, and shall do of this likewise.
March 12. Sabbath. Still I have not here that heavenly, spiritual
frame that I used to have in Scotland. This country is infected with
an air of formality. O that I might again behold the beauty of the
Ford in his temple, and sit under his shadow with great delight.
March 19. The day soberly spent at home; company in the evening. I
see the world to be a theatre, and human life to be a downright
farce, a stage-play of folly, vanity, and pageantry. My judgment, in
its cool reasonings, despises and sees through this vanity and
emptiness, but alas, my foolish affections refuse to answer the
helm, and will run out fondly after earthly trifles; though, in the
meantime, I see their insufficiency, that they cannot make me happy.
March 20. On guard this day; hut not watchful enough over my own
spirit, and apt to sin through hastiness of temper. There are two
things that frighten me most in the campaign, The ill company I may
be engaged in, that I cannot shun; and too much occupation with the
world, that withdraws me from the service of God. I have put up my
suit to Christ against these two.
March 31. On command, and marching all this day. My frame serene and
spiritual. Singing hymns and psalms, and yet alas, sinning between
hands by passion and hastiness of spirit. When I consider my way of
religion, I think it is this: As to internals, my thoughts,
meditations, and secret outgoings of my soul, the Spirit of God
seems to guide and influence them; but when it comes to words or
actions, then the weak man appears, and I seem to act by my natural
temper, and do not so sensibly feel the conduct of the Spirit, as in
the motions of the heart. This makes me shun company, public posts
and appearances, and choose solitude and retirement; for I cannot
get my words and actions so ordered, as to be the true mirror of my
mind. This employment also exposes me to ill company which I hate,
aud cannot live with. My soul is weary of the tents of sin.
April 22. In company all this day; yet easy, serene and cheerful. I
dare not say but I have made escapes in company; and I complain much
I have not the talent, or dexterity of bringing in edifying
discourse, hut rather join in their trifles.
April 24.. In. the evening got accounts of our making the campaign
far up the country. Serious and fervent in joint prayer, casting
ourselves upon a covenanted God, and trusting in him. The earth is
the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof I care not where I go, if he
go/with me. His presence will make even a camp pleasant. But if thou
go not with me, Lord carry me not out of the Busse. We were helped
to believe that he will conduct us well through.
April 25. Serious, easy, and cheerful. In the winter, I was more
frightened for the snares, temptations, and discouragements of a
campaign, upon a distant view of it, than now when it approaches
nearer. I bless God who makes me so serene and cheerful at my going
out to the - camp, and for the faith that I believe'firmly I shall
have the blessing and presence of God with me wherever I go.
April 28. This day we marched out of the Busse to the camp. I admire
the goodness of God, that I am so easy and comfortable, for I was
frightened in the prospect of a campaign, for snares and evil
company, but now as it approaches, these fears are dissipated.
April 30. Sabbath. Marching all day, but alas, involved in sin by
company and idle discourse. A sad place to be in an army on Sabbath,
where nothing is to be heard but oaths and profane language.
May 1. On command this day, yet spiritual thoughts between hands. I
am daily getting fresh instances of God’s goodness to me.
May 2. Marching all day; retiring occasionally for prayer. I have
company the world knows not of; and were it not for thy presence,
Lord, I would sink under discouragement; and could not live among
the scum and dregs of mankind, who seejn like devils broke loose
from hell. I protest, I seek no higher post or preferment in this
army; I rather seek to be fairly quit of it; I see it is not my
element. I desire also to have a spirit above the foolish pageantry,
and false notions of honour which the world admires.
May 3—7. Marching every day. This not a proper work for a Sabbath.
Met with a merciful Providence, my horse falling upon me, yet not
hurt; this stirred me up to thankfulness. Joining the rest of the
regiment in the afternoon, where I got accounts of two or three
particulars that were like to make me uneasy; but I retired to
prayer, and there I cast all my cares,—all my burdens upon God. He
lets me see this world is but a stormy sea,—a vale of misery and
tears, one blast after another.
May 8—15. Marching every day. A merciful and remarkable Providence
happened to me this day. Lord, give me grace never to forget it. I
had almost been drowned in the Moselle at Coblentz, if it had not
been the goodness of God that sent me help. This I think remarkable,
that I have been serious since ever I heard of our coming to the
Moselle, praying for the blessing and presence of God; and yet at my
very first sight of it, I was like to be lost in it. God deals
frequently so with me; when he promises me any thing, he gives it
such a turn by contrary providences, as may make the thing seem
impracticable and past belief; and then in that difficulty, he tries
faith by the event, for faith would not be faith but sense, if all
things went smoothly on without cross providences; but to believe
when the thing seems impossible, is faith; like Abraham sacrificing
his son Isaac. Lord, let the impression of this sink deep into my
soul, and make me holy and thankful. I take it as a pledge of yet
greater mercies to come in this journey.
May 17. At night I got a warning that I am a frail creature; but, O
Lord, thou art the God of my health. I trust to thee that thou wilt
keep me in health, and prevent sickness in this expedition, for how
sad would it be here among strangers ! Thou art my Physician for
soul and body. Lord, I tremble to think on the profanity and
wickedness of this army that I am in, and what judgments we are like
to pull down upon our own heads; for the English army are sinners
exceedingly before the Lord, and I have no hopes of success, or that
this expedition shall prove to our honour. HowsoeA er much we may
think of ourselves, thou wilt humble us; but for my own part, I am
not anxious, thou keepest me in perfect peace; and whatever thou do
with the English army, 1 am persuaded, that by the mercy of God, I
shall set up my Ebenezers through Germany. Wherever thou lead me, I
shall be still and see the salvation of our God, while thou exaltest
thyself among the heathen; be thou exalted very high, and work with
thy outstretched arm, and let not an arm of flesh have the glory.
May 18. Resting this day, not designedly, but by reason of the
roads. This is like to be a campaign of great fatigue and trouble. I
know not where they are leading us, but, Lord do thou lead me in thy
I will not trust to General’s leading; thou who leadest the blind by
a way they know not, I trust to thee alone, and put myself, and all
I am concerned in -under thy conduct. I see the kind hand of a
Father still about me.
May 19—22. Marching every day. Arrived at Mentz after a long
May 27. Army resting this day. I went into Heydelberg in company and
hurry, and have no time for retirement.
May 28. Sabbath. Army marching. By being in town I had retirement,
for I shook off all company, and retired alone upon the hanks of the
Neckar the whole forenoon. I hope I had communion with God; my
covenant with Christ ratified; my Ehenezer here set up; his presence
implored: And this I beg, dear Lord, if this be an unlawful
expedition, that thou wouldst yet turn me hack; if thou go not with
me, carry me no farther. When I consider this,1 that we are here
assisting those oppressors that have wasted the church and people of
God, persecuted and oppressed them, it makes me afraid the quarrel
is not right, and that we shall not prosper; though I he satisfied
that our quarrel against France is a very just one. O Lord, I commit
all to thee; let me he found strictly in thy way, in the road of
duty, fighting thy quarrel against thine enemies. It is a sad thing
to J>e in an army where one has not confidence to pray for success,
and dare not seek it with faith. Take, Lord, the honour and glory to
thyself; work so that the arm of flesh may not boast, hut that the
finger of God may appear. Wken thy judgments are abroad on the
earth, then the inhabitants thereof will learn righteousness. When
the carcases of the one half of us are dung on the earth in Germany;
then, perhaps, the other half will bethink themselves. Be it as thou
wilt; I flee to the chambers of mercy thou hast provided in Christ;
there I shall be safe, and may be, I shall be hid from the outward
stroke also. 1 bless thee I have such sweet minutes in this army,
they are as cordials which keep up my fainting spirits. At the
writing hereof, I am sitting under a great rock, (it being a
scorching hot day) cool and refreshed Even so, Lord Jesus, be thou
the shadow of a great rock in this weary land to me.
June 1—12. Marching every day, except resting occasionally from
great fatigue, or from bad weather and bad roads.
June 13. Marching; frequent in ejaculatory prayer. I think this the
great secret of Christianity, whereby a spiritual heat and edge of
soul is kept up; communion with God and his Spirit, cherished and
entertained. I live as retiredly as possible, though I knoAv this
retired way is condemned by the gay world; but I care not, it is the
safest way of living, to be kept free from the filth and pollution
of the world. I value not their opinion; nay, it is rather a
happiness to be hated and ill spoken of by them, for in all ages,
the seed of the serpent has spit venom at serious Christians. They
hate holiness and the image of God; and when they love any good
people, it is a strong presumption that they are too like
June 14. Marching and on command.
June 15. Marching and in fatigue until midnight.
June 16. This day we joined Prince Lewis’ army.
June 11—21. Marching and expecting to come to action.
Thus, by rapid and fatiguing journies, in little more two months,
the Confederate forces had penetrated to the banks of the Danube,
and reached the scene of action. Their difficulties were not a
little augmented by the frequent bad weather they encountered, and
the almost impassable state of the roads, which in those days were
often little better than foot-tracks. Yet the writer of the Diary
has few or no complaints on the score of bodily fatigue, and not one
anxiety about facing the dangers that were now gathering round him
on every side. These were not the objects that occupied or
discomposed his thoughts. The irritability of mind he sometimes
betrays, though it may 'have been increased by lassitude, was always
occasioned by the impiety or profane discourse of the company he was
obliged to mingle with.
We find him, amidst hurry and confusion, constant in the exercise of
private devotion, and embracing every opportunity of retirement for
religious s meditation. It was from these sources he drew not only
his comfort, but his courage; and to this secret spring must be
traced up that calm and resigned fortitude which could render him
superior to fear. Some can be bold on the prospect, or in the midst
of danger, from a constant familiarity with it. Some have the
faculty, as it were, of averting their thoughts from disagreeable
images, of dismissing those timorous apprehensions that always
create uneasiness or concern, and become daring from mere
carelessness or insensibility. Others must have their nerves
fortified by artificial stimulants, or their minds wrought up into
The Christian acts upon principles totally different.
His composure rests. on a better foundation than a thoughtless
levity of heart, or a reluctance to contemplate his own situation.
To exclude from his thoughts what he cannot prevent, or rush on
destruction with his eyes shut, he regards as the foolish and
despicable shift of a madman or a coward; and calculated rather to
increase and multiply his fears. He is never overtaken by surprise,
because he is prepared for every vicissitude that can befal him; and
in the day of danger he is uniformly seen more tranquil and
consistent, and not less intrepid in his conduct, than/those whose
courage depends upon the temperature of their blood, or the
artificial heat of their minds. And the reason of this conduct is
obvious. Vice debilitates the mind as well as the body : while
virtue warms and elevates the soul to great and noble actions; for
can any thing be bolder than truth, or more fearless than conscious
innocence?. No conviction can be more animating than that which the
Christian entertains, that all the contingencies of his life are in
the hands of Omniscience; that the Divine presence, go where he
will, compasses him about as with a shield; that it draws, as .it
were, a sacred fence around his person, and furnishes a surer
protection against the arrow that flieth by day, than all the
defences of art or of nature.
The action alluded to above, was that which took place at
Schellenbevg, in the immediate neighbourhood of Donawert, in which-
the enemy’s intrenchments were forced, after a most obstinate and
bloody contest. The Duke of Marlborough had conducted his march with
such secrecy and despatch, that he was on the borders of Suabia
before the enemy were apprised of his real destination. Their belief
was, that he intended to lay siege to Traerbach, and penetrate into
France along the Moselle. His purpose was originally communicated
only to three persons, and was long kept a mystery to many of his
own officers; some allusion to this uncertainty is made in the Diary
for the 18th of May.
Being joined by the Imperial army under the Prince of Baden, it was
agreed to proceed without delay to the Danube ; a resolution which
greatly surprised the enemy, who now; saw, for the first time, how
far they were mistaken in their conjectures. The French and
Bavarians had effected a junction, and a strong detachment of their
best troops, under Count D’Arco, was posted on a rising ground at
Schellenberg, where some thousands of pioneers had been employed
several days, in casting up intrenchments and perfecting other works
of defence. Notwithstanding these advantages and preparations, the
Duke was resolved to drive them from their position. On the 2d of
July, at three in the morning, he set out at the head of 6000 foot,
and 30 squadrons of horse. About noon he reached the small river
Wernitz, within a short distance of the enemy; but having to
construct bridges for transporting his troops and artillery, it was
six in the evening before all was ready for the attack. The action
commenced with the Dutch and British infantry, who attacked with
their accustomed valour and intrepidity. An hour elapsed before the
Imperialists could come up . to their assistance, in consequence of
which some of the English regiments suffered very severely. In
half-an-hour after, the cavalry broke into the intrenchments,
followed by the infantry, when a terrible slaughter ensued, the
soldiers appearing to forget the weariness of a tedious and
fatiguing march. The enemy fled with precipitation on all sides,
leaving 6000 men dead on the field of battle. They were pursued to
Dona-wert, and the very brink of the Danube, into which hundreds
threw themselves, imitating the example of Count D’Arco and other
general officers who saved themselves by swimming. In this contest
Captain Blackader was not called into action; for although Brigadier
Ferguson headed the infantry in the first attack, it appears that
only a small proportion of his own.regiment was actually engaged.'
June 21. Easy and serene all day; cheerfully committing myself and
all that concerns me into the hands of God; fetching all my supplies
of courage, and strength, and furniture, for going through the
duties of my function, from him alone; for indeed I pretend to no
stock of my own either of courage or conduct. In the evening I
witnessed one of the hottest actions I have seen. It continued from
six to eight o’clock. We gained our point, and heat the enemy from
their post, and yet we have no reason to boast or think highly of
ourselves. The British value themselves too much, and think nothing
can stand before them. We have suffered considerably on this
occasion, and have no cause to he proud. During the action I was
straitened in praying for success and victory to our people, and had
not enlargement to seek anything but that God would get the praise
to himself, and work so as the arm of flesh might not rob him of his
glory. O that God might reform this army, that good men might have
some pleasure in it. When we see what an uncertain thing our life
is—now in health, and the next moment in eternity, it is wonderful
we are not more affected by it. I see also that the smallest
accidents give a turn to the. greatest actions, either to prosper or
defeat them: that human wisdom, courage, or any thing else we value
ourselves upon, is but weak and fallible. There was only a
detachment of 130 of our regiment engaged in this battle.
June 22. In the evening I went alone into the field of battle, and
there got a preaching from the dead. The carcases were very thick
strewed upon the ground, naked and corrupting; yet all this works no
impression or reformation upon us, seeing the bodies of our comrades
and friends lying as dung upon the face of the earth. Lord, make me
humble and thankful ! I trusted in thee that I should set up many
Ebenezers through Germany, and here in the field of the slain do I
set up my memorial, Hitherto thou hast helped me.
June 24. Passing the Danube, the effect of our victory the other
July 4. Marching every day. O may I be found in the way of duty,
for, like wisdom’s, her ways are ways of pleasantness, and her paths
peace. In our King’s highway there are lights set up for direction,
and a voice behind, saying, Walk ye in it. In our King’s highway are
cordials for the weary fainting traveller, streams of refreshment
and of comfort. In our King’s highway are magazines and store-houses
of grace, that the traveller may go on from strength to strength.
July 5—10. Marching. Things begin now in this country to take
another aspect. Nothing i3 talked of here but accommodation and
peace; hut perhaps we count without our host too hastily. I know not
how it will be; only do thou, Lord, direct and over-rule all for thy
July 11—30. Marching almost every day, and sometimes on command. We
are now divided and detached into three or four armies. I know not
what Providence is about to do with us; hut this I know, that
wherever or with whatever army I may he, I shall set up my stone of
deliverance as I do here at Rain, for we have marched hack again to
July 31. This day, after a fatiguing march, we repassed the Danube
and joined three of our armies together.
August 1. Resting till far on of the day, then drawing out our lines
as making ready to he attacked by the Duke of Bavaria and the
French. I bless God I was stayed and composed, very easy and
indifferent about fighting, recollecting my interest in him.
These preparations were the harbingers of the ever memorable battle
of Blenheim or Hochstet. After taking possession of Schellenberg
the. Allies seized Donawert, which had been abandoned by the
Bavarian garrison. The Elector had retired with the shattered
remains of his army under the cannon of Augsburg. Finding it
impossible to dislodge him from this strong position, the Duke of
Marlborough, eager to profit by his recent victory, resolved to cut
him off from all supplies. He entered the Bavarian territory and
took several places by storm. He ravaged the whole country, as far
as Munich, with lire and sword, in order to compel the Elector to
sue for peace or relinquish his connections with France. A
negotiation was begun, but without sincerity on the part of the
Elector, who only wished to prolong the truce until the French army
should march to his assistance. On the 4tli of August, Marshal
Tallard joined him with 22,000 horse and foot. Reinforced by these
new auxiliaries he left Augsburg, with the intention of surprising
Prince Eugene, who, with one of the Confederate armies, lay encamped
on the plain of Hoclistet. The Duke of Marlborough, with his
accustomed vigilance, soon penetrated the design of the enemy, and
on the 12th he formed a junction with Prince Eugene. Being now in a
condition to cope with their adversaries, who by.this time had
encamped very near them, the two Confederate Generals proposed to
attack them, though they were advantageously posted, their right
flank being covered with the Danube and the village of Blenheim,
and. tlieir whole front defended by a rivulet.
This resolution being adopted, preparations were made with the
utmost diligence. The drum heat about midnight, and by two in the
morning, the whole army was in motion; hut it was seven before they
could be drawn up in order of battle. About noon, orders were given
for the general attack, which was begun on the left, at the village
of Blenheim, by the British infantry and four battalions of
Hessians, who boldly advanced to the muzzles of the enemy’s muskets,
some of the officers exchanging sword-thrusts with the French
through the pallisades. But the tremendous fire made such havoc
among them, that they were forced to retreat, leaving nearly
one-third of their number dead on the spot. A second assault, in
which Captain Blackader was wounded, was made by Brigadier Ferguson,
but with no better success, though they had returned three or four
times to the charge, and were as often repulsed. In this action, the
Cameronian Regiment suffered severely, having about twenty officers
either killed or wounded. While the infantry were thus occupied, the
cavalry passed the rivulet—advanced up the hill where the enemy’s
horse were posted, and put them to the rout, notwithstanding they
rallied several times.
It is not requisite here to enter into the particulars of this
celebrated battle; suffice it to say, that after an engagement of
five hours, victory declared for the Allies, although they attacked
with a visible disadvantage, and after a march of ten hours in an
extremely hot day. The loss of the French was computed at 30,000,
and that of the Allies about 12,000, killed, wounded, and prisoners.
Thirty battalions of the enemy threw themselves into the Danube to
escape, and perished before the eyes of the conquerors. Twenty-eight
battalions, and twelve squadrons of horse surrendered to the
British, who, after the fatigues of the day, were obliged to
continue on'their arms all night to guard the prisoners, as there
was no place of security in that country where they could be put.
They were kept inclosed in a lane or hollow square, formed by the
troops at the village of Blenheim. On this duty, Captain Blackader
mentions himself as one of the officers on command.
August 2. Many deliverances I have met with, but this day I have had
the greatest ever I experienced. We fought a bloody battle, and, by
the mercy of God, have obtained one of the greatest and completest
victories the age can boast of. In the morning, while marching
towards the enemy, I was enabled to exercise a lively faith, relying
and encouraging myself in God, whereupon I was easy, sedate, and
cheerful. I believed firmly that his angels had me in charge, and
that not a bone should be broken. During all the little intervals of
action, I kept looking to God for strength and courage, and had a
plentiful through-bearing, both to keep up my own heart, and help to
discharge my duty well in my station. My faith was so lively during
the action, that I sometimes said within myself, Lord, it were easy
for thee to cause thy angels to lay all these men dead on the place
where they stand, or bring them in all prisoners to us. And for
encouraging our regiment, I spoke it aloud, That we should cither
chase them from their post; or take them prisoners and I cannot but
observe the event at seven o’clock at night, when they laid down
their arms to us. Twenty-six regiments (some say thirty) surrendered
themselves prisoners at discretion, to the Duke of Marlborough, and
our regiment was one of those that guarded them.
This victory has indeed cost a great deal of blood, especially to
the English. I was always of opinion that the English would pay for
it in this country; and when I consider, how, on all occasions, we
conquer, yet with much blood spilt, I am at a loss to know what the
reason may be. Perhaps it is that our cause is good, and therefore
God gives us success in our enterprises, but our persons very
wicked, and therefore our carcases are strewed like dung upon the
earth in Germany. Among the rest I have also got a small touch of a
wound in the throat; 3 hut this, so far from making me doubt of the
care of Providence, is really to me a great confirmation, and a
remarkable instance of his protection; for the wound is so gently
and mercifully directed, that there is no danger; whereas, if it had
been half an inch either to one side or other, it might have proved
mortal or dangerous. The Lord is a shield and buckler to me. We have
all indeed good cause to rejoice; but O, shall nothing work upon
us—shall nothing be blest to reform us, when so many of us are cut
off—shall not the rest bethink themselves and turn unto thee. If
they will not, thou wilt yet break us more and more, for thou canst
waste us with victories, as well as with defeats. O Lord, thou hast
assisted me, and given such liberal supplies during the action, that
I was helped to discharge my duty, even with credit and reputation.
Dear Lord, I lay down all at thy feet. I have no reason to be lifted
up. It was not my own strength that carried me through, it was a
borrowed stock, so the praise is thine, and not mine; for hadst thou
withheld thy support, I had behaved scandalously.
Such are the humble and modest reflections he makes on his own
conduct, although, on this occasion, it appears to have been highly
courageous. His confidence and composure in the heat of action, are
thus expressed by himself, in a letter written on the field of
battle to Lady Campbell at Stilling:—“I am just now retired from the
noise of drums, of oaths, and dying groans. I am to return in a few
minutes to the field of battle, and, Wrapping myself up in the arms
of Omnipotence, I believe myself no less safe, as to every valuable
purpose, than if sitting in your Ladyship’s chamber.”
August 3. Worn for want of rest and refreshment; yet in the morning
I went back to the place of our attack, where we were posted, and
there among the dead, I again blessed God for my wonderful
The Allies were much embarrassed by the great number of prisoners,
as they had no proper depot to secure them in, and little to subsist
them. The Duke resolved to send his proportion, amounting to 5678 by
water, to Holland, that they might be distributed among the
garrisons in the United Provinces. Brigadier Ferguson, with five
battalions of British foot, were ordered to guard them to their
destination. With this convoy, Captain Blackader also returned; we
shall therefore follow him down the Rhine from Mentz, where the
prisoners were to embark.
August 4. Riding all day alone into Norlingen, and pleasantly
employed in thinking over the ninety-first Psalm. At night, thankful
for my good accommodation, and how happily I am sent in here among
the kindest of my friends.
August 5. Well all day; but in the evening a little uneasy, my wound
beginning to grow painful; but why should I be exempt from trouble
more than others ? I bless God I am not groaning with broken bones,
or bullets in my body, as many are.
August 9. This day busy going through and visiting the wounded and
dying officers. I see the vanity and emptiness of all things here
below. Many who last week thought themselves brave and healthy men,
are groaning and sinking down to the dust again.
August 12. Somewhat uneasy that my time has been encroached upon by
company too long, when I had no mind for them. At night seeing
officers in pain and torment witli their wounds, makes me thankful I
am not so severely handled.
August 13. Sabbath. Taken up all day in the house of . mourning,
burying a friend. O, I wonder at the sottish stupidity of men of our
trade. They see their comrades with whom they used to drink and
debauch, plucked out of the world in a moment, yet they have not so
much as a thought that they have a soul, or what will become of it
when they die. I look upon this impiety as the greatest madness a
rational creature can be guilty of. The longer I live, I see the
greater necessity for holiness. To see a poor creature on a.
death-bed, on the brink of eternity—forced to quit the hold of all
earthly comforts,—nothing but horror—nothing comfortable to look to
in the other world, surrounded with jolly companions, miserable
comforters, is very affecting. Then a view of Christ is precious, an
interest in; him is Worth a thousand worlds.
August 25—29. Travelling by water (down the Mayn.) Arrived safe at
Frankfort. Bless God for his goodness* in restoring me to health and
strength, while others are pained with their wounds, and some dead.
September 1. Travelling this day, and coming to the baths at
From this place is dated a letter to his wife, containing some
reflections on his present situation, which we shall insert.
Wysbaden, September 9.
I have at last received a letter from you, the one you wrote to the
care of Major Lawson at Frankfort. I suppose all you wrote to me at
Norlingen have been missent. This is the only one of yours that has
come to my hand since the battle. I desire in all things to fall in
with the designs of Providence, and am grieved at heart to think I
have so much love to the world, and so little to God, who, though he
had never done any thing for me before, yet the experience of what
he has: done, for me this campaign,—the wonderful deliverances,
preservations, signal mercies, and loving kindnesses he has heaped
upon me, might shame me out of all other love, and make me cry out,
He and He only is altogether lovely. I use to wish for solitude and
retirement, yet I must tell you, that though I have been in good,
company since I came from Norlingen, and had a pleasant voyage, and
abundance of retirement and qiuetness, yet such has been my inward
feeling, my want of peace and serenity of soul, that I have often
wished to he in the midst of the army again, and in the brunt of the
hottest battle. It has been ill with me these twenty days by-gone;
hut it is. not always so. I have consolation when I get access to
the; throne of grace with my petitions, and am enabled to pour out
my soul there. I write the more plainly to you: knowing that I open,
my case to a tendered-heart sympathiser, who has a fellow feeling
for my infirmities, and will remember me at the throne of our
compassionate High Priest, who has bowels of mercy for tempted
But we need such trials and troubles to keep us humble and sensible
of our needy dependence; especially after such mercies as I have
experienced the whole of this campaign. I beg of you not to he
discouraged with my complaints, for the Lord will deal bountifully
I know not whether I shall return to the regiment, or remain here
till they come down. Our Brigadier is on his way with five regiments
that suffered most, (ours is not with him.) He is to he at Mentz
tomorrow. I design to wait on him there, to see what Providence will
order. Perhaps I may he sent for Scotland this winter, for recruits.
I would rather it came from himself, than that I should ask it; and
if it do so, then I shall come down to Holland with him to get
myself ready. If this do not happen, then I may he desired to return
to the regiment. But I am indifferent about all these things; let
Providence work for me. If I come, the Lord will perhaps he gracious
to me, and send me down to Rotterdam before the sacrament there,
which I believe is about the beginning of October; and it would he a
very desirable mercy to us both, if we might go into His house
together, to take the cup of salvation in our hands, and pay our
vows in the presence of his people. The Lord’s blessing he with you,
and give you grace to walk suitably to our great mercies,—to devote
the rest of our lives to his service; and may the love of Christ he
the tie and bond of love between us, that we may he more and more
blessed in each other.
I am thine. J. B.
Mrs. Elaokaber, Mr. Montier’s, )
Merchand, Scots Dyke, Rotterdam. )
September 14. Still on our journey, and sometimes in none of the
best company. Passing by Coblentz, and at the writing hereof, just
upon the place in. the Rhine where I had almost been drowned in
going up the country. This stirred up a sweet thankful frame. I
looked upon it now as an earnest and pledge of his goodness to me in
the campaign. .
September 15. Came safe to Cologne. When I am passing through towns
or places I have been in before, it always awakes in me a tender
remembrance of my past mercies and deliverances.
September 18. I am brought back again in safety to Holland. Coming
to Dort at night, I recorded the goodness of God in the same room
where I had done it before, when I arrived this time twelve-month
from the last campaign. .
September 19. Arrived at Rotterdam. My soul humbled before God under
a sense of the deadness and unthankfulness of my heart, after such
signal favours as I have experienced.
September 24. Sabbath. Enjoying the ordinances of the gospel, yet I
could not have believed my heart would be so hard and insensible. It
is deceitful above all things, and desperately toicked.
September 80. Upon the wing, and in hurry all day; leaving Rotterdam
the very day before the sacrament, when I expected to have taken the
cup of salr vation, and paid my vows. I do not understand the
language of this Providence; perhaps it is that my heart is not
filled enough with love to Christ.
October 1. Sabbath. Went on board.
October 5. Pleasant passage; fair wind, and calm sea.
October 7. After a prosperous and speedy voyage, we landed in
Scotland safe and well.
October 8. Enjoying ordinances which my soul delights in, and which
was my principal reason for coining to Scotland at this time. I find
also that I am the first that has yet reached Edinburgh, of any that
were at the battles in Germany.
While in Edinburgh, he complains of being too much exposed to
company, and occupied with visitors that he could get no leisure for
retirement. In a short time he set out to Craigforth with his wife,
where they spent several months.
The remainder of the campaign in Germany was marked by a series of
successes. Ingolstadt, Augsburg, Ulm, Landau,# Treves, Traerbach,
and several other towns, surrendered to the Allies. The whole of
Bavaria was abandoned to their possession, and they were masters of
all the country from the Danube to the Rhine. The victory at
Blenheim was the key to all these successes. Its consequences were
most important. But for that, the Emperor must have been stript of
his dominions, and forced from his capital, for the Bavarians had
penetrated into Upper Austria; and the Hungarians, on the other
side, were broken out into open rebellion, and wanted nothing but
artillery and ammunition to have taken all the fortresses in the
empire. Such were the effects and the conclusion of this splendid
and celebrated campaign, which terminated after an uninterrupted
prosperity of seven months, without experiencing a single reverse of