Johan Wijnand van Goor

? - 1704


Van Goor was not a very high-ranking Dutch officer. He is known for commanding the Dutch troops sent to help the Louis of Baden on the Rhine in 1703. He was probably Marlborough's closest confidant on his march to the Danube. After some study of his previous career this comes as no surprise.

Van Goor during the Nine Years War

In the beginning of 1689 we see Van Goor as Quarter Master General in the siege of Kaiserswerth that surrendered on 26 June1. In July 1689 Van Goor was Quarter Master General in Waldeck's army. Because this was the army that shortly after fought at Walcourt we can assume that Van Goor was present at Walcourt and that he knew Marlborough from this episode2. In 1690 Lieutenant Colonel Van Goor commanded the artillery at the battle of the Boyne3. In 1691 he went to Flanders with the English Army as colonel of Artillery4. In 1694 he was Colonel of the train of the English Artillery.

Van Goor during the Spanish Succession War

In the Netherlands

Van Goor's first command in 1702 was at Maastricht were he commanded the powerful fortress and large garrison. Unlike some other generals who were constantly afraid of getting caught outnumbered Van Goor signaled himself by taking vigorous action. Examples of this are his expedition to Liège, the affair at the chateau de Horion and his failed attempt to surprise Huy, dubbed Cremona in miniature.

On the Upper Rhine

In January 1703 a conference was held in Wesel about sending assistance to the Empire. On 8 February the United Provinces then decided to send an expeditionary force to the Moselle. On 24 February an instruction was made for Van Goor to march with 15 battalions and so Van Goor marched on 1 March 1703. His detachment consisted of: The regiments Wilkes, Van Goor, Beinheim (all Dutch) and Sturler (UP Switsers); Heidebreck (Franconian); Seckendorf (Anspach); Schwerin (Mecklenburg); Barbo, Nassau Weilburg; Bentheim (Pfalz); Schlabendorf and Varenne (Prussian); Prince William, Du Mont and Schepping (Hessian). As cavalry it had the Bothmar's Luneburg Dragoons. With them he marched to the lines of Weissenburg on the Lauter.

Van Goor would come to face his first challenge when Villars crossed the Rhine on 13 April. Villars intended to break the Lines of Stollhofen, and therefore Louis of Baden commanded Van Goor to cross the Rhine in order to defend those lines. Van Goor was then destined to defend the left part of the lines. Villars ordered Blainville to cross this part of the lines, but he soon reported this assignment not to be feasible. Villars next performed an attempt against the village of Vimbuch, but Van Goor sent the regiment of Heidebreck in time to prevent this. On 24 April 1703 another attempt was made against Vimbuch, but this failed too and so the whole French army retired in the night of the 25th. Van Goor and his troops therefore received the compliments of Louis von Baden for stopping Villars. Villars crossed into Bavaria anyway by using the Kinzig Valley.

In a situation where Villars had moved to the Danube Louis von Baden asked Van Goor to come to the Danube. On 30 July 1703 Van Goor received permission to march to Louis von Baden with 15 battalions. Next day Van Goor left the Lines of Stollhofen with 8 battalions and marched east, reaching Haunsheim (near Höchstädt) on 17 August. On 25 August most of Van Goor's detachment was united near Westerstetten. Under Louis von Baden it next marched to Augsburg, which opened its gates. Meanwhile Styrum was defeated at the first battle of Höchstädt, and though not defeated the army spent its time in useless maneuvering. Van Goor's dissatisfaction came to a peak when he was ordered to have his depleted troops dig at the upper Iller. Van Goor refused to execute the order and Louis von Baden ordered to arrest him. The States General however intervened and so Van Goor was set free. From this time also dates Van Goor's letter to the Dutch ambassador in Vienna in which he accused Louis von Baden5. In the end of 1703 one spoke about recalling Van Goor from the Danube, but it is also said that Heinsius already knew of the plan to send an Alliance army to the Danube and therefore prevented it.


In the Danube campaign 12 of Van Goor's battalions were with Von Baden at the start of the campaign while three others had joined Marlborough on his way south. Van Goor had also joined Marlborough on his march and quickly came into his confidence. On 24 June the 12 battalions were transferred to Marlborough's army and so the Anglo Dutch army was formed. In the subsequent attack on the Schellenberg on 2 July 1704 Van Goor got the command of the Infantry that performed the first attack. He commanded the infantry from his horse and was killed by a shot through his eye almost instantly. His tomb is in the church of Nördlingen.

Generalship of Van Goor

There is little doubt about Van Goor's capacities as a general. His role at Maastricht in 1702 is described in the Kaiserswerth chapter and on the Upper Rhine he also performed very well. For his behavior on the Schellenberg see the 'Relatie van d'Attaque op den Schellenberg6.' even though it also holds some criticism. But, the best testimony about Van Goor comes from Eugen: 'Le Général Goor qui a été tué a cette affaire, était une espèce d'homme qui régloit sa (i.e. Marlborough's!) conduite, et c'est une grande perte dans cette conjoncture, étant un homme de beaucoup de bravour, de capacité et qui, selon ce qu'on dit, est cause qu'on a attaqué'ce soir, étant très sur, que si l'on attendait au lendemain, comme la plus part voulait, l'on aurait perdu la moité de l'infanterie sans réussir. Je m'apercus de la mort de cet homme, voyant Mylord, selon les nouvelles que j'ai, assez incertain dans ses résolution.7'


Service Record


1) For this see: Het Staatsche Leger VII page 430. There is also a map that mentions him at the digital archive of Marburg under WHK 11/25
2) For this see: Het Staatsche Leger VII page 15
3) For this see: Het Staatsche Leger VII page 422
4) For this see: Het Staatsche Leger VII page 428
5) For this see: Het Staatsche Leger VIII/1 page 381
6) Printed by Het Staatsche Leger VIII/1 page 745
7) For this see: Het Staatsche Leger VIII/1 page 446