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HIS MARCH ALONG THE RHINE.
hand a large plain, whereon the whole army was seen to march at once, making a glorious sight in their arıns and new clothes.” * The army halted a day at Cassel, near Mayence, where the elector reviewed the troops; and when he first looked upon the English officers in their scarlet and gold—“all plumed like estridges "-he exclaimed, " these gentlemen seem to be all dressed for the ball.”' Marlborough wrote to Godolphin that he should send to Frankfort to see if he could raise a month's pay for his English upon bills; "for, notwithstanding the continual marching, the men are extremely pleased with this expedition, so that I am sure you will take all the care possible that they may not want.” †
Whilst the army under the immediate command of Marlborough was thus moving towards the Danube, by the Rhine, it was no small part of his anxiety so to regulate the movements of the other confederates that a junction of the principal forces should be ef: fected before they appeared in the presence of their powerful enemies. Up to this time some of the allies had been kept in ignorance of his ultimate plans; but he had so skilfully managed his communications with them, that they, in drawing towards the Moselle, might be ready to march far beyond to effect a junction with his main army. Marlborougli passed the Neckar, on the 3rd, by a bridge of boats at Ladenburg. He here halted for two days. Troops were drawing near to join him as he advanced-Dutch, Luxemburg, Hesse, and Danish allies. He then expected to be on the Danube in ten days; but he found the roads excessively difficult, and had to make circuitous marches. He evidently had an imperfect knowledge of the country. At Mundelsheim, on the 10th, Marlborough and prince Eugene met for the first time, and after three days they were joined hy prince Louis of Baden. Prince Engene was in Marlborough's full confidence, and they hoped to act together for their common object. But for the present they were unable to arrange that united command which cach desired in his reliance upon the other's judgment. Prince Louis of Baden asserted his claim of precedence to be with the main army as its commander. It was at last agreed that he and Marlborough should command on alternate days; and tliat Eugene should re: turn to the Rhine to command, a body of thirty thousand men*the security of the lines and the passage of the Rhine being of the last importance to us." I
Towards the end of june we find in the letters of Marlborough ample evidence of the deep anxiety with which le regards the great crisis which is approaching. Slight indications of doubt and impatience manifest themselves benea:h the surface of his imperturbable temper. His friends in Holland, he understands, are alarmed and he entreats that they may be quieted; for if, misled by appearances, they were to give orders for their troops to march back, all his projects would be entirely disconcerted.* On the 29th he writes to Harley, that the army, in camp at Giengen, is within two leagues of the elector of Bavaria ; but the Danish horse are not come up ; “though if the duke of Würtemberg had hastened his march, according to the repeated orders I sent, he might have been here by this time.”+ But the English infantry and artillery have at length joined the cavalry with which Marlborough himself had pushed on; and he is now ready for serious work. Marshal Tallard and marshal Villeroy, he learns, are at Strasburg, preparing to send the elector a great re-inforcement, through the Black Forest. One blow may be struck at the elector before his friends come to his aid.
* Cunningham, p. 373.
Coxe, “ Memoirs of Marlborough," vol. i. p. 331, edit, 1820. # Dispatches, vol. i. p. 307.
On the 1st of July Marlborough had received advice from a peasant living near Donawert, that thirteen thousand Bavarians and French were posted in an intrenched camp upon the Schellenberg. This eminence is described by Mr. Hare, the duke's chaplain, as about two English miles in circumference at the base, having a gradual ascent, and a large flat at the top, where the enemy was encamped in several lines. The Schellenberg joined the town of Donawert, from which an intrenchment was carried round the top of the hill, at whose base, on the south, flowed the Danube. The intrenchment was the strongest and the most regular on the north, where the hill is accessible from a spacious plain. Cunningham has given a somewhat picturesque description of the Schellenberg: “On the top of the hill stands a church with a churchyard, which was encompassed by the camp, and surrounded with the intrenchment. Adjoining to the churchyard is a little hill, which extends itself westward to a plain, and towards the south is broken into several hillocks, the bottoms whereof are washed by the Danube. Towards the east there is a ridge of hills covered by thick woods, frequented by robbers, and dangerous to passengers ; and at this time not less fit for an ambuscade than the purposes of rapine.” Ş At three o'clock on the morning of the 2nd of July, Marlborough marched out of his camp with a detachment of six thousand foot, thirty squadrons of horse, and three regiments of * Dispatch M. D'Amelo, 23rd June. vol. 1. p. 323.
† Ibid., p. 328. Ibid., D. 331.
$"History of Great Britain," vol. i. p. 377.
BATTLE OF THE SCHELLENBERG.
imperial grenadiers. The roads were difficult; and it was noon before they reached the river Wernitz, a tributary of the Danube. They had marched twelve miles; and there were yet three miles of very rough ways to pass. The main body of the army was following the detachment. Fatigued as the men were, the duke resolved to storm the Schellenberg before the night closed. At six o'clock the attack began. The foot advanced in four lines up the rising ground; the horse in two lines. The cannon from the intrenchment of the hills, and from the works at Donawert, swept away officers and men with case-shot. The allied troops carried fascines to be thrown down into the intrenchments; but by mistake they threw them down into the hollow way which ran before the works, and the enemy came out of their trenches to charge a confused host, whose commanding officers were for the most part killed or wounded. But the F.nglish Guards stood their ground, presenting that solid front which has arrested many an onset; and the Gallo-Bavarians retired. The whole force of the Schellenberg was now concentrated upon the English and Danish assailants. The infantry shrunk before the incessant fire ; but the horse closed up and rallied them, and again they attacked with redoubled vigour. Meanwhile, the enemy having withdrawn his men from the works on the right, nearest to Donawert, prince Louis of Baden led the imperialists to the feebly defended intrenchments, and they, throwing their fascines into the ditch, passed over with slight loss. The contest on the left still raged. The intrenchments were obstinately disputed, but at the end of an hour and a half the lines were forced ; the allies possessed the camp; the routed enemy fled towards Donawert, whither they were pursued with great slaughter; the Bavarian general, count d'Arco, saved himself with difficulty; and as the flying crowds crossed the bridge of the Danube it broke down, and the waters swallowed those who had escaped the sword. Only three thousand of the men of the intrenched camp of the Schellenberg joined the elector of Bavaria, out of the twelve or thirteen thousand that occupied that almost impregnable position. But the allies also sustained a loss of more than five thousand killed and wounded. The determination of Marlborough to storm the intrenched camp was daring-almost rash. Marshal Conway, in 1774, viewed the ground and wrote: “ The intrenchments on the heights of Schellenberg are, for the form, still entire, and appear, both for construction and position, very strong." *
There were fourteen English infantry regiments in the action. and seven of cavalry. Twenty-nine of their officers were killed, and eighty-six
* MS. Letter.
wounded. Marlborough, in his dispatch to Harley, does not mention the aid he received from the prince of Baden. This was not jealousy, but contempt. The partisans of the prince repaid this, by ascribing the victory to the imperial general.
It would be a satisfaction to the honest pride of an Englishman if he could ascribe to the commands of the prince of Baden the disgraceful scenes of the next for night. Negotiations had been going on between the emperor and the elector of Bavaria, to induce the elector to join the Allies. Articles had been agreed upon; but when the elector was expected to sign, he sent his secretary to say that as marshal Tallard was marching with an army of thirty thousand men to his relief, it was not in his power, nor consistent with his honour, to quit the French interest. Mariborough, who relates this to Mr. Secretary Hedges, coolly adds, “We are now going to burn and destroy the elector's country, to oblige him to hearken to terms."* To burn and destroy a country may be a glib phrase of war, to which some persons may attach no very definite meaning. It was here no idle threat to make the elector come to terms. The work was set about in a very business-like manner. On the 31st of July, three thousand horse were sent out,
to begin in the neighbourhood of Munich,” under the command of the comte d'Orst-Frise. To bim Marlborough writes the next day to say, that he has desired the comte de la Tour to execute the same job in another quarter,—during a couple of days, “ brûlant en attendant tout ce qu'il pourra.” † On the 3rd of August he writes to Harley, that his titled agents have returned, “having burnt a great number of villages between this and Munich, so that the elector can expect nothing less than the ruin of Bavaria for his obstinacy and breach of promise.” I The elector can expect nothing less! But the elector's people ? The politic duke thoroughly knew what “the ruin of Bavaria ” meant. He is quite sentimental when he writes to his cluchess about these matters. To burn and destroy "is so contrary to my nature, that nothing but absolute necessity would have obliged me to consent to it, for these poor people suffer for their master's ambition. There having been no war in this country for above sixty years, these towns and villages are so clean that you would be pleased with them.” His nature suffers, he says, 10 see so many fine places burnt. And then the sweet domestic affections break forth from his troubled heart : "I shall never be easy and happy till I am quiet with you." ş He had a wife and children for whom he yearns. He has given up thousands * Dispatches, vol. i. p. 358.
Ibid., p. 383.
1 Ibid., p. 384. $ Coxe, vol. i. p. 375.
DEVASTATION OF BAVARIA
of hapless wives and children to the destroyer. The villages, “so clean,” that gave them shelter; the food they have just began to? gather into their garners; the standing corn-all are burnt; the wives and children, with husbands and fathers, are perishing, because the elector of Bavaria prefers the French interest to that of the emperor. An English historian writes, “thus was avenged the barbarous desolation of the Palatinate thirty years before.”* Surely this sort of vengeance has at length become so odious, that Churchill the duke, and Morgan the buccaneer, might be placed in the same category as enemies of the human race, if the hero, in all ages, had not been held exempt from the ordinary code of morals. In Mr. Addison's day, such deeds were not held to be crimes ; “ courage and compassion " were joined in the “good and great" Marlborough, when“ he thinks it vain to spare his rising wrath :”
The listening soldier fix'd in sorrow stands,
To see his just commands so well obey'd.” | Forty years ago, archdeacon Coxe thus caressingly writes of his hero: “Although Marlborough was thus compelled to fulfil the most unwelcome duty which can fall to a general, his private correspondence shows that he felt as a man.
1."| Perhaps the Reverend biographer would have been less moved with the maudlin sentimentality of the letter to the duchess, which we have quoted, if he had known how one greater than Marlborough regarded such
duty.” When Massena abandoned Portugal in March, 1811, burning and destroying every town and village as he retreated before the English army, lord Wellington thus described the operations of the French general: “His retreat has been marked by a barbarity seldom equalled and never surpassed." S Barbarity is the word—the act of a savage, as distinguished from the act of the civilised man. “The laws of war, rigorously interpreted, authorise soch examples when the inhabitants take arms," writes sir William Napier, the historian of the Peninsular campaigns. The quiet population upon whom Marlborough let loose all the terrors of fire and sword had not lifted a finger to oppose his progress. And yet Marlborough was not a cruel man. He always treated his prison. ers with exemplary humanity. There may be situations in war when severity is truly mercy. Was this such a situation ?
On the 3rd of August, Marlborough was encamped at Friedberg. He writes to Harley, that the Allies intend to march on the more • Alison's “ Marlborough,” p. 74.
+ " The Campaign." * Vol. i. p. 37.
& Wellington Dispatches, vc.. .1. p. 358.