CAMPAIGN FIFTH, 1706.
Major Blackader leaves Rotterdam and joins the Army—Plan of
Operations—Battle of Ramillies—Consequences of the Victory—Siega of
Menin—Siege of Dendermond—Siege of Aeth—Troops retire to Winter
the opening of the campaign, Major Blackader continued at Rotterdam,
happy in the society of his friends, and more cheerful, because more
occupied in the duties of his new commission, and enjoying regularly
the ordinances of the gospel. He mingled also more in diversions and
company, to which his post necessarily more exposed him; still,
however, he was on his guard against being misled by their
seductions; and at the same time he speaks of his compliances in a
strain of self-accusation, resolving not to let his respect for the
opinions of the world betray him into a conformity with its vices
January 26. I often stay out in company too late at night. But I
must keep at a greater distance from the world, and not be so
conform to it. I must rise above its opinion and applause, else I
can never servo God aright, or be at ease in my own mind. I cannot
serve two masters; if I cleave to him, I am sure to be hated and
reproached by the other. I could easily change my conduct, and
overcome my natural reserve of temper, and live more freely and
gaily; but I dare not do it for fear of involving myself in sin,
especially in the army among vicious men. So I think the safest and
wisest course is to take rather the hatred and reproach of men, than
to wound my conscience, or offend my God. I have been better carried
through and provided for, than many others who have turned
themselves into all shapes in conformity to a wicked world.
Therefore I’ll keep my old way, and study holiness and strictness of
life, let the world laugh or think as it will.
March 11, 12, 28, Sitting in a court martial these three days;
putting up short requests for counsel and direction. I see men are
ready to flatter themselves— to judge and determine things according
to the rules of gentlemanly breeding and honour. I believe things
will go in a far different way at Christ’s tribunal.
March 29. This forenoon set apart for prayer, and imploring God’s
presence and blessing with us this campaign. I desire, as formerly,
to go out, trusting him,—hoping in his mercy,—depending upon his
promises, that he will go with me, to be a present help in time of
trouble; that his grace will be sufficient for me: that he ivill
perfect strength in my weakness, and never leave me nor forsake me.
So I hope I shall be well carried through.
April 23. Making court to some great men. Iam like a speckled bird
among them. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own,
but I have chosen you out of the world, &c. I know my post requires
that I should keep more company than I did, and live more open and
sociable with my acquaintance; hut then the conversation of the men
of the army puts a lock and continual restraint upon me. I fear the
snares and poison of had example.
April 24. This day is kept by the authority of this country as a
fast and humiliation before the army go out. I kept it also in my
family by secret and joint prayer.
April 29. In confusion and business all day, in order to marching.
April 30. Marched out of the Busse this day. Now my life of hurry
and noise begins.
May 1. This day we had a long fatiguing march. There was a great
eclipse of the sun about ten o’clock.
May 2—6. Marching every day. In the afternoon, when our regiment
came to their ground (at Bilsen,) I met with a signal mercy. My
horse had very near fallen above me, plunging and rearing, being
frightened with the colours and drums.
May 8. We joined the great army to-day (near Tongres.)
May 9. Marching. One of the worst days and roads we ever travelled
in. I pitied the poor soldiers, though very well myself. Now we
begin to talk of action, and that very quickly. O Lord, here I am,
do with me what seems good unto thee, for thou art my God. I trust
in thee, and hope in thy mercy.
I flee to the chambers of thine Omnipotence, love, and faithfulness;
there I shall be safe. Help me to discharge my duty as a man, as a
Christian, and as a soldier.
May 11. Advancing this day toward the enemy. I observe, to the
praise of free grace and mercy, that the nearer I come to action,
the more cheerful and vigorous I am, and grace more lively. Faith in
exercise through the day; fleeing to the well-ordered covenant, and
resting on the promises of God.
Camp, St. Tron. Friday, May 10.
I wrote you on Tuesday last, when we lay within two leagues of
Maestricht. I thought when we had joined the great army, I should
have got time to go in and see the Colonel’s Lady; hut we did not so
much as rest one day, hut marched immediately after we had joined. I
never saw the roads and the weather worse. It is generally thought
we are marching straight toward the enemy, to do something before
they he joined by Marshal Marsin who is coming in all haste. They
are lying near Tirlemont, hut we flatter ourselves they will retire
behind their lines when we march up that way. For my share, I wish
with all my heart they could stand where they are, and give us a
fair day of it, and fair play for our lives; for though I am no way
fond of fighting for fighting’s sake, yet I wish to see the war at
an end ; and before I marched such another day as yesterday was, I
would rather fight them to-morrow; for I hate fatigue above all the
business of our employment.
Be not the least concerned for me, for I am in the hands of a
merciful God, who only makes me to dwell in safety. You must excuse
me for not writing long letters. I hope you have consideration
enough to think that I have now a great deal of business more than I
had, and I rather choose to write short letters than to write none
at all. Remember me to your kind host Mr. Montier, and all friends
at Rotterdam. I mean to see Colonel Borthwick this afternoon if I
have time, I am thine, &c. J. B.
To Mrs. BLACKAnisa, Mr. Montier’s,
On the Scots Dyke, Rotterdam.
The action they were now upon the eve of, was the famous battle of
Ramillies, the consequences of which were as important in the
Netherlands, as those of Blenheim had been in Germany. The campaign
of this year opened with the most brilliant success on the side of
the Allies; and proved in its termination one of the most calamitous
and disgraceful that France had yet experienced. The disasters of
1704 were forgotten, and partly repaired by the temporary advantages
of last year; and Louis had recruited his ranks with such
astonishing celerity, that an army of 70,000 men was again equipped
and ready to take the field. It was commanded by Marshal Villeroi
and the Elector of Bavaria. The magazines were replenished with all
necessary stores, and the most extraordinary exertions were to be
made to retrieve the glory of their nation, and call back fortune,
which seemed to have deserted their arms. During the preceding
campaigns, they had generally acted upon the defensive, and left the
Allies to become the assailants. Yet victory seemed to declare
against them, though they had often the superiority in numbers and
the advantages of the ground.
This year the French cabinet changed their mode of tactics, and
determined to try the event of active hostilities. Their Generals
were instructed to become the aggressors, in the fond hope of
becoming conquerors. But these sanguine expectations, as will
appear, became their ruin, by betraying them into rash and
The Confederates were no less eager for an engagement, but they
scarcely anticipated so early an opportunity for it. Louis, who had
in vain employed all the arts of his intriguing court to create
jealousies and divisions among them, now resolved to attack them
before the Danes and Prussians could effect a junction with the main
army. But the expedition of these troops disappointed his
expectations, for they joined the Duke on the very morning of the
battle. Both armies met on the 23d of May, N. S. at Ramillies, about
eleven miles north of Namur. This place, though but a paltry village
surrounded with a ditch, has been rendered famous to all posterity,
by one of the most celebrated battles that took place in the whole
course of the Confederate War.
The particulars of this memorable engagement arc too well known to
be here recapitulated. I shall, however, transcribe the account of
it which Major Blackader gives, in a letter to his wife, two days
after the battle.
Camp Vilvoord, May 15.
Every campaign produces new and greater mercies to me. It has
pleased the Lord to give us a signal victory, on Sabbath last, over
the French army; and, in particular, he. has mercifully covered my
head in the day of battle, and compassed me about with songs of
deliverance. We had marched every day almost without intermission
since we came from the Bussey and the Duke was resolved to come to
action with the French as soon as possible. But we were surprised to
find that they were camped without their lines; and expected
whenever we should advance, they would retire. But we have heard
since, that they were as forward to fight as we were, and had
positive orders to fight; and if we had'not attacked them, they
would have attacked us; for they had more battalions than we had,
and all the best troops.
On Sabbath, about eleven o’clock, we and they being both on our
march, came in view of one another. They possessed themselves of
some villages that were strong and not easy to be forced. We
advanced and made our dispositions to attack, and whenever we came
near enough, they cannonaded us furiously all the time we were
advancing. We had here about twenty men killed and wounded. Poor
Harry Borthwick was the first, and had his leg shot off by a cannon
ball. The English had the right, and when we were just beginning to
attack a village opposite to us, the Duke sent his orders not to
attack there, but to march to the left, were the Dutch were, and
push on the affair: but the Dutch had forced it ere we came up. It
is said the French thought themselves very sure of the day, for they
had made their dispositions so that all their Gens d’armes, and best
troops, should sustain the attack upon the left, where they knew the
Dutch were; thinking so to beat the Dutch first, and then they would
afterwards beat the English.
It was very hot work for above two hours. None of the English came
to close action but Mordaunt’s and Churchill’s Regiments; and all we
lost was by cannonading. There were about 4000 prisoners taken, with
most of their cannon and ammunition, and bread, waggons, and horses,
and most of the Generals’ and officers’ baggage. The battle began on
our wing between four and five o’clock, and we pursued them till
midnight. We did not think the action at first so considerable, but
the effects of it are very remarkable and surprising, for there is
like to be a revolution of the whole country.
The hand of God was visibly to be seen, and his judgment, in sending
a panic fear among the enemy 3 for they retired in such disorder,
that their soldiers flung away their arms : their muskets,
scabbards, &c. Were scattered up and down the whole country.
We marched all Monday, and came near Louvain, expecting assuredly
that they would stop us at the Dyle, where they stopt us last year.
But we got account on our march that they had quitted Louvain and
retreated towards Brussels; and the people of Louvain told us, that
their army marched through there in such a pitiful hurry, that they
could hardly keep in a body at all, and most of them were without
arms. So we took possession of Louvain, and marched next day (for
the Duke does not sit his time this year) towards Brussels; and on
our march we heard that they had abandoned that also, and in short
the whole country, for Colonel Durell is gone with 200 horse to take
possession of Mechlin. They have also quitted Antwerp, and this
letter is written within a league of Brussels, which we are in
There is a spirit of division among them, for the Spaniards refuse
to join with the French, and seem inclined to submit all to the
House of Austria; and the Bavarian troops that are here say, they
came to assist their Duke, and. have no business with the French.
In this surprising turn of .affairs there is much of the hand of God
to be seen; and indeed we are like men in a dream, to see ourselves
so suddenly possessed of so many places. I hope there are greater
things to be done yet; The Lord make us thankful, and O grant that
his mercies may reform us. I have particular reason to be grateful;
but what puts water in my wine-cup is, that poor Colonel Borthwick
was killed that day, behaving like a gallant man; We buried him
yesterday at his colours. Captain Denoon is killed.
Do not fear fighting, for we think to see only Frenchmens’ backs all
this campaign. I hope you will offer up the sacrifice of praise for
the public and for me. I am thine, &c. . - J. B.
To Mrs. Blackader, Rotterdam.
From the above it appears that Major Blackader’s Regiment was posted
on the right wing, which sustained the smallest share in the
contest. The Duke of Marlborough had ordered the attack to commence
on that side, but it was entirely a manoeuvre to deceive the enemy;
for while they were misled to detach their best troops to support
the left wing, where it was supposed the attack would he made, they
unguardedly left their centre and their right exposed, against which
the Duke intended to direct the main efforts of his army. The
stratagem succeeded; Vil-leroi and the Elector were completely
outwitted. The greatest slaughter was made by the Dutch and Danes on
the enemy’s right, near the villages of Franquenies and Ramillies.
The French, both Generals and troops, never shewed less conduct or
courage than on this occasion. At Hochstet they fought for eight
hours, and killed or wounded nearly 11,000 of the Allies. At
Ramillies all was flight and consternation in two hours; while the
victors did not lose above 8000 men.
The Duke of Marlborough displayed no less talent in improving this
victory, than he had shewn in achieving it. The rapidity with which
he pursued the vanquished army, prevented them entirely from drawing
together into a body, so as to form any obstruction to. his future
progress. As no former battle had been more disastrous to the enemy,
so none was more extensively beneficial to the Allies. The
submission of Brabant, and almost the whole Spanish Netherlands!,
followed in the space of fifteen days: Louvain, Brussels, Antwerp,
Ghent, Oudenard, Mechlin, and other towns surrendered at discretion.
Dendermond and Aeth, were reduced by force, the garrisons making
some opposition, but the French not daring to attempt their relief.
At several of these sieges Major Blackader was present, as we shall
find in course of the Diary.
May 12. Sabbath. Day of the battle; and here I have one of the most
remarkable Ebenezers of my life to set up. This day we fought with
the French, and by the great mercy of God did beat them. The battle
was not general, but it was hot to those that were engaged. Our
regiment was no farther engaged, but that we were cannonaded for
some hours, and had several men killed and wounded. I was not near
the Duke; but upon our wing we had great want of Generals and
distinct orders; and some of those we had, seemed somewhat confused:
So it was not our Conduct, but kind Providence. I observe also that
the English had but small part in this victory. They are the boldest
sinners in our army, therefore God will choose other instruments.
Also the English have got a great vogue and reputation for courage,
and are perhaps puffed tip upon it; and so God humbles their pride,
as it were, by throwing them by. I was easy, and helped to discharge
my duty well. We were very much fatigued with the pursuit, and lay
all the night in the open fields without cover. Give me grace, O
Lord, never to forget this great and glorious-day at Ramillies.
May 13. Marching this-day to improve our victory; but we are
stopped, for the enemy has retired over the Dyle, and is there
posted and strongly fortified. Probably we may attack them
to-morrow, and if they stand to it, the action is likely to be very
May 14. The ways of God are wonderful, and past finding out. A
disappointment this day that was not unpleasant; for instead of
meeting with a vigorous resistance, as we expected, the enemy is
gone, and we have got possession of Louvain. The effects of this
battle are much greater than we expected. The Lord has sent a panic
fear among the French army, and they are so shattered, that they can
hardly get them kept together. They seem not resolved to stand any
May 15. Marching to Brussels. Still more and more of the surprising
consequences of this victory. They have abandoned Brussels and all
Brabant. The Lord is taken heart, and hand, and spirit from our
enemies. He has sent a spirit of division, an unaccountable
consternation among their Generals, and among the sundry troops they
are made up of.
May 16. Passing the canal at Yilvoord. No resistance from the enemy,
though we thought, happen what might, they would have defended the
May 19. A fatiguing march this Sabbath. All day I met with what I
fear and hate in this trade, viz. cursing, swearing, filthy
language, &c. yet though it was a hell around me, I bless the Lord
there was a heaven within. We are still pursuing our victory, and
they are still fleeing before us. There is certainly something in
this affair beyond human working, for our beating them merely could
not have such wonderful effects. They called themselves 70,000 men
before they fought; eighty battalions of foot. I do not believe
there were 3000 of them killed, and Their loss was computed
altogether at 20,000, of which 8000 were killed. yet their army is
mouldering away, so that they have almost no foot in any body
together. This is the finger of God, and not the doing of man.
May 20. We advanced this day towards Ghent, and still the French
give way and retire. They have now quitted the Scheldt, and we are
masters of Ghent peaceably.
May 21. This day is appointed by the General as a thanksgiving
through the army for our victory and success, and all the chaplains
are to preach.
May 23. Effects of our victory still more surprising; towns that we
thought would have endured a long siege, are giving up and yielding
without a stroke. Even the thoughtless creatures in the army observe
the hand of Providence in this rapid success; but they laugh at
May 24. Marching still forward; crossing the Lys above Ghent. Still
no enemy to be seen. Bruges, Antwerp, and in short all Brabant and
Flanders almost yielded. "What the French got in a night by stealth
at the King of Spain’s death, they have lost again in a day. That
old tyrant who wasted God’s church, is about to be wasted himself.
Last war, and for a long time while God was using him for a scourge
to the earth, there was conduct in his Generals,— strength and
courage in his armies. They were a warlike people which their
enemies were forced, at their sad expense, to confess: But now there
is a sensible change, they are not like the men they were. I heard
one of their own Colonels who is now killed say, “the only thing he
regretted was, that he could not live till he should tell the king
that he had his armies composed of Generals without heads, and
soldiers without hands.” Our ordinary regiments beat their best
troops, wherever we meet them in any equality of numbers.
May 25. Marching this day to Arsel, a place famous for the retreat
of Prince Vaudemont, made here in 1695, in presence of the French
army, who were thrice as strong as ours. And at this place I have a
monument set up of thankfulness and praise for merciful deliverance
from men who were ready to swallow us up. Now we are got in again to
Cambray, where we were in the last war. I hope to have comfortable
remembrancers of the mercy and goodness of God to me in several
May 21. Our success and good news come thick upon us from all airts:
We had this night a feu-de-joi for the French raising the siege of
June 5. Going on command; and I observe with thankfulness, the
goodness of God to me. I sought of him (and always do seek) to give
me such commands and parties as I may he kept free of ill company;
and this day I was threatened with such, hut Providence turned them
another way. It was lot and chance apparently that did it by the
dice, hut I look above these things to an over-ruling power.
July 10. We are now advanced farther into the country than ever we
were able to penetrate last war. Most of this day, like many others,
spent in idle company, foolish jesting and conversation. At night I
rodq the round through the second line.
July 18. Diverting myself this day, riding abroad hunting all the
forenoon. I was surprised when I. came home by an unhappy accident
(a duel) in the regiment. What a mercy it is to he kept out of
July 21. Sabbath. In the house of mourning, where I was called to
see an acquaintance die, the effect of that unlucky accident I spoke
of. O that men would be wise, and learn at other men’s cost.
Drunkenness and gaming was the occasion of this tragedy.
August 2. Hochstet; a day which I will remember as long as I live,
August 3. I went this day to see the siege of Menin, and was in the
trenches four or five hours; and I observe this of myself, (and I
set it down that I may be humble,) I own freely that any measure of
courage and resolution I can pretend to is allenarly the free gift
of God, and not owing to natural temper, or constitution, or blood,
or any thing of that sort; for I find if God were to withdraw his
grace from me, I would be one of the most timid creatures in the
army. I own too, that whenever I have clearness that I am in my
duty, or called to such a post, be there ever so much danger, I can
go cheerfully, for I know that my charges are borne. But my spirits
fail always, in proportion as I am doubtful or unsatisfied.
Menin, which the Allies were now besieging, is situated on the Lys,
nine miles north of Lisle, and five south-west of Courtray. It was
one of the most regular fortifications in Flanders, and nothing that
art could invent was wanting to render it impregnable. It was built
under the immediate direction of Yauban, and was reckoned the
master-piece of that celebrated engineer. It was defended by a
garrison of 6000 men, with abundant stores of all warlike
provisions. Being a place of such importance, and reckoned a key to
the French conquests in the Netherlands, the Duke of Marlborough
resolved to besiege it instantly, although it was reckoned by many
too bold an undertaking. The troops to be employed on this occasion
were those who had shared least in the previous services of the
campaign. The trenches were opened on the 4th of August, and on the
23d the town capitulated, much sooner than might have been augured
from the strength of the place.
August 7—12. Going towards Menin. Marching most of the night, and
mistaking our way in the dark. But what is all mankind but a mass of
confusion, wandering in the dark. I was serious, and tolerably
helped to do my duty. I was concerned at seeing the poor soldiers
snatched in a moment into eternity, and many, perhaps, not well
prepared. On the night of the 8th we were alarmed, and our regiment
was drawn out by three next morning; but it proved only a feint of
the enemy. On the 12th I rode again in to Menin, which surrendered
that day. The evening I spent in secret prayer to God, earnestly
begging that his presence may go with me wherever we go next,
whether to fight or besiege. On the 14th I witnessed the whole
garrison of Menin march out.
The next place the Allies besieged was Dendermond, a strong town at
the confluence of the rivers Scheldt and Dender, which had been
under blockade ever since the battle of Ramillies. It was situated
among morasses, and had formerly baffled the whole army of the
French King, who commanded in person. General Churchill had the
direction of this undertaking, and took the place after a siege of
August 15—26. We marched out here this day, and are going to the
siege of Dendermond; and how things may go, or what may befal us
there, the Lord only knows. On the 16th we were on our journey by
three o’clock in the morning, and marched till five at night; a sore
day for the poor soldiers. We had good quarters, and good
accommodation. I observe the goodness of the Lord to us; for on the
19th our regiment was ordered to take post at a place near the town,
where we would have been continually exposed, even lying in our
tents, to the enemy’s fire; and it was also a very unwholesome
place, by reason of water and marsh-ground. But just as we were
marching to it, we were countermanded, and ordered to lie and cover
the General’s quarters. As we marched, we were almost within musket
shot of the town, and we wondered they did not ply their cannon at
us. As we retired they fired some pieces at us, but they did us no
The kindness of Providence to us at this siege is remarkable in
other respects, in withholding of rain for so long a time, whereby
the marsh-ground is dried up, and the water, which is the strength
of the place,' is now of no use to it. Even the people of this
country say that God fights for. us; for old men of seventy years
observe, they never saw such a drought, or the waters so low about
the town as they are now. On the 24th I expected to go into the
trenches, or command an attack on some part of the town. I should
not be afraid to go alone in the strength of God, for he is able to
lay the walls as low as those of Jericho. His arm is not shortened >
he can keep me safe, though all the bombs of France were raging over
my head, and all. their cannon arrayed in a battery against me.
Next day (Sabbath) we attacked a redoubt, and soon carried it; and
upon this, the place did immediately capitulate. On the 26th I spent
all the forenoon visiting the works and the town; it is a very
important place, and we have got it very easily. The Providence of
God is very observable, for now that the town is ours, there are
great rains come on. If this weather had come a few days sooner, I
know not what might have been the consequences. I bless God for the
good accommodation I have had at this siege, which has been so
gentle and cheap to us.
August 29. This day an easy march. I was obliged to be in company
all the afternoon, where there was too much drinking. There was no
body drunk, but a great deal of time trifled away. I hate myself
when my head is in the least heated, or when a cool-thinking
distinct temper, is in the least marred, though it should be far
from drunkenness. And I bless God that my heart never warms, nor my
soul mixes so with any company, as to steal me off my feet. The
longer I stay, the more uneasy I am; and the worse the company is,
the more I am upon my guard.
September 5. Now we are ordered to the siege of Aeth. We were
surprised at this, for we expected, after our taking of Dendermond,
that our regiment should not have been concerned in any more sieges
this campaign; and indeed we are wronged and imposed upon. For my
part I am very well satisfied at our coming to this siege. It is
thou, O Lord, that sendest me here; I look above Generals. It is in
mercy thou bringest me here, for all thy dealings with me are mercy.
Thy presence will go with me, whether I go to trenches, attacks, or
batteries. It was a fatiguing march this day, and very late before
we got to our camp. At three next morning I went the round through
all the English Regiments.
Aeth is a frontier town of Hainault, situate on the Dender,
twenty-four miles south of Ghent. The fortifications were in good
repair, and there was every provision necessary for a long and
vigorous defence, except men, the garrison consisting only of 2000.
The campaign of this year was sufficiently glorious, and might have
ended with the reduction of Dendermond. The troops also appear to
have been satisfied with their successes, and rather discontented at
the prospect of embarking again in another siege; but the Duke of
Marlborough was determined to follow the current of victory, which
now ran so strong in his favour. On the 17th the besiegers began
their line of circumvallation; the trenches were opened in a few
days after, and on the 2d of October the place surrendered.
In this siege the Cameronian Regiment had their due proportion of
fatigue and danger, being in the trenches, with little intermission,
night and day; although they did not suffer very severely.
September 6—21. I am lodged ih a house pretty near the town, and
exposed to the fire of the batteries; but I can lay me down in
peace, and sleep, for the Lord makes me to dwell in safety. On the
9th we got orders that we were to mount the trenches tomorrow. I was
taken up all the afternoon in getting necessary preparations and
viewing the posts. Our regiment entered the trenches at night, and
though there was a great deal of firing all night, we had not a man
either killed or wounded. I had not that distinctness of faith that
I would, but I was fervently plying the throne of grace for strength
to do my duty. The 11th we continued in the trenches all day. There
was a great deal of firing, both cannon, bombs, and small shot, yet
we lost only two men. I have new experiences of God’s goodness in
preserving and defending me. Others may take it for chance or
random, hut I look to a higher hand. On the 15th we had a respite,
that day being appointed a thanksgiving for the great victory
obtained in Italy. At night there was a feu-de-joi through all the
army, trenches, and batteries. The Lord is doing great things for
us, and humbling the proud tyrant of France. On the 17th I went into
the trenches again to join our Colonel, who was then on command. In
the afternoon I was ordered myself to take command of the workmen,
where we continued the whole night. We pushed our trenches very near
the counterscarp; there was a brisk fire kept up, and seven or eight
of my workmen wounded, yet it pleased the Lord to protect me.
Next day our whole regiment was ordered to the siege, and a very had
rainy day it was. Our trenches where we were posted, ran close to
the counterscarp ; and at twelve at night we took post and made a
lodgment in the counterscarp with eighteen men and an Ensign. Cannon
halls, bombs, grenades, and small shot, were flying thick, yet we
lost not a man the whole night. The 19th was a day of particular
providence to me, that I shall not forget as long as I live.
Judgment and mercy were mixed together. We continued in the trenches
the whole day, and lost several men, having seventeen killed and
wounded. We were heat out of that lodgment in the counterscarp at
two o’clock in the afternoon, and we retook it again at six. I fell
into a mistake of about a quarter of an hour in timing the attack. I
cannot tell wliat influence this had, or whether the same
consequences might not have fallen out had it happened otherwise.
But my conscience smote me about it, and I thought the surest way
for me was to flee to the blood of Jesus for pardon. At night,
coming out of the trenches I was in great confusion of spirit, I had
only a servant with me, for the regiment was gone off before. Being
very dark and wet, and on foot, we wandered and mistook the way; I
had a water to cross, and my servant durst not venture to bring my
horses over, as it was a very bad bridge, I got a horse of the
Colonel’s, and coming to the bridge, it fell, and both horse and I
were thrown into the water; I was in danger of being drowned, the
horse falling on his side, and my foot sticking in the., stirrup. I
got clear, and got out, but could not get out the horse for near a
quarter of an hour, so that lie was almost drowned. At last I got
him out, and presently my own horses came to me: so I came home
blessing God for his merciful deliverances, and in the meantime
trembling at his judgments. On the 21st the town surrendered. The
Lord has put new' songs of praise in my mouth. May he give me grace
to pay my vows, and walk humbly with him all the days of my life.
The siege of Aeth closed the campaign of this year. On the 1st of
October Major Blackader marched with his regiment from the town.
They were ordered to Courtray to superintend the repairs of the
fortifications under Major-General Murray, a service which appears
to have created some murmuring among the exhausted troops.
October 22, We are disappointed this day, for instead of marching
into our garrison as we expected, we arc ordered to march to
Courtray to-morrow, which has put us all out of humour.
In November they returned to winter-quarters at Bruges.