23 May 1706
The strategic situation in early 1706
|Battle of Ramillies|
|Date:||23 May 1706|
|Bourbon side:||Alliance side:|
As regards the strategic situation in early 1706 the alliance had failed to enter the heart of the Spanish Netherlands in the three preceding campaigns. It was therefore in doubt whether they could achieve this strategic goal in 1706. Furthermore their overall strategic situation had not progressed by the previous campaign. The landing of an expeditionary force had brought over the Catalans and Valencia to the cause of Charles III, but the Hungarian uprising had paralyzed the empire, and the French were well on their way to conquer the whole of Italy. On the Alliance side many were therefore convinced that France would stay on the defensive in both The Netherlands and Germany1.
Therefore Marlborough wanted to lead his troops to Italy in order to fight alongside Eugen. Heinsius and Buys agreed with this plan on condition that no 'national' Dutch troops would be used. The owners of the German regiments that would be used were however against it except for Hessia. Finally the scheme was made impossible by a very early mobilization of the French forces and their advances on the left bank of the Rhine. So Marlborough and the States went for plan B. This was to send 10,000 mainly Hessian soldiers to Italy.
In order to keep Marlborough and his English troops in the Netherlands the States did two things. They made the march of the Hessians conditional on him commanding in the Netherlands and they changed the orders (instructions) for the Field Deputies. These changes centered on reinforcing the authority of the supreme commander (i.e. Ouwerkerk). The deputies should avoid conferring about his decisions with the subordinate generals; they should redirect all complaints to him and they would no longer give orders themselves. These measures were necessary to restore the Dutch command structure. However, because Marlborough was often in agreement with Ouwerkerk they also strengthened his command over the combined forces.
The main objectives of Versailles were to kick Savoy out of the war by conquering Turin, and to drive the alliance out of mainland Spain by conquering Barcelona. Supposing that no calamities arose on other fronts it could then easily start peace negotiations. Staying on the defensive in the Low Countries should have been an integral part of this strategy and up to the actual opening of the campaign it probably was. It could lead to the loss of Louvain or some other major place in Brabant, but would be outweighed by the almost certain conquest of Turin.
The French open the campaign
France started to leave its sound strategy when it began to suspect that the alliance might campaign on the Moselle or in Alsace. It decided to open the campaign early by ordering the Upper Rhine army to chase the alliance from the Moder line and to lift the blockade of Fort Louis. In order to facilitate this Marsin was detached from the Low Countries to the Moselle and Alsace in the first days of April with a detachment of 18 battalions and 40 squadrons. The 1 May operations against the Moder line were a complete success and gave Versailles inspiration to think about projects like the Siege of Landau and retaking Léau.
Strategic reasons to opt for the siege of Léau
During the previous year the Alliance had broken and destroyed the lines of Brabant. They had also conquered the minor fortress of Zoutleeuw (which was part of the lines), retaken Huy and kept both garrisoned. Zoutleeuw (French name Léau) was not a major prize for a general, but conquering Zoutleeuw would enable the French to defend the Demer-Gheete position in stead of the Dijle. This was the strategic reason, but prestige might have been just as important.
Louis XIV and Villeroy both thought that a siege of Léau was a suitable project for this campaign. It sounded like a low-risk operational plan, but was in fact contrary to the strategy of staying on the defensive in The Netherlands. Supposing one would be able to start the siege one could be forced either to do battle or take another blow to prestige by lifting the siege and losing the siege train2.
Maneuvers leading to the battlefield of Ramillies
As regards the army in the Spanish Netherlands Louis XIV was aware of the danger Villeroy's army had been in on the IJsche. Both he and Villeroy thought it however a lot stronger than in the previous campaign. Even without Marsin's detachment it would actually count 72 battalions and 109 squadrons on 15 May. The plan for retaking Léau was however scheduled for 1 June, and by that time Marsin would have returned and the army would count 90 battalions and 140 squadrons. A nominal comparison comparison of the number of units between 1705 and 1706 does not lead to the conclusion that the army was stronger in this campaign. The faith in the strength of this army was therefore probably based on the presence of the elite regiments of the Maison du Roy and these and a lot of other units being stronger than in 1705.
On 6 May 1706 Louis XIV sent Villeroy a letter2b. It stated that for a successful campaign it was absolutely necessary to start the siege of Léau before the enemy had concentrated. In case the enemy had concentrated before the start of the siege, it was to be executed by 16 battalions and covered by 80. All this obviously based on Marsin returning in time for the siege, which was to start on 1 June. Continuing with this timetable in mind Louis continued to state that the worst 'inconvenience' that could happen was a battle. Which during his reign had never been lost when the numbers were more or less equal. Furthermore the prudent management of the previous campaigns had produced the ill effect of the enemies taking it for weakness. Louis also stated that a demonstration that he was able to attack them anywhere he wanted was the most suitable way to bring the alliance to negotiation table in order to achieve a much needed peace. In case the alliance army was deemed to be superior in numbers Villeroy only had to join the besieging forces to his army. The project of the siege of Huy would be effective and without any risk. At the end there was a paragraph about the troops of the elector being quite well, but not all of the same quality. Villeroy should deploy them accordingly and with attention to which troops would face the English regiments.
Villeroy answered the king by letter of 8 Mai 17062c. He had already been planning the siege of Léau for a somewhat earlier date, but would execute it from a nearby camp of his army so he would not have to split it. He also believed that with his forces united he could not fail to hold the advantage in a battle. His majesties troops were very good and full of confidence. Villeroy was not sure about the strength of the enemy, Marlborough was believed still to be in The Hague, the Prussians had not yet joined the army. If the king wanted Marsin to join him he should order it immediately. King Louis thus ordered Villeroy to besiege Léau and take an aggressive stance because he would be superior with an 80 battalion army. Villeroy communicated back that he understood that the king wanted him to be aggressive and that he would execute the siege project with a force of about 74 battalions, 90 if Marsin was sent to him. The question that remains is whether King Louis wanted Villeroy to fight if battle was offered before Marsin returned. That this was Villeroy's intention becomes clear by the fact that on 16 May Marsin received a letter from Villeroy ordering him to wait for orders from Versailles.
Villeroy starts his campaign
Before Villeroy started his operations, Marsin had participated in the actions by Villars on the Upper Rhine on 1 May, where Villars had conquered the Moder line. On 2 May Marsin ordered the twenty squadrons that he had left near Metz to return to the north immediately. Marsin himself marched to the Spanish Netherlands on 3 May with the 18 battalions and 20 squadrons. On 5 May Marsin received an order by Versailles that told him not to march further than Metz (where he would actually arrive on 12 May) and to wait for Villeroy's orders there. Versailles gave Villeroy authority to dispose of Marsin's troops, but also ordered him not to call them to the Spanish Netherlands before he was sure of the Alliance plans. On 16 May Marsin was in Thionville, where he received orders from Villeroy to stop and wait for orders from Versailles. Marsin decided to march to Hesperange and waited. On 18 May he received final orders to proceed to the Spanish Netherlands with 11 squadrons and 18 battalions and he marched on the 20th. The result was that at the battle of Ramillies only 20 squadrons of this detachment were present.
On 15 May Villeroy started his campaign by making a camp behind the Dijle near Leuven. On 19 May he camped northwest of Tienen for two days and was joined by troops from the garrison of Namur3. Upon hearing that the allies planned to march in the direction of Corswarem Villeroy moved to a camp near Goussoncourt (southwest of Tienen) on the 21st. Whether it would come to a siege of Zoutleeuw or to maneuvers against the alliance army depended on whether the allies would indeed march his way.
On the alliance side the Dutch component had acted first by marching to Tongres on 11 May. On the 19th it received the news that the French had crossed the Dijle4. On the 20th the army marched to a position between Borgloon and the Jeker. Here the English joined and Marlborough pressed the Danes to come forward5. At least Marlborough and Ouwerkerk were for engaging the enemy, but on the 21st the army still had to wait for the Danes to get into reach. On the 22nd the army marched to Corswarem and put up camp between Cortise and Tourinne. The plan was to march forward on the 23rd and make camp near the opening between the small Geete and the Mehaigne that was centered on Ramillies or to engage the enemy there.
Villeroy probably got wind of the allies' march on the 22nd. Anyway, a siege of Zoutleeuw was now out of the question. Doing so would mean Marlborough could repeat his move to Brussel, or cut Villeroy's communications. In accordance with the royal instructions Villeroy therefore decided to stop Marlborough's march. In 1705 he would have done this at the Lines, but these were gone now. In the early morning of 23 May 1706 the French army therefore marched south to block any allied advance. At some time during their march Villeroy got information that the alliance was marching on Ramillies6.
Because his route was somewhat shorter and the position could not be bypassed easily, Villeroy decided to await the Marlborough at Ramillies. As the numbers were about equal he had every reason to have confidence in the outcome of a possible engagement.
The alliance order of battle at Ramillies
The Allied army under the command of Marlborough consisted of 74 battalions, 123 squadrons and 100 guns, 20 howitzers and 42 pontoons, totaling about 62,000 men. As regards command it contained General Churchill (brother of Marlborough), as Quarter Master General (QMG) General Cadogan, the Dutch Marshall Ouwerkerk, General Dopff and the new Field Deputies of the General States.
The French and Spanish Netherlands order of battle at Ramillies
The French and Spanish Netherlands army was under the nominal command of Elector Max Emanuel, governor of the Spanish Netherlands, the actual command was held by Villeroy. This army had 74 battalions and 128 squadrons, totaling about 63,000 men and was primarily French. At least 18 Spanish Netherlands, Bavarian and Colognese battalions depended on the government of Max Emanuel. The French part of this army had a high proportion of Swiss and German battalions.
According to 'Het Staatse Leger', probably based on a 13 May 1706 letter by Gassion, Marsin's detachment consisted of the cavalry regiments of: Fresing; Gaetano; Fraula; Acosta; Heyder; Condé; Ligondez; Desmarets and Dumain; . La Clef du cabinet6b has for the cavalry (f=French, s=Spanish): Frezin (s); Gaytano (s); Fraula (s); Acosta (s); Heyder (s); Condé (f); Ligondez (f) (all these also in 'Het Staatse Leger') and furthermore Gendarmerie (f), Fontaine(f); Forsa (f); Barentin (f) and the Dragons de la Reine (f). Quincy also has a list of the detachment, but takes Spanish cavalry for infantry. Here's what I make of it: Gaytano (s); Acosta (s); Fraula (s) ('Siauta'); Heyder (s) ('Gerder'); Condé (f); Ligondez (f) and also: Gendarmerie (f), Fontaine(f); Forsa (f); Barentin (f) and the Dragons de la Reine (f).
Dict. Hist. has that Claude d'Anjony marquis de Foix captain in the Du Maine cavalry regiment fought at Ramillies.
This French army was about as strong in numbers as the allied army. In the further description of the battle we will however see events that might point to a lack of fighting spirit or to it being less well organized. In order to get a better understanding of the battle we'll take a closer look at the French order of Battle at Ramillies.
The battlefield of Ramillies
Here is an overview of the battlefield of Ramillies. Only the Mehaigne should be considered a true river of more than 3 meters wide. The rest of the 'rivers' are brooks. One should also not imagine the roads to be that much, except perhaps for the Roman road (I guess). As Barnett noticed the battlefield of Ramillies looks much like that of Blenheim, except that now the French left wing was covered by a brook. Though not being that wide this brook (the petit Gete) lies deeper than the surrounding countryside and from it the ground rises that steeply to the French positions that it impeded cavalry operations. As regards heights it should be noted that the height differences limited the overview. The part south of Ramillies itself consisted of a plain that was ideal for cavalry actions.
The French deployment near Ramillies and Offus
The French deployment was in essence quite traditional. Almost all infantry was in the center and the cavalry was on the wings. The infantry in the center occupied two villages i.e. Ramillies and Offus. With regard to Ramillies itself we know that it was occupied by 5 battalions of Colognese and Bavarian Guards under the Bavarian general Maffei. Somewhat more behind were four other battalions, probably Swiss from Greder. Around the village there were also some artillery batteries that could fire east and south. We do not know the particulars of the garrison of Offus.
The French deployment between Ramillies and Taviers
South of Ramillies the right wing consisted of cavalry. In the first line were the 13 squadrons of the Maison du Roy, four squadrons of Tarente and Courcillon and some other Bavarian and French squadrons, making for a total of 29. Because of a lack of space 6 squadrons of Toulouse and Royal Etranger were behind the first line. The second line probably also counted 28 or 29 squadrons. As a kind of reserve 5 dragoon regiments numbering 14 squadrons made up a third line. In the north the French left wing accounted for about 50 squadrons, and it is assumed that these were partly or wholly behind the infantry.
The French deployment around Taviers
There is a lot of controversy about the French position near Taviers and it seems to originate from the map drawn by Hoppach and lots of others based on it. It's often stated that at the beginning of the battle the French lost their positions in Taviers and Franquenée, but in fact there is sufficient proof to conclude that the extreme right of the French deployment was behind the Visoule (see the map), and not in Taviers.
The first indication that points to the tip of the French right wing being behind the Visoule is that I have not seen any primary source which alludes to fighting in Taviers or Franquenée7. The first account of action in the area is from Brigadier Eléonor-Clément de Guillaud Comte de la Motte7b who writes about a bridge he destroyed after passing it and also about French troops trying to take the Dutch in the flank8. Another source is Guiscard, who wrote about the brook (Visoule) joining the Mehaigne 500-600 feet below the castle of Taviers. One can then think that below (au dessous) should mean downstream, but this can also mean below in height, and in that case the distance matches. Going downstream 500 - 600 feet does not lead to any confluence9.
The alliance deployment
The Alliance deployment was just as traditional as the French. It can be assumed that its infantry in the center was ranged on three lines. I do not know whether the four battalion detachment that went in the direction of Taviers was made from this position or was made before the deployment. The right wing consisted of a first line of 33 squadrons and a second line of 21 squadrons. The left wing consisted of a first line of 26 and a second line of 22 squadrons, but these would soon be joined by 21 Danish cavalry squadrons.
First part of the battle
The Alliance now started its attacks. The first of these was made by four battalions (2 Nassau Frisia, 1 Slangenburgh and 1 Salisch supported by cannon) under General Werthmüller, which attacked the French position on the Visoule10. The French command appreciated that De La Motte's lone battalion would not be able to withstand this attack. Therefore the brigade of Nonan (Regiment Provence with 1 battalion and the second battalion of the Bassigny) was sent along the north bank to take the Dutch in the flank. The commander of the left wing also took action and ordered the Dragoons to dismount, cross the Visoule and take position near De La Motte. The Wolfskehl brigade (Kürprinz with 2 battalions and Wolfskehl with 1 battalion) was also sent, but crossed the Visoule further upstream. There seems not to have been any coordination in these French counter-measures, and the results would be disastrous.
Before any of these re-inforcements arrived the Swiss battalion had already suffered close-distance fire from across the Visoule for about twenty minutes. The dragoons which had crossed the Visoule had to defile in order to arrange themselves on the left of the Swiss and meanwhile the flank attack by Nonan's two battalions failed to push the Dutch11. While the dragoons where still in the process of deploying the Dutch shouldered their rifles and passed the Visoule, the water up to their belts12. This induced Nonan's brigade to pass the Visoule too. The Swiss battalion was routed and the still-deploying dragoons were also not able to withstand the attack. These troops fled west and in such circumstances Nonan's battalions could hardly have been able to deploy. The Marquis Duplessey de Nonan got stuck in the Visoule, his troops fled, and he was taken prisoner.
Somewhat further upstream Wolfskehl's brigade was crossing or had just crossed the Visoule when the route of the above three battalions and the dragoons started. De La Motte stated that he directed Wolfskehl's battalions to approach the Visoule in order to fire upon the left flank of the enemy, but this is actually a very clever construction in his letter. This brigade was already on the Visoule, and indeed De La Colonie would later mention that these troops supported the left flank. Wolfskehl, who commanded the brigade, was captured because he tried to cross the Visoule at another place, i.e. downstream. The support of the left flank was given near the end of the battle when scattered remnants of the Maison du Roy sought to save themselves across the Visoule. What actually happened to the Wolfskehl brigade was that most of it took flight when the routed troops fled west. After that some of these troops were regrouped. These fired on the enemy cavalry which had broken through and saved some French cavalry which tried to flee across the Visoule. In his letter to Chamillart De La Motte therefore does not write a straight lie, but tries to convey the false impression that his troops did something to support the right wing. In fact his troops would end up so far west that they only succeeded in saving some of the beaten remnants of the Maison du Roy.
We should therefore turn to the Memoirs of De La Colonie. Even though there are some general doubts about the truthfulness of his writings, he does convey a consistent story in this case: 'My troops had hardly passed (the Visoule), when the dragoons and the Swiss who had preceeded us in the march, fell fleeing upon my battalions, while I was deploying them. They brought such alarm and chaos with them that they fled with them13. De La Colonie soon found himself alone with only a few officers. After some furious attempts to reorganize he succeeded in re-assembling some of his troops behind a height. Judging by the height lines on a more detailed map this was not close to the village. De La Colonie then continues his memoirs as if he was from that moment alone in command of the Bourbon troops on the Visoule. This is not very likely as it supposes that De La Motte was no longer present and that all colonels were absent.
What De La Colonie and De La Motte agree upon was that the remnants of all these units were finally assembled on a height, facing the Dutch infantry. De La Colonie speaks of 4 small battalions formed from his troops and is rather silent about the other troops. De La Motte does not mention De La Colonie, but states that the battalions of Gréder, Provence and Bassigny and the five dragoon regiments each had no more than 100 men left. It's no wonder that these troops did not succeed in supporting the cavalry during the struggle. Unlike De La Motte, De La Colonie also does not even imply that he did, he specifically states that after he saw remnants of the Maison du Roy attempting to reach the Visoule he made his 'battalions' turn left in order to save them.
The fighting in Ramillies
The attack against Ramillies was executed by 12 battalions (Dutch, Danish, Scotch, Swiss and English) who were supported by artillery amongst which 20 24 pounders. Of these 12 battalions only 4 attacked frontally, the others swung to the left in order to attack the artillery that pointed to the plain. After some fighting the alliance troops succeeded in taking the eastern part of the village, but soon a counter attack would dislodge them.
Around Offus the attack by Orkney commenced by troops getting over the Petit Gette while using bridging materiel, they were also joined by cavalry crossing. According to Churchill Orkney had been given orders to take Offus not knowing that it was a feint attack. Anyway the attack was making good headway and soon reached the outskirts of the villages. Villeroy perceived this as a danger to his line and started to redeploy troops to his left wing, an event that La Calonie noted when he marched to Taviers. Near Autre Eglise the English cavalry started to cross the Gette. This lead to a reaction by Grimaldi, who sent the Zuniga brigade and later also the regiment du Roy to defend Autre Eglise. It is not known whether Marlborough had initially planned these attacks as feints, but fact is that they were not seriously pressed.
Second part of the battle
Shortly after Werthmüller had dislodged the French troops on the Visoule the left wing cavalry under Ouwerkerk started its attack. With the numbers being about equal the outcome of the gigantic cavalry struggle hung in the balance for a long time. Marlborough then brought up about 21 squadrons from the right wing, and after some time the Danes on the extreme south of the allied line succeeded in breaking through first. The numeric superiority and the poor performance of the French second line then also enabled the rest of the Alliance cavalry to break through the French cavalry. It's to be noted that in the beginning of this battle Marlborough personally intervened by charging at the head of the States cavalry.
In Ramillies a French counterattack was meanwhile aimed at dislodging the Alliance from Ramillies. This brought most of the infantry of both sides into combat in a struggle for this village and the brook north of it. By the time the French succeeded in capturing the village and controlling the brook, the French right wing had however been beaten. The French now had to think about leaving the battlefield with as little damage as possible.
Third part of the battle
The third phase of the battle saw Marlborough taking his time to redeploy his army on a line from the tomb d'Hottomont to a point just north of Ramillies. Villeroy had redeployed the remnants of his right wing and some 50 squadrons that had not yet seen action to form a new right wing facing south.
Not that surprisingly this new line of cavalry fled when it was charged at about 18:00 by the allied cavalry. This completed the French disaster. The allied cavalry could now charge away at the more or less broken French formations and hundreds of French soldiers were slaughtered or taken prisoner. The ensuing flight saw a more or less orderly retreat of small parts of the French army to Jodoigne and Wavre, and a massive flight of the rest in all directions, with cavalry in pursuit. De La Colonie escaped for a third time by retreating his troops on Namur.
Where there had been a French army of 63,000 men in the field before the battle, its organized remains counted perhaps 15,000 men (Churchill). The numbers of 6,759 dead, 5,328 wounded and 5,729 prisoners on the French side thus reflect only the French losses visible to the allies. This leaves about 30,000 French soldiers unaccounted for. These would include mainly troops having fled. The 15,000 men left did not constitute an army under these circumstances.
Without a French army in the field the civil authorities of the Spanish Netherlands, as well as the military authorities representing the French crown then changed their loyalties. Most notable was the adherence of Brussel and the States of Brabant to Charles III on May 27. The majority of other cities followed soon with the notable exception of Ostende, Antwerp, Dendermonde, Namur and Luxemburg. Antwerpen would change sides on June 6, Ostende capitulated July 4 to Ouwerkerk, Dendermonde capitulated September 6. In short: the results of Ramillies were such that almost all of the Spanish Netherlands with the exception of the territory around Namur and Luxemburg went over to the coalition, and the allies were now able to attack France itself, a success that had never before been achieved in these territories. Another consequence of Ramillies was that Louis XIV weakened his forces on all other fronts in order to rebuild an army in Flanders, a circumstance that would greatly aid Eugen in his attempt to relieve Turin.
Blame and Credit
While it is easy to write something about generalship with regard to Blenheim, this is somewhat more difficult to do with regard to Ramillies. It is obvious that in his deployment Villeroy did a far better job than Tallard did at Blenheim. Villeroy's big mistake was that of not redeploying cavalry to his right wing to counter the reinforcements Marlborough sent against it.
Having pointed to this mistake by Villeroy there are other events of the battle that cannot be that easily blamed on Villeroy. These are the command and control of the army and the quality of the troops. As regards command and control one can point to the counterattack near the Visoule that was badly mismanaged, and also to the fact that the allied cavalry movement to the left flank seems to have been noticed on the French side, but nothing was done with this knowledge. As regards the quality of the troops one should note that the infantry defending Ramillies at first lost the village to the allied infantry without the allies having a clear advantage. The description of the action near Taviers also does not point to first rate troops being present. Finally the second line of cavalry on the right wing also seems to have done quite badly: it failed to properly support the first line. These events do not point to bad generalship, but rather to a bad performance by parts of the army. This seems to have been caused by the fact that lots of units contained personnel that had been pressed into service (men from the Spanish Netherlands) or had been recruited from prisoners of war (Germans). The massive desertion that followed the battle is further proof of this.
Credit for the battle should of course be heaped on Marlborough: he brilliantly executed a plan and controlled its execution. Thanks to the bad performance of the French infantry in Ramillies, Orkney's infantry did not have to redeploy to take Ramillies, but it certainly was part of a plan that would have carried the village had the French done better. Otherwise his plan relied on gaining superiority in Cavalry on the southern wing, and he achieved this, enabling him to overthrow the French cavalry. His control of the battle can be illustrated by him repeatedly sending ADC's and his QMG to order Orkney to abort his attack. His control of the battle and his army's communications outshine those of Villeroy and the French army.
|1) Marlborough to Heinsius 5 March 1706: '.. for in my opinion there is nothing more certaine, then that France have taken their measures to be this campagne on the defensive both in Flandres and Garmany, in order to be better able to act offensively in Italie and Spain. printed in: The correspondence of Churchill and Heinsius nr. 375.|
|2) My conclusion|
|2b) Letter by Louis XIV to Villeroy 6 May 1706 printed by Pelet Vol. 6 page 17 about the project for the siege of Huy.|
|2c) Letter by Villeroy to Louis XIV 8 May 1706 printed by Pelet Vol. 6 page 19 about the project for the siege of Huy.|
|3) Letter by Cronstrom from Huy to Heinsius 21 May 1706. He states that 7-8 battalions from the garrison and some Colognese troops consisting of 2 battalions, 2 cavalry regiments and 2 dragoon regiments have marched on the 19th and will probably have joined the main army on 20 May. Printed H.A. 1706 nr. 454|
|4) Letter by Ouwerkerk to Heinsius 20 May 1706: 'Gisteren even na het affgaen van mijne missive kreeg ik de tijding dat de vijanden de rivier de Dyle passeerde en dat sij haar marsch dirigeerde naar Tienen.' (yesterday after sending my letter I received the news that the enemies had passed the Dijle and was marching on Tienen) He furthermore states that the right wing is camped near Borgloon, that the English have joined on the 20th, that they will rest tomorrow to wait for the Danes and that he expects to march on the enemy on the 22nd and believes it likely that a battle will ensue. Printed H.A. 1706 nr. 453|
|5) Letter of 20 May 1706 by Marlborough to Heinsius from Borgloon: 'The English will joine us this day and I have sent to hasten the Danes. ..When thay come... I think we must then march to the enemy and indeavour to engage them before thay can be joined by the Mareshall de Marsins detachement. Printed in: The correspondence of Churchill and Heinsius nr. 389.|
|6) Staatse Leger VIII/I page 28, which states this to be based on Pelet.|
|6b) La Clef du Cabinet for 1706 second part, page 112 for Marsin's detachment.|
|7) De La Colonie talks about fighting in Taviers, but was not an eye-witness to the initial deployment. He arrived after De La Motte's troops were already fleeing. See also note 10 where Goslinga describes the start of the fight.|
|7b) Often simply styled La Motte. This was Eléonor-Clément de Guillaud Comte de la Motte promoted to Brigadier of Infantry on 10 February 1704 and killed at Ramillies. He is not to be confused with De la Motte-Baracé, who was promoted later in 1704, see Mercure Historique et Politique Juillet 1704 page 562.|
|8) Letter by De La Motte to Chamillart 23 May 1706, printed in 'Het Staatse Leger': 'Je arrivay au confluant de ce ruisseau dans la Mehaigne avec un seul bataillon de Greder Suisse ... en faisant rompre le pont de ce ruisseau que je venois de passer.' Later on he writes that Nonan: 'fust obligé a faire passer le ruisseau a ces deux bataillons pour venir me joindre.'|
|9) Letter by Guiscard to Chamillart 26 June 1706, printed in 'Het Staatse Leger': 'dans l'endroit ou le petit marais au quel nous etions appuiés, entre dans cette riviere cinq ou six cent pas au dessous de chateau de Taviers.|
|10) Goslinga page 20: 'L'attaque la dessus commença: nos gens avec la plus grande bravoure du monde attaquerent les ennemis en front et par le flanc: ils ne tirent, qu'a brule pourpoint; puis avec la bajonette sur le fusil passerent l'eau jusqu'a la ceinture, et chasserent non seulement ceux qui etoient postés dans ce taillis, mais aussi les autres, qui etoient venus pour les soutenir.'|
|11) Letter by de La Mothe to Chamillart|
|12) Goslinga's memoirs|
|13) Mémoires de Monsieur de La Colonie vol. 2 page 76: A peine ma troupe eut elle passé, que les dragons & Les Suisses qui nous avoient précédé dans la marche, vinrent tomber en fuyant sur mes bataillons, dans le tems que je les formois, & y portérent tellement l'alarme & la confusion, qu'ils prirent la fuite avec eux.|
Some Primary Sources for the battle of Ramillies
- Letter by Villeroy to Louis XIV 24 May 1706 (printed in 'Het Staatse Leger')
- Letter by Du Barail (commander of the Regeiment du Roy) to Louis XIV 25 May 1706 (printed in 'Het Staatse Leger')
- Letter by Souternon to Chamillart 27 May 1706 (printed in 'Het Staatse Leger')
- Letter by D'Artaignan (commander of the counterattack on Ramillies) to Chamillart 14 June 1706 (printed in 'Het Staatse Leger')
- Letter by Saint Hilaires to Chamillart 25 May 1706 (printed in 'Het Staatse Leger')
- Letter by De La Motte to Chamillart 26 May 1706 (printed in 'Het Staatse Leger')
- Apologie de Mr. Guiscard au sujet de la Bataille de Ramillies (Printed in La Clef du Cabinet 1706 part 2 page 279)