But in India also there were troops lying idle since the fall of Pondicherry, which could be employed against Spain. In June Admiral Cornish received secret orders for an expedition, which he communicated to the authorities at Calcutta; and on the 1st of August the fleet sailed away to eastward with a force of one thousand Europeans, half of them of Draper’s regiment, and two thousand Sepoys, under General Draper. On the 24th of September, after much delay owing to stormy weather and the extremely defective condition of Cornish’s ships, the expedition entered the bay of Manila and anchored off Fort Cavita. Draper decided not to waste time in reducing the fort, so landed his troops unopposed on the following day through a heavy surf, about a mile and a half from the walls of the city. On the 26th he seized a detached fort which had been abandoned by the Spaniards within two hundred yards of the glacis, and began to construct a battery, while the ships sailed up to draw the fire of the town upon themselves. On the 30th a storeship arrived with entrenching tools, but was driven ashore on the very same evening by a gale, and there lay hard and fast. By singular good fortune, however, she had taken the ground at a point where she served exactly to screen the rear of Draper’s camp from the Spanish cannon, while her stores were landed with greater speed and safety 长沙桑拿论坛 than would have been possible had she remained afloat; for the gale continued for several days and forbade the passage of boats through the surf. Four days later the battery and the ships opened a furious fire, which in four hours silenced the enemy’s guns, and by the next day had made a practicable breach. That night the Spaniards made a sally upon the British position with a thousand Indians, who, despite their ferocity and daring, were driven back with heavy loss; and at dawn of the 6th Draper’s regiment and a party of sailors attacked the breach and carried the fortifications with little difficulty. Thereupon Manila, with the island of Luzon and its dependencies, surrendered to the British, paying four million dollars for ransom of the town and of the property contained therein. Thus fell Manila within ten days of the arrival 长沙桑拿哪里好 of the British; but the siege though short was attended by much difficulty and hardship. Regular approaches were impracticable owing to the incessant rain; while the surf made the landing of troops and stores a matter of extreme labour and peril. Had not the defences of the town been for the most part feeble and the spirit of the garrison feebler still, the capture of the Philippines would have been no such simple matter. The story of Manila is, however, interesting as a comment on Wentworth’s proceedings at Carthagena, justifying to the full Vernon’s predilection for a direct assault at the earliest possible moment in all operations against the Spaniard.
Yet another expedition brought the British face to face with their new enemy on more familiar ground than Luzon. The Spaniards, on the pretext of Portuguese 长沙桑拿最好场子推荐 friendship with England, in April invaded Portugal, overran the country as far as the Douro from the north, and threw another force against Almeida from the east. The injured kingdom appealed to England for help; and in May orders were sent to Belleisle for the despatch of four regiments of infantry, together with the detachment of the Sixteenth Light Dragoons, to Portugal. Two more regiments were added from Ireland, bringing the total up to about seven thousand
men; and simultaneously a number of British officers were sent to take up commands in the Portuguese army. Unfortunately there was some trouble over the selection of a commander; and though the two regiments from Ireland were actually in the Tagus by the first week in May, it was not until June that the rest of the troops arrived, with the Count of 长沙桑拿攻略 Lippe-Bückeburg, the famous artillerist, as Commander-in-Chief of the Allied forces, and Lord Loudoun in command of the British. The operations that followed were so trifling and of so short duration that they are unworthy of detailed mention. The Spaniards captured Almeida early in August; and Bückeburg was obliged to stand on the defensive and cover Lisbon at the line of the Tagus. Two brilliant little affairs, however, served to lift an officer, who so far was little known, into a prominence which was one day to be disastrous to himself and to England. This was Brigadier-General John Burgoyne, Colonel of the Sixteenth Light Dragoons, who with four hundred troopers of his regiment surprised the town of Valencia de Alcantara after a forced march of forty-five miles, annihilated a regiment of Spanish infantry and captured 长沙桑拿按摩预约 several prisoners. Not content with this, he a month later surprised the camp of another party of Spaniards at Villa Velha, on the south bank of the Tagus, dispersed it with considerable loss and captured six guns, at a cost of but one man killed and ten wounded. Such affairs, which in Ferdinand’s army were so common as seldom to be noticed, made Burgoyne and the Sixteenth the heroes of this short campaign; but though the regiment has lived the rest of its life according to this beginning, Burgoyne’s career will end for us twenty years hence at Saratoga.
From these scattered enterprises against Spain I return to Ferdinand’s last campaign against the old enemy in Germany. We left the contending parties in their winter-quarters, the French army of the Rhine cantoned along the river from Cleve to Cologne; the army of 长沙桑拿论坛 the Main extending from Altenkirchen, a little to north of Treves, north-eastward to Cassel and from Cassel south-eastward to Langensalza; and the Allies, facing almost due south, stretched from Münster to Halberstadt. The whole situation was, however, changed in various respects. The French had resolved to throw their principal strength into the army of the Main, which was accordingly raised to eighty thousand men under the command of Soubise and Marshal d’Estrées; Broglie having been recalled to France. The army of the Rhine was reduced proportionately to thirty thousand men under the Prince of Condé. The total numbers of the French, though less than in previous years, still remained far superior to Ferdinand’s; but, on the other hand, owing to the change of ministry in England and the reopening of negotiations by Bute, 长沙桑拿洗浴休闲会所 the Court of Versailles was content to hold the ground already gained without attempt at further conquest. Soubise and d’Estrées were therefore instructed to cling fast to Cassel and G?ttingen, to spare the district between the Rhine and the Lahn with a view to winter-quarters, and to destroy the forage between the Eder and the Diemel so as to prevent Ferdinand from man?uvring on their flanks and rear.
Ferdinand on his side, though still outmatched by the armies opposed to him, was relatively stronger in numbers than in any previous year, having a nominal total of ninety-five thousand men ready for the field. Winter-quarters were little disturbed during the early months of 1762, the country having been so much devastated that neither side could move, from lack of forage, until the green corn was already grown high. Towards the end of May both armies began to concentrate; and Ferdinand, though much delayed by the negligence of the British Ministry in recruiting the British regiments to their right strength, determined to be first in the field.
Having detached a strong corps under the Hereditary Prince to watch the movements of Condé, he concentrated at Brakel, a little to the east of Paderborn, and advanced to the Diemel, where he posted the main army about Corbeke, with Granby’s corps to westward of it at Warburg. Hearing at the same time that the French had left a corps under Prince Xavier on the east of the Weser to invade Hanover, he detached General Lückner with a small force across the river to keep an eye on him, sending also parties to seize the Castle of Zappaburg, some few miles to south-east, to secure communications with Lückner, and to occupy the passes leading from the south of the Diemel into Hesse. Meanwhile, on the 22nd of June, Soubise and d’Estrées moved northward from Cassel with the main body of the army as far as Gr?benstein, fixed their headquarters at Wilhelmsthal and halted. The design of this movement is unintelligible unless, as is conjectured by one writer, they wished simply to amuse themselves at the castle of Wilhelmsthal; but in any case they neglected all necessary precautions. Their right flank rested on the large forest known as the Reinhardswald, and might have been rendered absolutely secure by the occupation of the Zappaburg, which commanded every road through that forest; yet they had suffered this important post to fall into Ferdinand’s hands. Again, the occupation of the passes to the south of the Diemel would have secured their front; but here also they had allowed the Allies to be before them. None the less there they remained, careless of all consequences, at Wilhelmsthal; while to tempt an active enemy still farther, they stationed a corps under M. de Castries before their right front at Carlsdorff, in absolute isolation from their main body. Ferdinand saw his opportunity, and though he could bring but fifty thousand men against their seventy thousand, resolved to strike at once.
On the 23rd he recalled Lückner from across the Weser to Gottesbühren, a little to the north of the Zappaburg; and on hearing of his safe arrival at eight o’clock of the same evening, ordered the whole army to be under arms at midnight. For Lückner’s corps was but one of the toils which he was preparing to draw around the unsuspecting French; and the places for the rest had already been chosen. Sp?rcke, with twelve battalions of Hanoverians and several squadrons, was to advance from the left of the main body, turn a little to the eastward upon Humme after crossing the Diemel, and, marching from thence southward, was to fall upon the right flank and rear of Castries’ corps at Hombrechsen. Lückner, with six battalions and seven squadrons, was to march south-west from Gottesbühren through the Zappaburg to Udenhausen, and form up to the left of Sp?rcke on Castries’ right rear. Colonel Riedesel was to push forward from the Zappaburg with a body of irregulars to Hohenkirch, on the south and left of Lückner. Meanwhile Ferdinand was to advance with the main body in five columns between Liebenau and Sielen, upon the front of the French principal army, while Granby should move south upon Zierenberg and fall upon its left flank. Supposing that every corps fulfilled its duty exactly in respect of time and place, there was good hope that the entire force of the French might be destroyed.
Riedesel and Lückner were punctually in their appointed places at seven o’clock on the morning of the 24th. Sp?rcke’s two columns, on emerging from the Reinhardswald at five o’clock, found only two vedettes before them on the heights of Hombrechsen, and ascended those heights unopposed. Then, however, not seeing Castries’ corps, which, as it chanced, was hidden from them by a wood, they turned to their left instead of to their right, and advanced unconsciously towards the front of the French main army. The startled vedettes galloped back to give the alarm; and Castries hurriedly calling his men to arms prepared to retreat. Pushing forward his cavalry right and left to screen his movements from Sp?rcke and from Riedesel, Castries quickly set his infantry in order for march; and having contrived to hold Sp?rcke at bay for an hour, began his retreat upon Wilhelmsthal and Cassel. Lückner came up as he had been bidden at Udenhausen, but meeting part of Sp?rcke’s corps on its march in the wrong direction was fired upon by it; and in the confusion Castries was able to make his escape. Riedesel being weak in numbers could not stop him, though he fell furiously with his hussars upon the rear-guard and cut one regiment of French infantry to pieces; but except for this loss Castries retired with little damage. Thus, as so often happens, failed the most important detail of Ferdinand’s elaborate combinations.
Meanwhile the French main army, startled out of its sleep by the sound of the guns about Hombrechsen, was in absolute confusion. Fortunately for the Marshals, the unlucky mistake as to Lückner’s corps which had saved Castries, saved them also, since it checked Sp?rcke’s advance against their right. Breaking up their camp with amazing rapidity, they formed upon the heights and hastened their baggage away towards Cassel. Lückner, awake to the miscarriage of the turning movement on the French right, now begged Kielmansegge, who commanded the left column of Sp?rcke’s corps, to hasten with him to Hohenkirchen, from whence a cross way to westward would enable them to bar every road between Wilhelmsthal and Cassel. But Kielmansegge persisted in attacking the right flank of the French main body, despite the fact that it was covered by a brook running through a swampy valley; and before he could effect his passage over this obstacle, the opportunity for cutting off the French retreat was lost.
Meanwhile the troops under Ferdinand in the centre advanced against the French front, though very slowly. Sp?rcke’s right column formed up on their left, but being out of its right place hampered the advance of the rest and caused lamentable delay. The French main army, having cleared its baggage out of the way, was falling back in several columns towards Wilhelmsthal, when the appearance of Granby on their left showed them the full extent of their peril. The flower of the French infantry was then collected under M. de Stainville and thrown out on the left to cover the retreat of the main body at any cost; and now the action began in earnest. Taking up a strong position in a wood Stainville prepared to do his utmost. Granby’s infantry consisted of three battalions of British Guards, the British grenadiers in three battalions, and the Fifth and Eighth Foot,—some of the finest troops in the British Army—but the fight was long and stubborn. Stainville appears at first to have taken the offensive and to have fallen upon the head of Granby’s columns before the whole of his troops had come up, but to have been gradually forced back as more and more of the British battalions advanced into action. French and English came to close quarters, guns were taken and retaken, and for a time two British cannon remained in the hands of the French. Granby, however, seems to have got the upper hand at last, to have surrounded the wood on two sides and to have made his dispositions for surrounding it on all sides, when Ferdinand’s troops at last came up on Stainville’s rear and put an end to the conflict. The gallant Frenchman’s corps was nearly annihilated; fifteen hundred men were killed and wounded, nearly three thousand surrendered to the Fifth Foot alone, and two battalions only made good their escape. The Allied army advanced a little to the south of Wilhelmsthal; and so the action came to an end.
The losses of the Allies were small, reaching but seven hundred men killed and wounded, of which four hundred and fifty belonged to Granby’s corps. The result of the action was in fact a great disappointment, due partly to the mistakes of Sp?rcke and Kielmansegge, partly to the extreme slowness of Ferdinand’s advance in the centre. The main body of the Allies indeed seems to have taken five hours to move from Gr?benstein to Wilhelmsthal, a distance of little more than four miles; and the fact would appear to indicate considerable clumsiness on the part of some officer or officers in the handling of their men. Still the fact remained that forty thousand men had attacked seventy thousand and driven them back in confusion; and the French were not a little shamefaced and discouraged over their defeat.
On the night of the action Soubise and d’Estrées fell back across the Fulda and took up a position between Cassel and Lutternberg. Ferdinand therefore ordered Granby’s corps to a position near Cassel and sent forward a detachment to clear the enemy from the north bank of the Eder; whereupon the French evacuated Fritzlar and retiring across the Fulda took post upon its eastern bank. Both armies remained in this position until the 1st of July, Ferdinand trying always to force the French back, but obliged to act with caution, since Prince Xavier’s Saxons had joined the French at Lutternberg and might at any time give trouble on the eastern side of the Weser. Finally on the 24th he boldly attacked the French right at Lutternberg and completely defeated it. The French thereupon fell back to Melsungen on the Fulda, while Ferdinand took up a position opposite to them on the western bank of the river and threatened their communications with Frankfort. The Marshals then summoned Condé from the Rhine, but Ferdinand continued to press their communications so hard that at length they evacuated G?ttingen and retreated by Hersfeld and Fulda to Vilbel, a little to the north of Frankfort; Ferdinand marching parallel with them on their western flank to the Nidda, in the hope, which was disappointed, of preventing their junction with Condé. So far he had done well, for he had for the present driven the French armies from Hesse.
Meanwhile Condé, obedient to orders, had marched towards Frankfort, joining Soubise a little to the south of Friedberg on the 30th of August. The Hereditary Prince, who had followed him closely all the way from the Rhine, attacked him on the same day, apparently in ignorance of the presence of Soubise’s army, and was repulsed with considerable loss. For the next few days the two armies remained inactive, Ferdinand between the Nidder and Nidda with his headquarters at Staden, facing south-west, and the French opposite to him between Friedburg and Butzbach. Such a position, while forces were so unequal, could not continue long; and on the 7th of September the French moved northward by Giessen towards the Eder. Ferdinand, divining that their design was to cut him off from Cassel, which it was his own intention to besiege, at once hurried northward to stop them. It was a race between the two armies. The French travelled due north by Giessen and Marburg, crossing the Lahn above the latter town. Ferdinand made for Homberg on the north bank of the Ohm, and turning north-westward from thence marched on by Kirchhain and Wetter, where he overtook the French advanced guard. On the following day he offered battle; but Soubise declined, and, turning to the right about, repassed the Lahn and encamped along the line of the Ohm, with his left at Marburg and his right over against Homberg. Ferdinand thereupon took post in full sight of the enemy on the opposite bank of the river, with his left at Homberg and his right extended beyond Kirchhain. This was the position from which he had intended Imhoff to cover Hesse in 1760; and he had no intention now of allowing the French to break through it to Cassel, for he had made up his mind to recover Cassel for himself.
The valley of the Ohm south-eastward from Kirchhain is about eleven hundred yards broad, rising gradually on the east bank of the river to a height called the Galgenberg, and on the western bank to a steep basaltic hill known as the Am?neberg. The Ohm itself between these hills is from twenty to thirty feet wide and from five to seven feet deep, flowing between steep banks. Just to the south of the Am?neberg was a stone bridge by which stood a water-mill, consisting of a massive court with a group of houses. The steep sides of the Am?neberg frown close to it on the northern hand; but to westward the ground rises in a gentle slope, through which a hollow road, covered by an old redoubt, ran down to the mill. The town and castle of the Am?neberg itself was surrounded with a wall and towers strong enough, on the south and south-western sides, to defy all but heavy artillery. The bridge with the mill and the castle beyond it were for some reason neglected by the Allies. There had been some attempt to secure the bridge itself, and a redoubt had been begun on Ferdinand’s side of the river for its defence; but the breastwork was not above three feet high and as many feet thick, so that it could be commanded by an enemy’s fire, and the more easily since the western or French bank of the river was the higher. The court of the mill was occupied by but thirteen men; the old redoubt appears not to have been occupied at all; and the garrison of the castle of Am?neberg consisted of a single battalion of irregulars only. Yet the Am?neberg was an advanced post over against the enemy’s left wing and on the enemy’s side of the river; and the possession of the bridge was of vital importance to the Allies, not only to ensure communication with that advanced post, but to bar the advance of the French across the Ohm and to secure to Ferdinand the means of taking the offensive. The carelessness which allowed these points to remain so slenderly guarded is therefore almost inexplicable.