1762 - French campaign in West Germany – Allied reconquest of Hesse
The general situation at the beginning of the year and the minor operations who took place before the opening of the campaign are described in our article Preliminary operations (March 10 to June 4, 1762).
Ferdinand advances towards Kassel
On June 6, Ferdinand transferred his headquarters from Pyrmont to Corvey. Meanwhile, General Luckner and the Prince Frederick of Brunswick remained on the Weser at Einbeck and Höxter to cover the provinces of Brunswick and Hanover.
During this time, the French army was cantoned on both banks of the Fulda up to Korbach; the Saxon contingent under Prince Xavier, Comte de Lusace occupied Thuringia; French light troops extended up to the province of Halberstadt; and a strong garrison occupied Göttingen. Furthermore, Chevert covered Göttingen with a corps of 18 bns and 28 sqns.
No serious operations took place before mid June. Ferdinand had previously detached a strong corps under the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick to watch the movements of Condé on the Lower Rhine.
On June 18, the Allied cavalry joined the infantry and Ferdinand assembled the entire army and encamped at Brakel, a little to the east of Paderborn.
On June 19, the French Army of the Upper Rhine finally received orders to assemble near Kassel. Artillery horses, which had been sent from France at the end of May, were still on their way. Soubise and d'Estrées wanted to consume the small quantity of forage available in the ruined country between the Fulda and the Diemel to deprive the Allies from these resources. The same day, Ferdinand sent large detachments to the Diemel, Granby's Corps, acting as vanguard, reached Peckelsheim.
By June 20, the French had 20 sqns of hussars and dragoons and 2 regiments of light troops still cantoned on the Edder, the Upper-Lahn, Mulhausen and Fulda. The same day, the French army of the Upper Rhine assembled at Kassel while M. de Clausen advanced to Wilhelmsthal with 8 bns, 4 dragoon rgts, the Volontaires Royaux de Nassau, the Volontaires de Soubise and the Volontaires de l'armée. Still the same day, Ferdinand marched from Brakel towards the Diemel, encamping at Borgholz with the main Allied army while Allied corps encamped at Warburg, Liebenau and Trendelburg and made themselves masters of the main débouchés. Another Allied corps assembled at Dülmen.
On June 21, Ferdinand advanced to the Diemel and took position between Körbecke and the heights of Teichsel with the main Allied army. He established his headquarters at Bühne. 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 Luckner with a small force across the river to keep an eye on him, sending also parties of hussars and light infantry to seize the Castle of Sababurg, some few km to south-east, to secure communications with Luckner, and to occupy the passes leading from the south of the Diemel into Hesse. As planned, Ferdinand's light troops passed the Diemel and occupied the wood of Reinhardswald and the Castle of Sababurg, securing the passages across the river. The garrison of the castle (1 captain, 50 privates) surrendered as prisoners of war. Meanwhile, Prince Frederick reached Trendelburg to support the Allied post at Sababurg; General Waldegrave occupied the heights of Liebenau; and Walmoden's and Zastrow's brigades encamped on the heights of Eberschütz. Granby's corps remained to westward of the main army at Warburg and Granby sent a large detachment (2 British grenadiers bns, 2 Highlanders bns and some light infantry) across the Diemel up to Volksmarsen in a reconnaissance. The same day on the Lower Rhine, the Prince de Condé assembled the French Reserve at Wesel to the exception of the Dragons Chasseurs de Conflans, left between the Lippe and the Rur to cover the Duchy of Bergh. The Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince attacked Scheither Corps (about 450 men) at Schermbeck, driving them back and capturing 50. Meanwhile, the Allies passed the Lippe at Dülmen and encamped behind Horneburg with advanced posts at Recklinghausen. The same day, MM. de Stainville and de Castries, escorted by light troops and dragoons, reconnoitred the area which they planned to occupy with their vanguard beyond Geismar. However, they were driven back by Allied troops. Meanwhile, M. de Grandmaison advanced in the Country of Mansfeld and on the Lower-Saale with 500 horse. Still the same day, on the Upper Rhine, 27 bns, 18 sqns, the Légion Royale and the Volontaires du Hainaut passed the Werra at Witzenhausen under the command of Prince Xavier to cover Witzenhausen and Münden and prevent Allied incursions into Hessen. Prince Xavier was assisted by Lieutenant-general de Vaux and by the Maréchaux de camp Glaubitz, Obenheim, Clausen, Montchenu and Prince de Holstein. Prince Xavier's Corps consisted of:
- Saxon Contingent (15 bns)
- Vaubécourt Infanterie (2 bns)
- Gardes Lorraines (2 bns)
- Reding Infanterie (2 bns)
- Royal Suédois Infanterie (3 bns)
- Royal Deux-Ponts (3 bns)
- Saxon Contingent (4 sqns)
- Royal-Allemand Cavalerie (4 sqns)
- Nassau-Ussingen Cavalerie (2 sqns)
- Autichamp Dragons (4 sqns)
- Languedoc Dragons (4 sqns)
- Légion Royale
- Volontaires du Hainaut
- Valenciennes Militia (1 bn)
- Corps Royal de l'Artillerie (1 division)
Awaiting the arrival of the Volontaires d'Austrasie to garrison Göttingen, Prince Xavier threw 300 horse (cavalry and dragoons) into the town. Furthermore the Grenadiers Royaux d'Argentré, who were continuously maintained at 500 men, were sent to garrison Münden with some dragoons taken from Prince Xavier's Corps.
By June 22, the French Army of the Upper Rhine (82 bns, 68 sqns) had assembled at the foot of the heights in front of Kassel, its cavalry installed in an entrenched camp. The light troops had taken position at Burguffeln between Grebenstein and Calden. The headquarters were at Ehlen. Soubise and d'Estrées then decided to move northward from Kassel, closer to the Diemel. The main army then marched to Grebenstein, encamping in 2 lines with its right behind Grebenstein and its left in front of Kelse (unidentified location). The Reserve of the right wing under M. de Castries advanced towards Carlsdorf, 4 km in front of the right wing, and took position with its right anchored on the wood of Reinhardswald. Meanwhile, the Comte de Stainville's vanguard covered the left of the French army by taking position on the heights of Schachten bordering the stream of Westuffeln. Stainville also detached M. de Schomberg to locate Granby's corps. Finally a Swiss brigade was posted between the left wing and Stainville's positions. Soubise and d'Estrées thought that Ferdinand had moved closer to the Diemel to prevent the passage of French troops. They did not consider the possibility of an Allied attack. They fixed their headquarters at Wilhelmsthal and halted. The positions taken by the French army were very badly chosen: too far from the Diemel to prevent its passage by the Allies; its right flank rested on the large forest of Reinhardswald who could have been rendered absolutely secure by the occupation of the Sababurg, which commanded every road through that forest. Nevertheless, Soubise and d'Estrées allowed 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. Furthemore, they had stationed Castries with the Reserve of the right wing at Carlsdorf, in absolute isolation from their main body. The same day, Granby's detachment recross the Diemel and joined his corps.
Battle of Wilhelmsthal
In the night of June 22 to 23, Luckner, whose corps (6 grenadier bns, 4 dragoon sqns, 8 hussar sqns) was at Sülbeck on the Leine, facing Einbeck to observe Prince Xavier's Corps encamped between the Werra and Göttingen, was recalled and ordered to recross the Weser at Wahmbeck during the night and to march to Gottsbüren, a little to the north of the Castle of Sababurg.
On June 23, on the Lower Rhine, the French Reserve marched to Schermbeck. The same day, on the Upper Rhine, all Allied advanced posts passed the Diemel to cover the construction of bridges over the river. Meanwhile, seeing the bad dispositions of the French camp, Ferdinand saw his opportunity and, though he could bring but 50,000 men against their 70,000, resolved to strike at once. During this time, Luckner had started his march towards Gottsbüren at 6:00 AM. By noon, he had reached Uslar. At 6:00 PM, he passed the Weser at Bodenfelde near Wahmbeck. In the evening, he finally reached Gottsbüren where he encamped. When Ferdinand received confirmation of Luckner safe arrival at 8:00 PM, he ordered the whole army to be under arms at midnight, ready to pass the Diemel in 7 columns by 3:00 AM.
Luckner's corps was just one of those that Ferdinand was preparing to draw around the unsuspecting French. The position of the other corps had already been chosen:
- the first column, consisting of the British cavalry, would pass the Diemel at Liebenau and move south upon Zierenberg to fall upon the French left flank
- the second column, consisting of the British infantry and artillery, would pass the Diemel downstream of Liebenau
- the third column, consisting of the Brunswicker infantry, would pass the Diemel at Hemmern (unidentified location)
- the fourth column, consisting of the Hanoverian heavy artillery, would pass the Diemel at Eberschütz
- the fifth column, consisting of the Hessian infantry followed by 16 sqns of the left wing, would pass the Diemel between Eberschütz and Sielen
- the sixth column, consisting of 12 bns of Hanoverian infantry under Spörcken, would pass the Diemel at Sielen, turn a little to the eastward upon Hümme and, marching from thence southward, would fall upon the right flank and rear of Castries' corps at Hombressen
- the seventh column, consisting of the rest of the cavalry of the left wing, would pass the Diemel downstream of Sielen
The 20th Kingsley's Foot would pass at 2:00 AM near Liebenau and would take position on the heights facing Zwergen to cover the passage of the Allied columns. Lord Cavendish's Chasseurs (unidentified unit) along with Hanoverian jägers, the picquets of the army and Riedesel Hussars would form the vanguard. The passage of the Diemel was planned at 4:00 AM for all 7 columns.
As soon as the British, Hessian and Brunswicker troops would reach the heights near Kelze, they would form with their right at the wood and ravine of Niedermeiser and their left to the Asse River; with the village of Kelze, the ponds and the heights of Langenberg to their front. The cavalry of the fifth column would form in echelon on the left behind the Hessian infantry. Cavendish's Chasseurs and Hanoverian jägers should try to make themselves masters of the heights of Langenberg and of the débouchés of Westuffeln and Calle (maybe Calden).
Meanwhile, Luckner, with 6 bns and 7 sqns, would march south-west from Gottsbüren through the Sababurg to Udenhausen, and form up to the left of Spörcken on Castries' right rear. Furthermore, Colonel Riedesel would push forward from the Sababurg with a body of light troops to Hohenkirch (unidentified location), on the south and left of Luckner.
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.
On June 24, Ferdinand encirclement manoeuvres almost succeeded. He soundly defeated the French in the battle of Wilhelmsthal but their main force managed to escape. The French army took position on the heights of Tannenwalde while Ferdinand encamped with his right at Ahnatal-Weimar and his left at Hohenkirchen. Luckner was at Holzhausen, Lord Granby on the Dörnberg to the right of the Allied army.
French lose Hesse
During the night of June 24 to 25, Soubise and d'Estrées fell back across the Fulda upstream and downstream of Kassel and encamped at Landwehrhagen and Lutterberg. Furthermore, a French division under Stainville occupied the entrenched camp of Kratzenberg in front of Kassel (it would remain in this position till August 17). Ferdinand detached a brigade on the heights of Tannenwalde while Granby was taking position on the heights of Karlsberg (unidentified location) and in the wood of Habichtswald near Kassel. He also sent forward a detachment to clear French troops from the north bank of the Eder. Reacting to these moves, the French evacuated Fritzlar, retired across the Fulda and took post upon its eastern bank. The same day, the Allies returned 1,500 prisoners to the French army and the colonels of the Grenadiers de France and Grenadiers Royaux who had been captured. M. de l'Espinasse had been killed during the action. Still the same day on the Lower Rhine, the Hereditary Prince advanced up to Buer with 4 sqns (detachments of Brunswick Carabiniers, Hessian Gens d'Armes, Bock Dragoons and Jung-Bremer Cavalry) and fell into an ambush drawn in a wood near Recklinghausen by the Dragons Chasseurs de Conflans. The Hereditary Prince was himself captured by 2 French hussars before being delivered by 20 troopers of Bock Dragoons. In this action, the Allies lost 20 men killed and 200 troopers taken prisoners; the French a few men killed and about 15 wounded.
Their defeat at Wilhelmsthal completely ruined the plans of the French commanders. They adopted a defensive stance for the rest of the campaign even though their strong position at Göttingen would have allowed them to take the offensive in this area. For his part, Ferdinand hesitated to exploit his recent success by extending his operations to the Main. Indeed, his communications with his left wing was seriously threatened by the French occupation of Göttingen. He then resolved to closely followed the French army of the Upper Rhine and to take advantage of any of its mistake to attack it. Soubise and d'Estrées, for their part. now relied on the eventual success of the operations of the Prince de Condé against the Hereditary Prince on the Lower Rhine. Meanwhile, they recalled Prince Xavier who joined them at Lutterberg to guard the passage of the Fulda. In his retreat, Prince Xavier lost his baggage, his mobile hospital and medicines which were captured near Volkmarshausen by the Brunswick Jäger Corps under Major Speth. In the evening, the Allies fired a feu de joye to celebrate their victory.
On June 26, the French army of the Upper Rhine reorganised its positions, extending its left towards Dörnhagen and Berghausen (unidentified location) and its right to the heights of Heiligenrode and Lutterberg; with a strong garrison at Münden at the mouth of the Fulda and Werra. M. de Stainville was in the entrenched camp of Kassel with 30 bns, dragoons and light troops; Prince Xavier was at Meensen with 15 bns and 4 sqns; and Soubise and d'Estrées were at Landwerhagen with 25 bns and 16 sqns. Meanwhile, Ferdinand was still at Hohenkirchen with the Main Allied Army. He exchanged the French prisoners taken at Wilhelmsthal. The same day on the Lower Rhine, the Prince de Condé marched to Haltern with the French Reserve and occupied Dülmen with his left vanguard who advanced up to Buldern and engaged 2 bns of the Légion Britannique, forcing them to retire precipitously.
Realising the importance of Chevert's corps, Ferdinand reinforced Luckner at Holzhausen, bringing his forces in this area to12 bns and 24 sqns.
On June 28, Luckner marched on Uslar at the head of 12,000 Allied troops. The British Guards Brigade (II./1st Regiment of Foot Guards, II./2nd Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards and II./3rd Scots Regiment of Foot Guards) moved to Winterkasten (impossible, this is certainly a mistake). Granby remained at Dörnberg and Ferdinand at Wilhelmsthal.
Soubise and d'Estrées detached M. de Rochambeau with 1 infantry brigade and 3 cavalry rgts to oust Cavendish brigade from Fritzlar. As Rochambeau approached, Cavendish retired to Homberg/Efze.
On June 29 on the Lower Rhine, the French Reserve marched to Dülmen. Meanwhile on the Upper Rhine, M. de Chevert took position at Deiderode near Göttingen with 14 bns and 38 sqns.
On June 30, Jean-Chrétien Fischer, the former commander (till April 27 1759) of the Chasseurs de Fischer died from fever.
Until July 1, both armies remained in these positions on the Upper Rhine, Ferdinand trying always to force the French back.
On July 1, M. de Guerchy marched on Melsungen with Du Roi Infanterie (4 bns), 1 dragoon rgt and some light troops and took position on the plateau on the right bank of the Fulda. Allied troops retired from Homberg/Efze in front of Guerchy, repassing the Edder and encamping near Fritzlar. The French army was now extended from Deiderode on its right to Melsungen on its left. Nevertheless, it could still be concentrated at Kassel in less than 30 hours. For their part, the Allies were deployed with their right touching the Edder and their left at Uslar. The same day, informed that a French Corps under M. de Rochambeau had taken position near Homberg/Efze to cover communications with Frankfurt, Ferdinand resolved to dislodge it. He ordered Lord Frederick Cavendish to advance from Lohne to Felsberg with the Chasseurs of the army along with Freytag Jager Corps, Frei Hussars von Bauer and Riedesel Hussars. Ferdinand also instructed Granby to march from Hoof to Fritzlar with the British Grenadier Brigade, 15th Eliot's Light Horse, the Blues and 4 Hanoverian sqns. Eliot's Light Horse attacked the French outposts on the heights 4 km in front of Homberg. Meanwhile, Cavendish's hussars engaged the French who immediately struck their tents and got under arms. The French infantry deployed at the foot of the heights and in the hedges near the town while the French cavalry formed on the plain. To signal the beginning of the attack, Cavendish then discharged 3 guns. The French infantry marched by the left, covered by its cavalry. Granby tried to block their retreat. He sent forward Eliot's Light Horse who caught up with the rearguard. La Ferronnaye Dragons and Chamborant Hussards turned and charged Eliot's Light Horse and captured several prisoners. Colonel Hervey at the head of the Blues timely came to their support and managed to disentangle Eliot's Light Horse. However, Bourbonnais Infanterie contained the Allied cavalry and forced it to retire making some British prisoners. The situation of the two British cavalry regiments was critical until the Allied infantry came to their support. The French then resumed their retreat closely followed by the British Grenadiers and the Highlanders. In this action, Colonel Hervey, Colonel Erskine, Major Forbes, and Major Ainsley distinguished themselves. The Allies lost about 80 men killed, wounded or taken prisoners while the French lost a considerable number of men killed or wounded in addition to more than 250 men taken prisoners. The Allies then returned to Melsungen after detaching Frei Hussars von Bauer and Riedesel Hussars to Rotenburg. These hussars destroyed the French magazines in this town, burning 150,000 rations of hay and 40,000 rations of oats, and bringing back 70 oxen. Still the same day Prince Xavier's Corps encamped at Lutterberg. This forced Ferdinand to act with caution because Prince Xavier might at any time give trouble on the eastern side of the Weser. Chevert's Corps (8,000 men) replaced Prince Xavier's Corps near Dransfeld.
On July 2, seeing that Soubise and d'Estrées did not endeavour any action against him, Ferdinand detached Lord Granby to reinforce Cavendish and to allow him to retake the offensive. Rochambeau, ignoring de Guerchy's approach, was forced to retire to Treysa while Granby established himself at Homberg, sending parties against small French magazines at Rotenburg and Melsungen and capturing them. Probably the same day, M. de Grandmaison at the head of 500 French light horse advanced by Langensalza (present-day Bad Langensalza) and Mühlhausen up to Quedlinburg and Halberstadt, trying to raise a contribution of 75,000 Reichsthalers. The inhabitants raised only 5,000 Reichsthalers and Grandmaison brought back four hostages to guarantee the future contribution. He then hastily retired.
On July 3 on the Lower Rhine, the Prince de Condé, who had progressively advanced from Wesel, reached Coesfeld, to make a diversion on the right flank of the Hereditary Prince, hoping to draw him towards Münster. Upon his arrival at Coesfeld, Condé sent M. de Lévis with 1 infantry brigade and 1 cavalry brigade to occupy Osthellermark. Melfort then advanced up to Rheine on the Ems with the vanguard to destroy Allied depots in these quarters. The forces under the Hereditary Prince were too weak to oppose these enterprises and he left his position at Herbern to encamp at Wolbeck to protect Münster, sending 4 rgts to Hamm and another detachment on the left bank of the Lippe.
On July 4 in the morning, on the Lower Rhine, M. de Melfort and his vanguard bumped into Scheither's Corps at Leer (unidentified location) and took 100 men and 3 officers prisoners, including M. de Scheither. Chapt Dragons and the Volontaires du Dauphiné distinguished themselves in this action. Meanwhile M. de Viomesnil advanced down the Ems and destroyed large Allied magazines between Rheine and Leer. The same say on the Upper Rhine, Rochambeau marched again on Homberg/Efze and the Allies retired to Fritzlar.
On July 6, the Allied troops who had attacked Rochambeau decamped from Fritzlar and retired on Kirchberg. Rochambeau (4 bns, 18 sqns) then returned to Homberg/Efze and sent a large detachment under M. de Caulincourt on Wildungen (present-day Bad Wildungen). The French were now masters of the country on the right bank of the Eder and of the valley of the Schwalm, reestablishing communications between their armies. Meanwhile, a detachment of the Army of the Upper Rhine passed the Weser and advanced up to Einbeck. The same day, Ferdinand was still encamped between Holtzhausen am Hahn and Ahnatal-Weimar. There were also Allied detachments on the Eder and at Uslar while the British Guards Brigade (3 bns), the 1st (The King's) Regiment of Dragoon Guards and the 2nd (The Queen's) Regiment of Dragoon Guards were posted near Hoof. General Luckner captured the Chasseurs de Monet at Scharffhoff (unidentified location) close to the walls of Kassel.
Meanwhile, on the Lower Rhine, the Prince de Condé sent a detachment towards the Lower Emse and Hase. This detachment destroyed several large Allied magazines in East Frisia and raised large contributions in the countries of Lingen and Tecklenburg. A Hanoverian party posted at Lengerich prevented a similar raid on the Allied magazines of Osnabrück. The French detachment then returned to Dillenburg.
On July ??, Rochambeau encamped at Wabern.
On July 8, M. de Guerchy was reinforced with 2 infantry brigades and 2 cavalry brigades. Meanwhile Chamborant Hussards along with some dragoons left Treysa to manoeuvre on the rear of the Allies.
On July 9, M. de Vaux left Göttingen with a strong detachment to drive the Allies out of their camp at Uslar and beyond the Weser.
On July 10 at daybreak, after a march of more than 120 km, Chamborant Hussards and the accompanying dragoons arrived at Warburg and attacked the bakery of the British contingent, capturing a convoy of ammunition, 1 commissary, 80 men and 200 horses. Meanwhile, an Allied detachment under Roedesel launched a surprise attack on a French outpost near Marburg and captured M. de Nordman with 80 of his hussars. The same day, M. de Vaux marched from Göttingen towards Uslar where the Volontaires de Flandre, Volontaires du Hainaut and Volontaires d'Austrasie chased the few Allied troops occupying the town before attacking the woods where they took more than 500 prisoners, including a lieutenant-colonel. However, Luckner's Corps, marching from Dassel, rapidly came to the support of the Allies and M. de Vaux retired to Göttingen. Still the same day, when informed of the Allied raid on Marburg, Soubise and d'Estrées reinforced M. de Guerchy with another 2 infantry brigades and 1 dragoon rgt.
On July 11, M. de Guerchy (12 bns, 12 dragoon sqns) decamped, passed the Fulda and encamped between Heslar (near Malsfeld) and Empfershausen. The same day, General Conway captured the Castle of Waldeck near Fritzlar after a bombardment of two days. The French garrison (4 officers and 160 men) was free to leave the castle on the conditon of not serving against the Allies during one year. Still the same day, on the Lower Rhine, The same day, the Prince de Condé sent a force (10 bns, 6 sqns, and all the chasseurs and grenadiers of his army) under Lieutenant-general d'Auvet to seize Münster by surprise. The project was abandoned when d'Auvet realised that the garrison was on its guard.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of the French Army of the Upper Rhine on July 12 1762.|
By July 12, the French army of the Upper Rhine was deployed between the Werra and the Fulda from Deiderode to Melsungen.
On July 13, General Caesar's Corps, posted at Hoof marched to Gudensberg where it effected a junction with Granby's Corps. Granby established his headquarters at Niedervorschütz. Meanwhile, Luckner's Corps (15th Eliot's Light Horse, 1 rgt of Hanoverian dragoons, jägers, and some hussars) marched from Wildungen (present-day Bad Wildungen) to attack a French outpost near Felsberg. However, the French force occupying this post was stronger than anticipated and Luckner stopped at Homberg/Efze.
In the night of July 13 to 14, Granby's Corps (25,000 men), positioned at Niedermöllrich, advanced on the Eder near the mouth of the Schwalm.
On July 14 at daybreak, Granby's Corps advanced on Felsberg, chased the French from their outpost, reached the Eder, deployed along its bank, seize a bridge and cannonaded the French. He then sent part of his corps across the Eder to take position on the heights of Hesfsrode, at a cannonshot from Guerchy's positions. The Allies then extended their right towards the French camp of Heslar and tested the French defence by attacking the French right at Neuenbrunslar, occupied only by the Volontaires de Saint-Victor and a few hussars. These French troops retired on the Eder. Meanwhile, Guerchy sent the battalion of grenadiers and chasseurs of Chatellux Infanterie to force the Allies to retire behind the river. Granby finally encamped at Felsberg. Meanwhile, Luckner's Corps had marched from Homberg/Efze to Falkenberg to turn Guerchy's left but was forced to retire on Homberg/Efze again. At 6:00 PM, Guerchy finally retired towards Melsungen and reoccupied his old camp on the right bank of the Fulda.
In the night of July 14 to 15, Soubise and d'Estrées sent 4 infantry brigades (Picardie, Auvergne, Lyonnais and Boccard) under M. de Roth to reinforce Guerchy at Melsungen.
On July 15 at 9:00 AM, Guerchy advanced in 3 columns to reoccupy his positions at Heslar. The vanguard of his left column drove the Hanoverian Jägers out of the woods. Simultaneously, Ferdinand marched to Hoof with the Allied Main Army. He also ordered attacks to be launched on all French outposts along the Fulda as far as Melsungen. Granby, leaving his tents standing, advanced to the Eder. At 3:00 PM, while Guerchy was establishing his camp, the Allies marched from the height of Hesserode, moved along the woods of Hesserode, then formed into 2 columns and marched swiftly against the French extreme left wing defended by M. de Besenval with 1 infantry brigade, 1 dragoon rgt and the Volontaires de Soubise. Besenval repulsed the Allies and forces them to retire precipitously. Meanwhile, another Allied column (the British Grenadiers, the Highlanders and the 1st (The King's) Regiment of Dragoon Guards) had passed the Eder at the ford of Altenburg to support the 2 first columns; and the forces at Niedermöllrich had taken positions on the banks of the Eder, ready to pass it. Meanwhile, Freytag at the head of hussars and jägers crossed the bridge at Felsberg. Nevertheless, all these preparations were interrupted after the failure of the 2 columns who had attacked Besenval, the French positions being considered too strong to be attacked. Granby retired to his camp and Luckner to Uttershausen. At night, fearing a general attack on their left wing, the French struck their tents. The same day, Soubise sent orders to M. de Vaux to abandon Göttingen after breaching the walls. This order was executed in the the afternoon. On the Lower Rhine, the Prince de Condé was still at Coesfeld.
The other phases of the campaign are described in the following articles:
- French manoeuvres to make a junction of their two armies (July 16 to August 31, 1762) describing the manoeuvres of the Army of the Upper Rhine and those of the Reserve arriving from the Lower Rhine till their junction after the combat of Nauheim.
- French attempts to relieve Kassel (September 1 to November 2, 1762) describing the French manoeuvres to turn Allied lines and relieve Kassel, including the combat of Amöneburg.
- French evacuation of Germany (November 3 to December 31, 1762) describing events during the peace negotiations in Fontainebleau.
This article is essentially a compilation of texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Fortescue, J. W.; A History of the British Army Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899, pp. 547-557
- Hotham (probably), The operations of the Allied Amy under the command of his Serene Highness Prince Ferdinand Duke of Brunswic and Luneberg beginning in the year 1757 and ending in the year 1762, London: T. Jefferies, 1764, pp. 246-258
- Jomini, Henri; Traité des grandes opérations militaires, 2ème édition, 4ème partie, Magimel, Paris: 1811, pp. 160-187
- Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. V, Paris, 1891, pp. 306-466