Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/627

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army and level in the race with Villars and the cavalry, the red- coats crossed the rivers at Arleux, while Marlborough and the horse hurried on to Aubanchoeil-au-Bac, crossed there and turned back along the Sensee to meet the French squadrons. The army reassembled between Aubanchoeil-au-Bac and Cambrai, and its leader, declining Villars's offer of a battle in front of Cam- brai, manoeuvred still farther to the east and invested Bouchain. The siege, covered by a strong " line of circumvallation " which Villars did not attempt to attack, ended with the surrender of the place on the 13th of September, and so terminated a series of manoeuvres which to the modern mind is so extraordinary as to be almost incredible. In December of this year, his party opponents in England being now triumphant, the man who was so consummate a master both of the 18th-century and the Ramillies-Oudenarde methods of making war was dismissed the service in disgrace. In June 1712 the British contingent, under the duke of Ormonde, withdrew from the Low Countries, the dis- content of the men at Marlborough's disgrace breaking out in open mutiny, and thus ignominiously ended the career of the army of Blenheim and Malplaquet. The coalition practically dissolved.

But Holland and Austria determined to make one last effort to impose their own terms on Louis. Eugene's army, which had been used in 1711 to influence the imperial election instead of to beat Villars, was brought back to the Low Countries. Reading the meaning of Marlborough's fall, he quietly made preparations to take over the various allied contingents into Imperial or Dutch pay. Thus when England seceded, Ormonde only marched away with some 1 2,000 sullen men, and over 100,000 remained with the prince.

Misfortunes at Versailles helped Eugene in his first operations, for three members of Louis's family died within a week and all was in confusion, not to speak of the terrible misery that prevailed in the country. But the old king's courage rose with the danger and- he told Villars that if the army were beaten he would himself join it and share in its fate. Villars, though suffering still from his Malplaquet wound, took command on the 20th of April, and spun out time on the defensive until the end of May, when Ormonde's contingent withdrew. Eugene, apparently with the intention of regaining the Mons line of operations, as the defec- tion of England had made further operations near the sea unprofitable, neglected to besiege, not only Arras, but Valen- ciennes and Conde as well, and, based temporarily on Douai and Marchiennes and Bouchain he took Le Quesnoy (July 4) and moved thence on to Landrecies, which was closely invested. Then followed the last serious fight of the war, the battle of Denain, which saved the French monarch and completed the disintegration of the coalition.

In order to protect his camps around Landrecies, Prince Eugene constructed the usual lines of circumvallation with such speed that Villars, on coming up, found that they were too formidable to attack. Next, in order to guard the movements of his convoys between Marchiennes-on-Scarpe and the front against attacks from Cambrai or Valenciennes, he hedged in the route on both sides with continuous lines of breastworks, to the defence of which he assigned his Dutch corps. Villars anxiously looked out for an opportunity of breaking these modern " long walls." At Denain, the besiegers' route crossed the Scheldt. From this point to the front, streams and other obstacles reinforced the defence, but the marshal was told by a country priest that the lines were assailable north of Denain, and resolved to attack them there. The enterprise, like Marlborough's forcing of the Ne plus ultra lines, involved an extraordinary combination of resolution and skill — i.e. force and fraud— for the point of attack was far away and the opposing army almost within cannon-shot. Some days were spent by Villars in deceiving Eugene and his own army as well, as to his real intentions, and by various feints Eugene was induced to mass his main body about Landrecies and Le Quesnoy on the south side of the Scheldt. Then on the night of the 23rd of July the French army moved off silently, with its bridging train in the vanguard and cavalry posted everywhere along its


right flank to conceal the march. By 9 a.m. on the 24th Villars's army had completely deployed on the north bank of the Scheldt. Eugene himself saw them and galloped away to bring up his army from Landrecies. But, long before it arrived, Villars's troops, without wasting precious moments in formal preparations, stormed the lines. The Dutch — spiritless since Malplaquet — were huddled into the narrow avenue between the two entrenchments and forced back on Denain. Their generals were taken. The broken mob of fugitives proved too heavy a load for the bridges at Denain, and many were drowned, while the rest, pinned against the bank of the now impassable river, tamely surrendered. Eugene arrived on the other bank with some brigades of the imperial infantry, but after losing heavily gave up the attempt to reopen the passage. Villars followed up his victory at once. Montesquiou captured Marchiennes and Albergotti St. Amand, and in these places all Eugene's reserve stores, pontoons and guns fell into the hands of the French. On the 2nd of August Eugene broke up the siege of Landrecies and retreated by a roundabout route to Mons, while Villars's lieutenants retook Douai and Bouchain (September-October). Before the next campaign opened the treaty of Utrecht had been signed, and although the emperor continued the struggle alone for another year, the enfeebled combatants were content to accept Villars's captures of Landau (July 22, 1713) and Freiburg (Nov. 21) as decisive. The treaty of Rastatt, between Austria and France, was signed on the 7th of March 1 7 14, Eugene and Villars being the negotiators.

See J. W. Fortescue, 'Hist. British Army, vol. i. (London, r8o9) ; lives of Marlborough; the Austrian official Feldziige des Prinzen Eugen (Vienna, 1871-1892); Roder v. Diersburg's MarkgrafLudwig von Baden (Karlsruhe, 1850); Arneth's Prinz Eugen; Mimoires militaires relates d la succession d'Espagne (1835; ed. De Vault); detailed histories of the French army, and monographs in the French general staff's Revue d'histoire. (C. F. A.)

Naval Operations, and Military Operations in Spain , ;

The war of the Spanish succession affected all the nations of western, northern and central Europe in a greater or less degree, but that part of it which was fought out on the soil of Spain lay aside from the campaigns in Flanders, Germany and Italy. The purely Spanish campaigns had a close connexion with the movements of the fleets, and the two may be corivenientlv taken together. The naval war was superficially somewhat wanting in interest. Louis XIV., having to support armies of unprece- dented size to contend with the forces of the Grand Alliance, and having also to meet the immense cost of the support of his court and the construction of palaces, was compelled to neglect his navy. Except therefore in 1704 he made no attempt to oppose the fleets of the allies with equal forces at sea. The honour of the French flag was chiefly maintained by the priva- teers who showed high courage and much skill. Some of their enterprises were undertaken with well-appointed squadrons, and attained to the dignity of regular operations of war.

When the Grand Alliance was formed on the 7th of September 1701 a French naval force under M. de Chateaurenault was 1 in the West Indies. Its avowed purpose was to cover the arrival in Europe of the Spanish treasure ships. The secret intention of King Louis XIV. was that the treasure should be brought into a French port, and used by him for the general advantage of the house of Bourbon. On the 12th of September a British squadron of 10 ships commanded by Admiral Benbow was sent to the West Indies to intercept Chateaurenault, and carry out other attacks on the French and Spaniards. Benbow, who • was reinforced in the West Indies, did not intercept Chateaurenault, and his cruise was rendered of no effect by the gross misconduct of most of his captains, who refused to support him in an action with a French squadron under M. Du Casse near St Martha on the 20th of August 1702 and subsequent days, He was himself mortally wounded, but lived long enough to bring his captains to court martial. Two of them were shot for cowardice. The treasure fleet sailed for Europe only to fall into the hands of the allies at Vigo. On the 1st of July 1702 a powerful combined fleet of 30 British sail-of-the-line under Sir George Rooke, and