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enemy's army corps was on the Sambre in the North,

and that another was more than 1 20 miles distant from

it, in the East. He at once decided that this was an

14*



212 MARSHAL TURENNE [1653

opportunity that might never occur again of regaining
Rethel (which lay between them) ; he therefore hurried
thither and retook it in a few days — it capitulated on
the 8th of July, 1653 — while the Spaniards were trying
to make up their minds which army corps to send to
its relief

Turenne then marched towards the North and soon
found himself within reach of the enemy, whose force,
at that particular point, consisted of 16,000 infantry,
11,000 cavalry and between thirty and forty guns.
The King and the cardinal now came out to Turenne
in order to hold a Council of War. At this council
one proposition was to make use of half the army for
Sfarrisoninof the frontier fortresses, and to use the other
half for dogging the enemy on his march, carrying off
his convoys and threatening his communications. An-
other proposition was to keep the army intact, to de-
fend the passage of the river Oise by taking up a
strong position behind it, and to centralise any reserves,
which might be obtained from the Provinces, before
Paris. The Oise, it will be remembered, flows in a
south-westerly direction, from near the Flemish frontier,
until it joins the Seine, about a dozen miles to the north-
west of Paris.

To both of these plans of campaign Turenne raised
objections. The King's army was too small to divide,
he said ; on the other hand, to defend the passage of a
river like the Oise would be impossible. Turenne pro-
posed to march with the whole army within a certain
distance of the enemy, to weary him by threatening



i653 ^T. 42] DIFFERENT OBJECTS 213

movements, but to avoid a general action, and thus to
wear away the weeks and months between June and
the time for going into winter quiirters.

If, says Turenne, he had decimated his small army
by garrisoning the fortresses, the enemy would have
been relatively strong enough in numbers to have
marched to Paris ; and, if he had kept behind the Oise,
for the purpose of preventing a passage of that river,
supposing the enemy had attacked one of the fortresses
or cities on the farther side of it, it would have taken
him some time, perhaps several days, to cross the river
and to go to its relief; whereas, by crossing the river
at once and keeping within a few miles of the enemy,
if that enemy were to besiege a place, Turenne could
go to the assistance of its garrison in a few hours.

In carrying out his proposition, to which the King
and cardinal had agreed, Turenne had extraordinary
luck. If Conde had been commander-in-chief of both
of the allied armies Turenne would probably have
met with disaster; but, fortunately for Turenne, the
Archduke kept the exclusive command of his own
army and would brook no interference. Again, the
objects of the Archduke and of Conde, although those
two generals were allies, were totally different. Conde's
object was to reach Paris, to revive the Fronde in that
city, to encourage the revok in Bordeaux, and to raise
an insurrection in Central France. The Archduke
on the contrary, cared not a jot or a tittle for either
Paris or the Fronde, or Bordeaux, or Central France.
His sole object was to enlarge the frontier of Flanders,



214 MARSHAL TURENNE [1653

for which purpose he desired to take a few of the French
fortresses ; but he had no intention of advancing to Paris
or to Central France, or of fighting a general action,
unless indeed an opportunity should occur of defeating
the French army, with little or no risk or trouble.

Under these peculiar circumstances Napoleon ad-
mits that Turenne's line of conduct was likely to suc-
ceed ; but, says he, "it would have been very dangerous
in any other conjuncture. To march by the side of an
enemy twice your own strength, is always a difficult
operation : there are few positions strong enough to
protect an army so inferior in numbers. Nor does it
appear that he took the precaution to pitch his camp
every evening in a chosen position ; on the contrary,
he frequently encamped in very bad positions, where
his army was in imminent danger."

Whether Turenne was aware of the diversity of
the objects of Conde, on the one hand, and of the
Archduke, on the other, may be doubtful ; but he
certainly was well aware of the difficulties and draw-
backs likely to be met with by a French general when
in alliance with a Spanish army ; for he had experi-
enced them himself when fighting with the Spaniards
for the release of the princes. It was this knowledge,
with his own intelligent inferences therefrom, which
justified him in a proceeding which would have been
otherwise exceedingly dangerous.

"Achilles," says Napoleon, at the end of the same
chapter, "was the son of a goddess and a mortal.
This is emblematical of the genius of war. The divine



i653 ^T. 42] THE GENIUS OF WAR 215

part is all that is derived from the moral considerations
of the character, the talents, and the interests of your
adversary : as well as of the spirit of your own troops,
whether they feel strong and victorious, or whether
they fancy themselves feeble and beaten. The mortal
or earthly part of arms, are entrenchments, positions,
orders of battle, and all that appertains to the combina-
tion of physical means and methods."

Now Turenne exhibited his genius in "the divine
part of war" by his "moral considerations of the
characters" of Conde and the Archduke. That they
would not and could not work harmoniously together,
he felt assured. As to their " talents," those of the one
were so ill-balanced, in relation to those of the other,
that the equilibrium of their strategy was certain to be
upset, and their "interests" were quite conflicting
enough to neutralise each other.

Ramsay gives more unqualified praise to Turenne's
management of this campaign than does Napoleon.
He compares him to Fabius Maximus, In always en-
camping on eminences or places otherwise difficult of
access. "Whenever the enemy halted, he stopped
likewise, and when the enemy marched, he followed
them, keeping along the side of them at a considerable
distance, and posting himself so that he could not be
forced to fight against his will." And Ramsay com-
pares Conde with Hannibal in trying every stratagem
to force a general action on Turenne. "Sometimes
he drew near the French and beat up their quarters :
at other times, he removed to a great distance, that he



2i6 MARSHAL TURENNE [1653

might induce them to decamp and surprise them in
some march, where he might have an advantage over
them."

In a work written for the general reader by a
writer ignorant of military matters, it is unnecessary to
follow all Turenne's marches and countermarches during
this campaign in detail. But some little must be said
about them. Much of his success in shadowing a
superior enemy, without approaching him too closely,
necessarily depended to a great extent upon successful
scouting, a military art which must have developed
considerably during the twenty-one years which had
passed since two rival armies — that of King Charles I.
and that of the Parliament — wandered about Warwick-
shire, for several days, before they could find each
other. Every morning, says the Duke of York, Turenne
"went out of his quarters ... by sunrise, slenderly
attended," to make observations and to receive intelli-
gence from his outposts.

While avoiding contact with his enemy, Turenne
embarrassed him by stopping his convoys. When
the enemy besieged Roye, a place of no great import-
ance, Turenne resisted the temptation to risk a general
engagement by attempting to relieve it ; and allowed
the allies to amuse themselves by taking it. When
they had done so, he says, "they began to be very
much at a loss what to do next : they did not dare to
advance into a country where they had no places,
while an enemy lay within three hours' march of
them ".



i653 /Et. 42] PERONNE 217

Near Peroniie, a town on the river Somme, about
half-way between Amiens and St. Ouentin,^ Turenne
had a very narrow escape. The enemy had made a
forced march and Turenne was surprised on his flank,
in a very bad position. This position, which was
held by the troops under La Ferte, was commanded
by a hill up the farther side of which the enemy was
advancing-. On discoverinq; their dilemma, both La
Ferte and his men were panic-stricken and retreated
in a confusion which began rapidly to spread among
the other troops. In this difficulty, says Napoleon,
any ordinary general would have withdrawn his troops
to Peronne," a mile and a half off, crossed the Somme
there, and protected himself behind the river ; a course
which would have disheartened his troops, encouraged
his enemy, and only postponed a general engagement ;
for, unless he remained where he was to guard the
bridge at Peronne, the enemy would have crossed it
and pursued him. "Turenne," continues Napoleon,
"risked everything and marched to meet the enemy."
He had just time, and only just, to ascend the hill
from which the danger lay. Had the enemy reached
it first, he would inevitably have sustained a crushing-
defeat. With some of his troops in a condition of

^ It was at the battle of St. Quentin, in 187 1, that the French
army of the North, raised for the relief of Paris, under Faidherbe,
was defeated by the German army under Von Goben.

2 Peronne seems fated to be the scene of battles. It was
taken by Charles the Bold in 1465, and it was before its walls
that the Emperor Charles V, met with defeat in 1536. It was
captured by Wellington in 18 15, and by the Germans in 1871.



2i8 MARSHAL TURENNE [1653

panic it was an exceedingly difficult, even a speculative,
proceeding, but it was accomplished, barely accom-
plished, it is true ; but still accomplished ! Instantly
Turenne gave orders to make five redans, which the
men, having now regained their confidence, worked at
with a will, as well as in self-defence.

But the enemy had double Turenne s numbers,
and Conde determined to attack him at once. Even
with his improved position, Turenne says, "'tis more
than probable that we should have fought with ill
success that day ". The Spanish General, however,
absolutely refused to attack. It was nearly three
o'clock ; three o'clock in the afternoon was not the
proper hour for beginning a battle ; his men had had
a long march ; the end of a long march was not the
regular time for fighting, and Spanish generals never
did anything except at the regular time. It was the
time for resting, and a rest they would take. After a
good night's rest, they would very soon demolish the
French, who could not possibly escape them in the
meantime.

When the morning came, however, the Spaniards
found that Turenne, who did not take a rest, had spent
the night in entrenching himself and had made his
position so strong that an attack would have been most
hazardous. During the next few days there were some
skirmishes and then the enemy moved off to invest
Guise, a town about sixteen miles to the east.
Turenne heard in time of this intention, and as
Guise, unlike Roye, was a place which it would have



i653 /Et. 42] MOUZON 219

strengthened the enemy's position to possess, Turenne
sent 2.500 men into it. Happily, on the way thither
the allies, who would otherwise have reached it before
Turenne, were delayed, owing to some trouble being
raised by Lorraine ; and, when they came to Guise,
which they had calculated upon taking by surprise
but found already garrisoned, they did not invest it.
After a fortnight's rest they made a march of more
than forty miles to Rocroi, besieged it, and took it in
something under a month.

Turenne did not go to the relief of Rocroi, because,
owing to the large woods surrounding it, the army
which reached it first had an enormous advantage;
but he endeavoured to counterbalance the loss of
Rocroi by laying siege to Mouzon,^ a very important
fortress on the Meuse, half-way between Sedan and
Stenay, which was in the hands of the enemy. Mouzon
capitulated after a siege of seventeen days. Here, says
the Duke of York, Turenne had no engineer and was
obliged to contrive and superintend all the siege works
himself. Nothing further of any great importance
took place in this campaign, after which both armies
went into winter quarters.

While that campaign was in course, the people of

^ Like so many of the important places in Turenne's cam-
paigns, Mouzon has much later military interests. It was at
Mouzon that MacMahon crossed the Meuse with his army, in his
attempt to march to the relief of Bazaine, in 1870; and, in the
same year, only six miles from Mouzon, the Saxons surprised and
captured 3,000 French soldiers, placed there to defend the passage
of the Meuse.



220 MARSHAL TURENNE [1653

Bordeaux had submitted to the King. This was a
terrible disappointment and discouragement to Cond^.
He was still further disheartened by the loss to his in-
terests of his brother, the Prince of Conti, who availed
himself of the King's amnesty and pardon, and became
a royalist.^ At about the same time a much more sur-
prising secession from the rebels to the Court was that
of Madame de Longueville, who gave up politics, as
well as other things which it was quite as desirable that
she should forgo, returned to her husband, and eventu-
ally devoted herself entirely to religion.

Meanwhile, all was not going smoothly among the
allies. Charles. Duke of Lorraine, began to demand
either the restoration of some of his ancient territory
in Lorraine, or some of the places which might be
captured by the allies in France. So importunate
and troublesome did he become " that the Spaniards,
to put an end to the nuisance, quietly arrested him,
and sent him off as a prisoner to Spain, where he w^as

1 In the first war of the Fronde, when Mazarin invested Paris,
Conde was on the side of the Court, while his brother, Conti, who
was on the side of the Fronde, was made commander of the rebel
army within the city. Conti was very ugly, and Montglat says that
Conde, on seeing a pet monkey chained up in the young King's
room, made a low bow before it and said : "I salute the general-
issimo of the Parisians ".

2 Before this campaign Lorraine declared that he would not
embark upon it unless a certain very pretty />ourgeoise of Brussels
came and asked him to do so. The whole council was obliged to
go in procession to the girl and to her parents, to induce her to
present herself before Lorraine and beg him to go to the war for
her sake (Lord Mahon's Life of Conde, p. 248).



i653 ^T. 42] FRANCIS OF LORRAINE 221

detained until the Peace of the Pyrenees. They placed
his troops under the command of Duke Francis of
Lorraine, his brother, with whom he had quarrelled.

This campaign of Turenne's was another instance
of successful strategy with litde fighting. Command-
ing an army less than half as numerous as that of his
enemy, he prevented the threatened advance on Paris ;
he succeeded in driving the invading forces farther
towards the frontier than they had been before the
campaign began ; he recovered Rethel, and he fully
made up for the loss of Rocroi by taking Mouzon.
In the game of war Turenne often resembled a chess-
player who checkmates his adversary without either
losing or taking more than a piece or two.



CHAPTER XVII.

It was fortunate that the Kings of France used to be
crowned at Rheims ; for although the coronation of
Louis XIV. and its attendant ceremonies, military
displays, and entertainments considerably delayed the
opening of the campaign of 1654, the journeys of the
officers and troops who took part in them had brought
them a long way on their route for the war.

The submission of Guienne had liberated a number
of the King's troops, and the army of Turenne was
now somewhat stronger than it had been in the cam-
paign of the previous year ; yet even now that of the
enemy far outnumbered it. As we have seen, the
military operations of 1653 had ended by the taking
of Mouzon ; and the new campaign began with the
siege of Stenay, an important fortress which had long
served as an asylum for the Fronde, about fifteen miles
to the south of Mouzon. It will be remembered that
Turenne himself had stayed some time there in the
company of that archconspiratress Madame de Longue-
ville, when he was about to fifjht ag^ainst the Kind's
troops for the relief of the princes.

Expecting that the siege of Stenay would be
particularly galling to Conde, as it was his own property,.



i6s4 ^T. 43] ARRAS 223

Turenne anticipated a strenuous effort for its relief, and
he had everything in readiness to give Conde a warm
reception as soon as he should appear before it with
the allied armies. But that warm reception was never
given, for the simple reason that Conde and the allied
armies never did appear before Stenay. While Turenne
was daily expecting them, they were 120 miles away,
besieorin^ Arras.

Arras, whose railway station is familiar to travellers
from Paris to Lille, which is about fifteen miles to the
north of it, was a very important fortress ; if it fell, all
the acquisitions of the French in Artois would be in the
greatest danger. The fortress itself was a very strong
one ; but unfortunately, at the time when Conde and
the Archduke sat down before it, its garrison happened
to be very weak; and the forces brought up to lay
siege to it, on the 3rd of July, 1654, amounted, says
Turenne, to 25,000, while he states that the total forces
which he could collect at Peronne, before proceeding
to the relief of Arras, did not exceed 14,000 or 15,000.

In leaving Stenay to its fate, and by making forced
marches to Arras, Conde, for once, had outwitted
Turenne, who never suspected him of any such design.
On the other hand, with no forces coming to its relief,
Stenay was doomed, and, feeling certain of its capture,
Turenne left the siege to be conducted by Hocquin-
court, one of his generals; but he was unwilling to
begin operations against the besieging army at Arras,
until he could be reinforced by his troops which would
be liberated "when Stenay should fall. Therefore he



224 MARSHAL TURENNE [1654

made his headquarters at Peronne, some thirty miles
to the south-east of Arras, and employed himself in
making observations and despatching scouts for infor-
mation.

Conde and the Archduke had very wisely marched
their armies to Arras with extraordinary expedition,
so as to invest the place before Turenne could throw a
strongr orarrison into it, and so far all was well for them ;
but, in making so rapid a march, it was impossible to
carry with them either the provisions or the ammuni-
tion necessary for the siege. Turenne's first oppor-
tunity, therefore, was to try to intercept their convoys.

The allies dared not carry gunpowder in carts
while Turenne's cavalry were patrolling the country ;
so they had it carried in bags of fifty-pounds weight,
each bag being fastened behind the saddle of a trooper.
One night, says the Duke of York, a drunken soldier
fired a pistol at his lieutenant, thereby igniting one of
these bags of gunpowder "behind the Lieutenant's
horse, which taking fire, blew it up, and so, from one
successively to the other who was next, it spread through
the whole regiment ". This regiment consisted of " six
score going from Douay to the enemy's camp, all of
them, officers as well as soldiers having behind them a
bag of powder, besides about four score horses laden
with hand grenades, which were led by countrymen on
foot ". All of them, says the Duke, were " blown up. . . .
Indeed it was a very dismall object to behold a great
number of poor men, who were brought into camp with
their faces disfigured and their bodies burnt by powder,



i654 ^T. 43] ARRAS 225

so that few recovered, their companions having been
all killed outright."

Although not intending an attack until his rein-
forcements should arrive from Stenay, Turenne marched
to the village of Mouchi le Preux, which stood on a
hill, overlooking the plain of Arras, about four miles
to the east of the walls of the city, and about two from
the nearest camp of the enemy. From this position
he was able to send out scouting parties every night to
endeavour to intercept the enemy's convoys on their
way from Cambrai and Douay ; but on such a flat
country it was impossible to prevent all of them from
getting through to the enemy's camp.

Turenne's inability to attack, on account of his
numerical weakness, enabled the enemy not only to
complete his lines round Arras for the siege of that city,
but also to dig elaborate trenches for defence against
the army of Turenne, which was about to attempt its
relief The allied armies, therefore, lay between an
inner and an outer circle of entrenchments.

Ramsay thus describes the entrenchments made
by the Spaniards between their own army and the re-
lieving army. The "lines of circumvallation were 12
foot broad and 10 deep, with an advance ditch, 9 foot
in breadth and 6 in depth," and they "had built re-
doubts and little forts at certain distances, planted
artillery in all parts, and raised Epatdments to cover
themselves from the cannon. In the space between
the circumvallation and its advance ditch, they had dug
1 2 rows of holes or little wells 4 foot deep, and a foot
15



226 MARSHAL TURENNE [1654

and a half over, disposed chequer-wise, and in the
intervals, they had fixed palisades a foot and a half
high to stop and hamper the horses." As, in addition
to all this, the Spaniards had to make their entrench-
ments on their own side for the siege of Arras, they
must have done a prodigious amount of digging.
These entrenchments, says Napoleon, enabled the
Archduke to continue the siege for thirty-eight days.
Without these entrenchments "he would not have been
able to carry on the siege twenty-four hours ".

Hocquincourt's army arrived from Stenay on the
1 7th of August, and this reinforcement, together with
the garrison inside Arras, placed the King's troops
almost on a numerical equality with that of the enemy,
which had lost a good many men in the open trenches
during the month which had passed since the trenches
had been completed and the actual siege had begun.
But Napoleon, in speaking of this very siege, says that
engineers require a besieging army to be seven times
the number of the garrison ; when, therefore, a reliev-
ing army comes to the assistance of the garrison, the
besieging army ought to be equal to the relieving
army, plus seven times the garrison itself. At that
rate, if the garrison of Arras was 5,000 and the reliev-
ing army 20,000, the besieging army should have been
7 ^ 5 =" 35.000 + 20.000 = 55,000. As the besieging
army was much below that strength, its only hope of
safety lay in making, in addition to the contravallations
for the siege, circumvallations, i.e. very formidable en-
trenchments, against the relieving army. These terms



i654 ^T. 43] ARRAS 227

are only used here to explain their meanings on the
accompanying plan of the siege.

Modern weapons, to some extent, must have upset
the above calculations, as in the siege of Paris 236,000
Prussians were sufficient to shut up and reduce by
famine a garrison of 300,000 French soldiers.' At
Kimberley, 5,000 Boers besieged a garrison of 4,730.
At Ladysmith an army of 22,000 besieged a garrison
of 13,000, while an army of observation of 8,000 de-
feated a force of 18,000 on its way to the relief of
Ladysmith. At Port Arthur the besieging army with
the army of observation cannot have greatly exceeded
in numbers the army which attempted to relieve it,
combined with its garrison.

A good deal of skirmishing went on before Arras
between the King's troops and those of the allies, who
were sent out to bring in convoys ; and, after the arrival
of Hocquincourt, he and Turenne took St. Pol, a
village to the west of Arras, and also the Abbey of St.
Eloy, which stood about three miles to the north-west
of it. Both places had been garrisoned, but made a
weak defence.

The positions of the armies were then as follows :

On the south-east Turenne on the left, and La Ferte

on the right, were encamped side by side, their left

resting on the river Cogeul and their right on the river

Scarpe. In their centre was the hill of Mouchi le

Preux, upon the front of which they placed their guns,

while from either side of the hill entrenchments were

^ Ency. Brit. (9th ed.), vol. ix., p. 467 c,
15 *



228 MARSHAL TURENNE [1654


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