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principal beauties of all the sciences that qualify for
conversation, the cabinet and the field." A marvel-
lous sentence !

Intellectually, he was probably superior to Turenne ;
but he was without Turenne's kindness of heart. He
was dissolute, cruel to his wife, and a revengeful enemy.
Even when a young man of twenty-six, Conde was
neglectful of his dress and personal appearance ; and
he allowed his hair to grow long and to hang as it
would, unkempt. Judging from his picture, Turenne
also never had his hair cut ; and another celebrated
contemporary warrior. Count Schomberg, was notorious
for his long-, uneven, and flowino" locks. In those times
it seems to have been considered the mark of a valiant
soldier to waste no time at the hairdresser's, in con-
trast to the custom at present prevailing among many
officers of having their heads shorn like those of felons
undergoing penal servitude.

St. Evremond, in his Parallel behveen the Prince
of Conde and M. de Tiuxnne, wrote during their life-
times : " You will find in the Prince of Conde strength
of genius, height of courage, a quick instinct, and ready
judgment. M. de Turenne has the advantages of cool
blood, great capacity and confirmed valour. The
activity of the former carries him further than is neces-
sary, to the end that he may not omit anything that

i644 ^T. 33] ROCROI 67

may be of use : the latter is as active as he ought to
be, forgets nothing that is of use, and does nothing that
is superfluous. M. de Turenne prefers the public
good to anything else. The Prince has more regard
for the orders of the Court. In the course of an affair,
the Prince's conduct is spoken of with most advantage ;
but when the affair is over, the fruits of what M. de
Turenne has done are of a longer duration."

No apology is needed for saying so much about a
man whose life was destined to be linked to such a
large extent with that of Turenne, sometimes as an
ally, sometimes as an opponent ; but generally, though
not always, as a personal friend.

While Turenne was confronting Mercy, Conde
achieved a brilliant victory over the Spanish army,
at the battle of Rocroi in France, a place very near
the borders of the Spanish Netherlands. He showed
great courage on this occasion. When he had put on
his body-armour, on the morning of the battle, he re-
fused to wear a helmet, and put on instead a hat with
large white plumes, so that it might serve as a rallying
point. When certain that the victory was won, he
"threw himself on his knees at the head of his army,
to return thanks to the God of battles " {Memoirs of
Mile, de Monlpensier, vol. i., p. 74, footnote). To be
quite candid, he was not always so devout. Rocroi
was a most important battle, and, for the time, it com-
pletely broke down the power of the supposed invincible
army of Spain. After several other successes, he was
ordered to march south to the assista,nce of Turenne.


Shortly after his victory at Rocroi, Conde, we learn
from St. Evremond/ sent to ask Turenne how he
would advise him to conduct the remainder of his
campaign in Flanders. "Make few sieges," replied
Turenne, "and give many battles. When once you
have made your army superior to that of your enemy,
by the number and quality of your troops, which you
have very nearly done already by the battle of Rocroi ;
when you are master of the open country, villages
will be of as much service as the fortified towns ; but
it is thought much more honourable to take a fortress.


... If the King of Spain had spent as much in money
and men in forming armies, as he has spent in making
sieges and fortresses, he would now be the most power-
ful monarch in the world."

When Conde joined Turenne, he was only twenty-
three, while Turenne was thirty-three ; but he was
given precedence over Turenne, on account of his
rank, and he became commander-in-chief. He had
brought with him 6,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry, so
he now had about 19.000 men under his command.
The two armies effected a junction between Breisach
and Freiburg.

Freiburg stands at the mouth of the Valley of
Hell (Hollenthal) near the foot of the Schlossberg,
one of the principal heights of the mountain range of
the Black Forest; and in this situation, rendered so
beautiful by nature, there rises, to a height of nearly
400 feet, the spire of one of the finest Gothic churches
1 IVorks, vol. iii., p. 2.


i644 ^T. S3] FREIBURG 69

in Germany. Mercy was encamped in a very strong
position near the town, partly on the plain and partly
upon the slopes commanding it.

Ought an enemy in such a position to be attacked?
Conde, who had 19,000 men against Mercy's 15,000,
thought that, with his superior force, an attack was
justifiable. Napoleon was of the contrary opinion.
" The Prince of Conde," said Napoleon, " infringed one
of the maxims of mountain warfare : riez'e?' to attack
troops which occupy good positions in the mountains, but
to dislodge them by occupying camps on their flanks or
in their rear.'' Turenne was probably of Napoleon's
opinion. Never liking to blame others, he says nothing
of this in his own account ; but Lord Mahon, in his well-
considered Life of Conde (p. 30), thinks there is
sufficient evidence that his hero acted, in this case,
against the advice of Turenne.

Conde ordered Turenne, on the 3rd of August, to battle of
start at daybreak, to make a detour through the woods, 3rd August,'
and to attack Mercy on the flank. He calculated that ^ '^^'
it would take Turenne till three hours before sunset {i.e.,
till about 4.45 P.M.) to do this; and he arranged to
make a frontal attack himself just when Turenne would
make his flank attacks and thus strike at Mercy from
different quarters simultaneously.

Turenne was able to deliver his attack at about the
time agreed upon.^ He had to traverse a large half-

1 Turenne's advance may be observed on the right-hand side
of the accompanying plan. The position of the fallen fir-trees
may also be seen. Condi's first attack may be seen on the right
of the plan. It is entitled " Arm^e du Due d'Anguien ".


circle through the dense woods by a narrow valley, or
defile, the exit from which the enemy had blocked with
fallen fir-trees. He succeeded In driving the enemy
beyond the wood, but, as he could not get his cavalry
to the front, he dared not advance upon the plain
against the enemy's combined horse and foot. Nor, on
their part, did the enemy venture to advance over the
open against Turenne's musketeers and pikemen, who
were standing with their backs to the wood. Both
armies remained, firing at each other, at a distance of
about forty paces, until it became dark ; and, for that
matter, even in the dark.

Conde had begun his attack about the same time
as Turenne. He also could only use his infantry, as
he had to climb a hill covered with a vineyard, having
four-foot walls, at short intervals, to support the ter-
races on which a"rew the vines. Havingf dismounted,
and leading his men on foot, he was at first repulsed
with the loss of a great many men ; but, renewing
the attack, he succeeded after a battle of three hours
in forcing the barricades and pouring his men into
the enemy's trenches ; by nightfall he had inflicted a
loss of 3,000 men upon his enemy and had taken the
hill with the exception of a palisaded fort. This was
a most brilliant performance and a prodigy of valour
on the part of Conde ; but it did not lead to anything

The losses on either side were very heavy. Tur-
enne estimated those of the Bavarians as greater than
those of the French ; but in such a desperate frontal

i644 ^T. 33] FREIBURG 71

attack as that of Conde, his losses are h'kely to have
been enormous.

Where Turenne was placed the firing did not end
with the day. All through the night the darkness,
which was increased by an almost continuous rain, was
intermittently illumined by flashes from the muskets
on either side. Such firing would seem to have been
objectless ; but Turenne's troops and those of the
enemy were very close to each other; and the
Bavarians were endeavouring to conceal a retreat
under cover of their fire, which the French punctually
enough returned. Even in the deep gloom a shot was
occasionally effective at the short distance. It was a
restless, wearying, ghastly night, following a battle
that had lasted for seven hours.


The nights are short in August, and, when the sun
rose at about half-past four on the morning of the 4th,
Turenne and Conde, from their different positions,
saw that the Bavarians had withdrawn from the plain
on to the spurs of the Black Mountains. The plain
being now open to them, Turenne and Conde rode
down to it, met, and held a council of war.

Turenne says "'tis certain" that, if Conde had
there and then attacked the Bavarians, "he would have
found them in great confusion ; but the foot of the
King's army was so dispirited by fighting the whole
night, and by the great number of officers and soldiers
killed or wounded, that they were not in a condition
to undertake any considerable action". Napoleon is
disinclined to accept this excuse. "As the Prince of
Conde meant to attack," says he, "he should have at-
tacked on the 4th, in the hope that Mercy would not
have had time to secure his new position."

As it was, the French army rested on the 4th,
while Turenne and Conde examined the position of the
enemy. Early on the morning of the 5th Conde be-
gan his attack, but by that time Mercy had entrenched
himself.^ Some skirmishing having proved unsatisfac-
tory, the two generals suspended hostilities for a time, in

^ See near the middle of the plan.


order to ride to some rising ground and inquire into the
truth of a report, which proved to be groundless, that
the main body of the Bavarian army was retiring.

During their absence, owing to some error or, says
Turenne, "perhaps to raise his own character in the
world by some little action," the officer in command of
Conde's infantry attacked without orders. This upset
all the plans that had been made for the battle by Conde
and Turenne, who, when they heard the sound of firing,
galloped back as fast as they could, only to find every-
thing in confusion. They both did their best to mend
matters ; but, as the Marquis de la Moussaye says in
his account of the battle, " in vain did the generals tell "
their men "of the disorder which was seen in the
Bavarian camp ; in vain did they press them, threaten
them, drag to the fight. When once a soldier is seized
with fear, he no longer either sees his general's ex-
ample, or hears his orders." At the end of two hours'
fighting, the French army had failed in its attack and
had lost 3,000 men. The enemy had also suffered

" Had Conde taken up a position commanding the
Val de Saint-Pierre," says Napoleon, "Mercy would
have been immediately compelled to take the offensive
side, which he could not do with an inferior army. . . .
He would therefore have been obliged to pass the Black
Mountains to req-ain Wiirtemberor and to abandon the
fortress of Freiburg, which would have been left to itself."

After the battle of the 4th both armies rested for
two or three days and within sight of each other, "in a


camp," we are informed by Ramsay, "covered with
blood, heaps of dead and dying. This moving sight
affected the compassionate Viscount ; he visited in per-
son the field of battle, and caused the wounded, without
distinction of friends and enemies, to be taken up and
carried to Breisach. In the heat of action, humanity
was ever in him the basis of heroism."

Conde now determined to do what Napoleon says
he ought to have done before, namely, to occupy the
valleys in his enemy's rear, with the hope of intercepting
his communications and cutting off his retreat. As soon
as Mercy perceived that Conde was about to adopt this
strategy, he began to retire as fast as he could through
the long and very narrow valleys which led through the
Black Forest back to Wiirtemberg. In fact he got
away before Conde had time to intercept him. But the
whole of an army cannot retire more rapidly than the
pace at which its slowest unit can travel, while an army
in pursuit can send cavalry at a gallop to threaten its
line of retreat. This was done by Turenne, who
hurried round with his cavalry up the valley of Bloter-
thal,^ which joins the valley of St. Pierre, near the
abbey of that name, where Mercy was obliged to fight
a severe rearguard action. I'his he did with tolerable
success ; but the French cavalry kept harassing the
Bavarian army as it passed on through the narrow
valley; and, at last, in order to escape from it Mercy
abandoned his guns and his baggage, took to the
mountains and escaped. Cond6 and Turenne made
an effort to pursue him, but with little result.
^ See extreme left of the plan.



"Thus ended the famous action of Freiburg, in
which the Bavarians lost between 8,000 and 9,000
men, with their artillery, and almost all their horses:
the loss of the French was also very great : but
as Mercy had been forced to decamp, the honour of
victory was given to the Duked'Enghien." ^ Very true !
But it is curious that this French historian should give
the number of the Bavarian loss, which it would be
difficult for him to ascertain accurately, yet should be
silent as to the number of the French casualties, which
he probably knew. It has been stated that the French
loss was 9,000 and the German 8,000, which is not
unlikely. Ramsay admits that Mercy made an orderly
and honourable retreat under great difficulties.

Having driven the enemy out of the Marquisate
of Baden into Wiirtemberg, Conde went back to the
Rhine, and, in opposition to the general advice of his
staff, but at the urgent request of Turenne, he did not
besiege and retake Freiburg. Instead of doing so, he
went to Breisach, sent supplies from there with all his
guns down the Rhine in boats, and started with his
army along the right bank of it by land, in order to
secure the complete command of that river through the
Lower Palatinate. The French army marched along the
frontier of the Marquisate of Baden, and besieged Phi-
lippsburg, a fortress about eighty miles north of Stras-
burg, at that time in the hands of the Germans. This
was a comparatively new fortress of the Empire, having
been built at the beginning of the Thirty Years' War.

^ Ramsay


While the siege of PhiHppsburg was going on, a
bridge was made across the Rhine, and a force was
sent to the left of the river to occupy Spires, which was
found ungarrisoned. Spires, which is only about eight
miles north of PhiHppsburg, had fallen gready in
importance since the days when it had been the
residence of Charlemagne and the seat of the Germanic
Diet; but it was still the Imperial Chamber, such as
that chamber then was ; and its enormous Romanesque
cathedral, with its tall twin towers, gave it a dignity
which it still possesses.

PhiHppsburg capitulated, with the honours of war,
in less than three weeks, on which Turenne at once
started north and, by forced marches, occupied Worms,
Oppenheim, Mayence, and other towns on the Rhine
nearly as far down the river as Coblentz, only meeting
with opposition at Landau, a fortress which was taken
and retaken no less than eight times during the Thirty
Years' War. It now fell in a few days. Cond6, with
the help of Turenne, was thus victorious over the
Bavarian army ; and except in the dashing operations
before Freiburg, he succeeded rather by rapid marches
and judicious strategy, than by brilliant tactics or
remarkable battles.

The opportunity so wisely and so promptly seized,
of carrying guns and provisions down the Rhine by
boats, which enabled the French army to accomplish
the march to PhiHppsburg in so short a time, con-
tributed largely to the success of the campaign. At
the important city of Mayence the good-will of the

i644 ^T. 33] POLICY OF HUMANITY 77

inhabitants, who obliged the Duke of Lorraine with
his army to withdraw from it, was another piece of
luck for the French army. Dr. A. W. Ward, in The
Cauibridge Modern History (iv., 389), says: "The
readiness with which the population . . . submitted to
French control was attributable not only to the skill
with which Ensfhien, with Turenne's aid, carried out
the comprehensive plan of operations long cherished in
vain by Guebriant, but also to the wise humanity that
characterised their proceedings. 'If,' Grotius wrote
about this time to Oxentierna, ' the French continue by
their acts to show that they have come to make them-
selves not masters, but protectors of German liberty,
they will also be able to allure other German States
to their side. ' " France, by this campaign, became
mistress of the Rhine from Breisach almost to Coblentz,
as well as of the Lower Palatinate and all the country
between the Rhine and the Moselle. So much having
been accomplished, Conde, leaving a few of his regi-
ments of infantry with Turenne at Philippsburg, re-
turned to France with the rest of his army.

As soon as Conde had gone, Mercy, who by this
time had recruited his army, came near the Rhine
between Heidelberg and Mannheim, towns within ten
miles of each other. Mannheim, then a fortress and
the capital of the Lower Palatinate, was occupied by
Mercy, who made pretence of building a bridge there,
in the hope of inducing Turenne to withdraw his
troops from Philippsburg, but without avail.

Soon afterwards it was reported to Turenne that


the Duke of Lorraine was coming to join his army to
Mercy's, and that, on his way, he was besieging
Bacharach, a town on the Rhine about half-way
between Mayence and Coblentz. Turenne at once
left Mayence accompanied by only 500 men, halted
within about ten miles of Bacharach, and then osten-
tatiously sent men to mark out a very large camp,
near that town, within sight of the enemy. This quite
took in Lorraine who, deceived into the belief that
Turenne was approaching with a body of troops large
enough to fill such an immense camp, raised the siege of
Bacharach in a hurry, and retired beyond the Moselle.

After taking the then important castle of Kreuznach,
a fortress about a dozen miles from the Rhine, south
of Bingen, Turenne had command of all the important
positions on or near the Rhine, between Breisach and
Coblentz, with the single exception of Mannheim ; and,
having reinforced his garrisons, "he placed himself in
such a manner between the enemy's two generals
[Mercy and Lorraine], that they could not join again
all the rest of the winter ; and in order to watch them
the more narrowly, instead of going to Court, he retired
to Spires".^

Of all this Napoleon says: "Turenne's conduct
after the departure of the Prince of Conde was skilful ;
but he was indeed wonderfully seconded by local circum-
stances. The armies of Bavaria and Lorraine were
separated by the Rhine and by mountains, and their
junction was a difficult operation."

^ Ramsay.


In some of Turenne's Crimpaigns, even in some of his
longest and his most successful campaigns, there was
scarcely any fighting ; but in that of 1645 there were to
be two remarkable battles.

After wintering at Spires, Turenne heard, early in
March, 1645, that Mercy had weakened his army by
sending 4,000 of his men to the assistance of the
Imperialists, who had been defeated by the Swedes in
Bohemia. This made Turenne in a hurry to attack
him ; and, having crossed the Rhine on a bridge of
boats, with 5,000 cavalry, 6,000 infantry and fifteen
guns, he advanced steadily after Mercy who, with little
more than 6,000 men, was obliged to retire before
Turenne's superior force. Turenne, or some of his
troops, marched from his base at Spires, unmolested,
over considerable distances, some of his cavalry going as
far as Nuremberg ; and he finally took up his quarters
at Marienthal or Mergentheim, a small town on the
Tauber, about fifteen miles to the west-north-west of
Rottenburg and about twenty-seven miles to the south-
west of Wiirzburg. Mergentheim is now one of the
minor German watering-places, frequented in the
.summer for its saline chalybeate springs ; bu^ in histories


the place is more often called Marienthal or Mariendal.
Turenne chose it for his headquarters, because it
bordered on the dominions of the Landgravine of Hesse-
Cassel, who was allied to France against the House of
Austria; and he hoped to effect a junction with her
army, thereby making up in some measure for the rein-
forcements he had sought in vain from Mazarin. For
some miles round Marienthal he quartered his regi-
ments in cantonments among the neighbouring villages.
Both his men and his horses were wearied out by
their long marches, and he determined to give them a
rest. Unfortunately, the grass had not yet made its
full spring growth and there was soon a want of forage.
His cavalry officers begged to be allowed to disperse
with their men and horses in search of fodder and, if
possible, to purchase remounts. He did not at all like
this proposal ; but it was reported — the report having
been purposely spread by Mercy — that the enemy was
fully thirty miles off, that his forces were divided, and
that each portion was fortifying its position at some
distance from the others. This report put a rather
different complexion upon the situation, yet Turenne
"blames his own too easy compliance" in even listening
to the suggestions of his officers. He states that at
last he "unadvisedly resolved" to let them go, sending
a general with four or five regiments to Rottenburg,
and keeping with him at Marienthal his infantry and
his guns. In fact, Turenne was taken in by the report
of the division of Mercy's forces.

It was seldom that Turenne hesitated or showed

i645 ^T. 34] MARIENTHAL 81

indecision ; but, the very day after he had allowed his
cavalry to leave his quarters in search of forage and
remounts, he heartily wished that he had refused to
give them that permission ; he sent messages to order
them to return, and he appointed as a rendezvous
Herbsthausen, a place about six miles from Marienthal,
probably because he thought that would be the point
at which they could most rapidly reassemble. In the
course of the day vague rumours came in to the effect
that Mercy's troops were on the move. Meanwhile
Turenne's cavalry were returning but slowly.

At about two o'clock on the following morning, the
2nd of May, intelligence was received that Mercy
was approaching with his whole army. Turenne im-
mediately sent off the Swedish General, Rosen, with a
strong force to Herbsthausen, the rallying point at
which he had ordered his troops to assemble from their
various cantonments, where, moreover, he hoped that
such of his horse as had not already returned to the
cantonments, might concentrate in the course of the
early morning. When Turenne arrived there himself
he found 3,000 of his infantry and a portion^ of his
cavalry on the ground. In front of Turenne was a
wood, and rather more than a mile farther on was
another and a much larger wood. From that wood
the forces of the enemy were already emerging.

^ " Unluckily," says Turenne, "a great many of the troopers
having caused their horses to be blooded, on account of the season,
the regiments could not mount a horse-back soon enough to conie
to the battle."



BATTLE OF The report which Turenne had received at two


THAL, 5th o'clock that morning had not prepared him for so early
^' '^^' an appearance of the enemy. He ordered Rosen to
draw up such cavalry as had arrived, which was rather
more than half of what he had at first brought to
Marienthal, on the near side of the nearest wood. In-
stead of obeying this order, Rosen, says Turenne,
"passed the wood, which might be five or six hundred
paces across, and sent for the cavalry to come and join
him on the other side of the wood ; which surely he
never would have done had he thought that the enemy's
army was so near ; for 'tis certain, had the cavalry joined
him on this (the near) side of the wood, the King's army
might have joined him without fighting ".

This action on the part of Rosen had the effect of
forcing a battle upon Turenne under very disadvan-
tageous circumstances. He rode through the nearer
wood and there found Rosen drawing up his cavalry

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