Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/624

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603
SPANISH SUCCESSION, WAR OF THE


so far successful' that the duke implored the emperor to send a j fresh army. Eugene commanded this army, opposed to which was a force under Vend6me's brother Philippe, called the Grand Prior. This man, a lazy dilettante, let himself be surprised by Eugene's fierce attack on the line of the Adda. The day was restored however, and the Austrians beaten off, thanks to Ven- dome's opportune arrival and dauntless courage (battle of Cas- sano, August 16). Nevertheless, the subjugation of Piedmont was put off until next year, by Louis's orders.

1706 was a bad year for the French. At the very outset of the campaign in the Netherlands, Villeroy, hearing that some of the allied contingents that composed Marlborough's army had refused to join, went forward from his new defensive lines along the Dyle and offered battle. Marlborough would probably have fought in any case, but being joined in time by the belated allied contingents, he was able (May 1 2) not only to win but also to profit by the glorious victory of Ramillies (g.v.) on the 12th of May. This was one of the few cases of thoroughly efficient and successful pursuit in the military history of the 17th and 18th centuries. The whole of Flanders and Brabant, except a few minor fortresses, fell into his hands within two weeks. These too fell one after the other in August and September, and the British cavalry crossed the French frontier itself. But on the Rhine the inactivity of Louis of Baden had allowed Villars to transfer the bulk of his army to the Netherlands. Vendome, too, was sent to suc- ceed Villeroy, and Marlborough made no further advance. Louis's two most brilliant commanders devoted themselves to organizing the defence of the French frontier, and did not venture to interrupt Marlborough's sieges.

In Italy the campaign had, as before, two branches, the con- test for Piedmont and the contest between the French force-s- in Lombardy and the Austrian second army that sought to join Victor Amadeus and Starhemberg. The latter, repulsed by


Ramillies 1706.


Vend6me at Cassano, had retired to Brescia and Lake Garda, Vend6me following up and wintering about Castiglione and Mantua, and in April 1706, profiting by Eugene's temporary absence, Vend6me attacked the Imperialists' camp of Monte- chiaro-Calcinato. His intention was by a night march to surprise the post of Ponte San Marco on their extreme left, but when day came he noticed that he could give battle to the enemy's left wing at Calcinato before their right from calcinato. Montechiaro could intervene. His onset broke up the defence completely (battle of Calcinato, April 19), and he hustled the fragments of the Imperialist army back into the mountains, where Eugene had the greatest difficulty in rallying them. Until the middle of June Vendome completely baffled all attempts of Eugene to slip past him into Piedmont. He was then, however, recalled to supersede Villeroy in Belgium, and his feeble successors entirely failed to rise to the occasion. Philip of Orleans, with Marsin and the due de la Feuillade as his advisers, was besieging Turin, trying in vain to remedy the errors of the engineers and the constant repulse of small storming parties by a savage bombardment of the town itself. As soon as he knew of Vendome's departure Prince Eugene emerged afresh from the mountains, and, outmanceuvring the French in Lombardy without the least difficulty, hurried towards Turin. Victor Amadeus, leaving the defence to the Austrian and Pied- montese infantry, escaped through the besiegers' lines and joined his cousin with a large force of cavalry. On the 7 th of September they attacked the French lines Turin. round Turin. Owing to the disagreements of their generals, the various corps of the defenders, though superior in total numbers, were beaten in detail by the well-concerted attacks of Eugene, Victor Amadeus and the Turin garrison. Marsin was killed, many of the boldest officers in the army lost heart, and Philip retreated ignominiously to Pinerolo. Although in the same week Lieut. -General Medavy-Grancey inflicted a severe defeat on