1760 - French campaign in Western Germany – Allied offensive on the Lower Rhine

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The campaign lasted from May to December 1760. This article describes the fourth phase of the campaign from September 22 to October 22, 1760.

Introduction

The general situation at the beginning of the year, the last operations before taking winter-quarters and the sporadic operations while in winter-quarters are described in our article 1760 - French campaign in western Germany – Winter operations (January 1 to April 28, 1760).

The French manoeuvres to make a junction of their two armies and the Combat of Korbach are described in our article 1760 - French campaign in western Germany – Campaign till the Combat of Korbach (April 29 to July 10, 1760).

The French offensive in Hesse and the Battle of Warburg are described in our article 1760 - French campaign in western Germany – French offensive in Hesse (July 11 to September 21, 1760).

Allied siege of Wesel

Order of Battle
Detailed order of battle of the Allied Corps under the Hereditary Prince from September 21 to October 11, 1760

On September 22

  • Allies
    • Wangenheim’s Corps then retreated to its former positions near Uslar..
    • Ferdinand of Brunswick resolved to make a diversion, in the hope that it would force the French to retreat. Since August, he was considering an offensive on the Lower Rhine. Preparations for this enterprise had been made in September. He was targeting the Fortress of Wesel.
    • At the time, there were no artillerymen or engineers in Wesel and the garrison supposedly consisted of only 1,500 men. If Ferdinand managed to suddenly appear before the place, he could hope to recapture the old Prussian fortress without much effort. Then he planned to advance on Cologne and from there against Broglie's rear to force the French to retire from Hesse. Ferdinand was confident that Broglie would not dare to attack the part of the Allied army remaining on the Diemel nor invade Hanover.

On September 23

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand sent 22 bns and 20 sqns with the Hessian artillery park and part of the light troops from the Diemel towards Wesel. They were closely followed by 12 24-pdr guns and 10 mortars. A siege train, sent from Nienburg and Hameln, would follow a few days' march behind.
    • An engagement took place near Nörten between Luckner's Corps and a detachment of French cavalry. The Allied made prisoners a lieutenant-colonel and 107 men.

On September 24

  • Allies
    • Major bon Bülow died of fever in Satdtberg and Captain von Wintzingerode, adjutant of Duke Ferdinand, assumed command of the Volunteers bn and of the Légion Britannique.
  • French
    • When Broglie was informed of the manoeuvres, Broglie detached some cavalry to the Lower Rhine. Since a moment, Planta and Lochmann brigades had been detached to Düsseldorf and Cologne.
    • Louis XV had resolved to send 20 fresh battalions to secure the Lower Rhine.

On September 25

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand recalled Granby’s Reserve Corps from Geismar. to Warburg. It recrossed the Diemel and took position between the town and the Desen-Berg.
    • Lieutenant-General Kielmansegg replaced the Hereditary Prince at the head of his former corps and took position on the heights between Oossendorf and Warburg.
    • Lieutenant-General von Gilsa retired from Beberbeck to Trendelburg.
    • Waldegrave, Elliot and Howard were posted near Scherfede and were placed, as Kielmansegg’s Corps under the command of General von Spörcken.
    • Ferdinand himself took quarters in Übelngönne.
    • The bns of Stockhausen and Trümbach along with the Hessian Jägers were still posted near Gottsbüren and Sababurg in the Reinhards Forest, south of the Diemel.
    • Luckner's Corps advanced on Northeim.
Map of the campaign - Copyright: Kronoskaf

On September 26

  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince of Brunswick personally arrived from Warburg at Hamm, where he assumed command of the corps (15,000 men) destined for the capture of Wesel. He had been instructed to storm the fortress and, if possible, to avoid a long siege. Considering the weakness of the garrison, which apparently could not expect any immediate support, the Allies hoped for a quick success. However, according to reports, the Chasseurs de Cambefort were not far north of Wesel in the Bocholt area, while the garrison of Kleve was close at hand. But both forces were quite weak and could easily be driven or kept away.
    • The Count zu Schaumburg-Lippe was to conduct the siege of Wesel and the prince to cover it.
    • Ferdinand gave instructions to send a detachment from Münster to reinforce the corps of the Hereditary Prince. Since the assault on Wesel was planned from both banks of the Rhine, Ferdinand assigned a detachment of pontonniers with some bridging equipment to this corps. The ships required to build the bridge were to be collected in Ruhrort and Rees, and all other necessary equipment was to be purchased in good time in the Dutch Republic.
  • French
    • The Right Reserve reached Esebeck.
    • Broglie sent the Lieutenant-General Marquis de Castries to Cologne on the Lower Rhine, with the Chasseurs de Fischer and a few garrisons, to assume command of the reinforcements (20 bns) which were expected from France.

On September 27, M. de Chabo was sent behind Welda with light troops. He attacked Allied advanced posts but was soon repulsed.

On September 28

  • French
    • The Duc de Fronsac reached the Twiste.
    • Rumours about the march of an Allied corps against the Lower Rhine were confirmed. La Couronne Infanterie, stationed at Frankfurt since the Battle of Warburg, was sent to Cologne.

On September 29

  • Allies
    • The main body of the corps of the Hereditary Prince reached Dorsten.
  • French
    • M. de Castella, commanding at Wesel, reported that Allied troops at Dülmen and Coesfeld were marching on Borken, sending a detachment to Isselburg and continuing towards Dorsten. Castella thereupon broke down the bridge which connected Wesel with the western bank of the Rhine.
    • Castries had reached Koblenz where he took measures to garrison the citadel.
    • Broglie sent Belzunce Infanterie (4 bns) and Du Roy Cavalry Brigade to reinforce Prince Xavier's Right Reserve. Furthermore, the Gardes Brigade was sent on the right bank of the Fulda and Durfort went to Krumbach (unidentified location).

On September 30

  • Allies
    • Hardenberg’s and Breidenbach’s divisions appeared before the Fortress of Wesel without having encountered the enemy.
    • The Hereditary Prince deployed his corps across the three sections formed by the Rhine on its right bank, the IJssel Canal, and the Lippe to completely close access to the fortress from the right bank bank, Since relief attempts were only likely from the south, he established advanced defences against Duisburg and Essen.
    • Although the Allies had surprised the place and come close enough to the fortifications to be able to launch an attack with a chance of success, they preferred to set up camps in each individual section of the front. As a result, the garrison had time to recover from the initial shock and occupied the ramparts, so that the Hardenberg’s Division was fired upon from the fortress while it was still setting up its tents.
    • Jeanneret’s light troops captured a detachment of the Chasseurs de Fischer near Ruhrort.
  • French
    • The French troops occupying redoubts along the Rhine abandoned their posts, leaving their artillery behind and neglecting to destroy their boats.
    • Castries marched from Koblenz to Bonn.
    • Fearing for lines of communications with Hesse and the Main River, Broglie sent a detachment to Hachenburg in the Westerwald.
    • Broglie still remained uncertain about the precise destination of the Allied corps sent towards the Lower Rhine.

Between September 30 and October 14, the French main army and its left reserve would gradually detach a total of 36 bns and 42 sqns to the Lower Rhine.

In the night of September 30 to October 1

  • Allies
    • Captain von Wintzingerode crossed the Rhine near Duisburg with his volunteer bn and attacked and drove back a detachment of 100 men belonging to the Chasseurs de Cambefort, who were posted in Rheinberg.
    • Wintzingerode then continued his march towards Wesel, but he arrived too late for a surprise attack. So that he could only occupy Büderich.
    • The detachment sent from Münster under Colonel von Ditfurth reached the Rhine at Rees but could not cross the river because the French had moved all boats to the left bank. Finally Ditfurth located a single boat and set it up to ferry his troops.
  • French
    • The rest of the Chasseurs de Cambefort joined the garrison of Wesel.
    • The commander of the Fortress of Wesel recalled the garrison of the bridgehead and of the adjoining redoubt; and pulled up the drawbridge.

On October 1

  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince made no attempt to storm the fortress and began preparations for a formal siege.
    • The supervision of the siege of Wesel was confided to the Count zu Schaumburg-Lippe. He first concentrated his efforts in the strengthening of the circumvallation lines. With the help of the peasants from the vicinity of Wesel, he also dammed the Ijssel-Canal, thus preventing the defenders from flooding the area in front of the eastern front of the siege. He also intended to establish bridges on the Lippe and the Rhine to facilitate communications between the various sectors occupied by the besiegers. However, the 20 pontoons, which had accompanied the Allied corps, could not even span the Lippe River in one place. Trestles had to be built, which required a lot of time.
    • In the morning, the Maydel Battalion (unidentified unit) with 100 horse crossed the Rhine and immediately marched by way of Kalkar towards Kleve to isolate its garrison (24 officers and 251 men of the Nancy Militia with 1 officer and 16 artillerymen all under M. Barral). When Maydel arrived at Kleve, the French garrison had already retired in the fortified castle. Colonel Ditfurth was charged with the reduction of the castle.
    • Ferdinand sent a British division (8 bns, 2 cavalry rgts) under General Waldegrave to Dahlheim to secure his right flank against Broglie’s enterprises. This division consisted of the 20th Kingsley's Foot, 25th Edinburgh Regiment of Foot (aka Home's Foot), 2 British grenadier bns, 2 Highlanders bns, 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, 1 Hessian infantry regiment and 1 Hessian cavalry regiment.
  • French
    • The fortifications of Wesel had been destroyed when King Frederick of Prussia decided to evacuate the fortress in 1757. However, since that time, the French had erected new fortifications and the place was now considered as a first class fortress able to withstand an assault. However, it present garrison (2 bns of Reding Infanterie, 3 militia bns and part of the infantry and 200 cavalrymen belonging to the Chasseurs de Cambefort) was not sufficient to defend the extensive defensive works. Castella requisitioned the inhabitants fit for duty to assist his garrison.
    • Castella made his first sortie against the sector occupied by Breidenbach’s Division. This sortie met with success. This gained him the trust of the garrison, whose confidence increased when it realised that the attackers had fragmented their already small forces along the long circumvallation lines.
    • Informed of the situation on the Lower Rhine, Castries immediately left Bonn and marched to Cologne where he found only a small garrison. He then took dispositions to embark magazines and make them ready to leave at the first alert. He also instructed Montcalm Cavalerie, which were deprived of their horses infected with glanders, to march from Düsseldorf to Koblenz, leaving the Chasseurs de Fischer at Düsseldorf.
    • The militia battalion at Kleve retired to Geldern.
    • The militia battalion at Aachen retired to Liège.
    • M. de Guers commanding the French garrison at Düsseldorf, was informed of the presence of the Hereditary Prince near Wesel which was garrisoned by only 1 bn and 2,500 men (recruits or soldiers unfit for service from various rgts).
    • M. d'Auvet was ordered to go in 6 marches to Hachenburg with 4 bns and 14 sqns (Rouergue Infanterie Brigade, Royal-Étranger Cavalerie Brigade, the Gendarmerie, part of the Chasseurs de Fischer and a division of artillery), some supply and an ambulance. D'Auvet's Corps was now ready to rescue Cologne if the city was threatened or to cover the country between Giessen and Koblenz to protect the flour supply of the army.
    • Broglie sent M. de Chabo towards Hachenburg with Royal Dragons and Thianges Dragons.

On October 2

On October 3

  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince completely invested Wesel. The fortress had a very weak garrison and lacked gunners. However, the bad weather made roads impassable for the Allied filed artillery which arrived in the evening.
    • After the arrival of the Hessian 3rd Garde-Regiment before Kleve, the garrison of the castle (M. de Barral and the 500 men of the Nancy militia bn) finally surrendered as prisoners of war. After disarming the garrison and sending it to Rees, Colonel von Ditfurth marched to Büderich, whereupon Wintzingerode returned to Rheinberg to cover the Allied positions against any relief attempts from the south.
  • French

On October 4, M. de Maupéou left for the Lower Rhine with Touraine, Vaubécourt and Orléans infantry brigades, 1 artillery bn, 1 militia bn, Aquitaine cavalry brigade and the Légion Royale.

On October 5, d’Auvet’s Corps and d’Aubigny’s Corps made a junction at Hachenburg.

During this time, Castries was advancing by forced marches to the Rhine, despite the dreadful state of the roads, along a route full 80 km south of the Prince's Corps.

On October 7, Waldegrave’s and Howard’s corps were ordered to reinforce the Hereditary Prince at Wesel. They were replaced by the corps of Lieutenant-General Count Kielmansegg (9 bns, 4 sqns with 12 artillery pieces) who marched from Ossendorf to Scherfede. However, Ferdinand decided to send Kielmansegg’s Corps to Wesel as well and ordered Lieutenant-General von Zastrow to replace him in the area of Scherfede with 8 bns, 4 sqns and 10 artillery pieces.

On October 8, d’Auvet’s Corps and Chabot’s dragoons reached Cologne.

On October 10

  • Allies
    • The bridge that had been started north of Sternberg was finally completed, but a second bridge further downstream was not finished at all. In the sector south of the Lippe River, the Count zu Schaumburg-Lippe built a large redoubt near the mouth of the Lippe. Since he could not find the boats to establish all the necessary bridges, Schaumburg-Lippe finally decided to establish a ferry with a few barges between Bussen and Elverich, just south of Büderich, so that traffic between both banks could be maintained. On the left bank, the bridgehead at Noah's Ark, which the French had voluntarily given up, had now been redesigned by Colonel von Ditfurth's detachment to defend against the fortress. A bridgehead with several redoubts was built opposite the Karthäuser Island, and the eastern tip of the island was fortified and some works were built to the south-west of Flüren to cover the area on the right flank of the bridgehead.
    • The Count zu Schaumburg-Lippe was expecting the arrival of siege artillery pieces from Nienburg and Hameln.
    • On the Diemel, the main army received orders to build huts.
  • French

In the night of October 10 to 11, the Allies managed to establish their first parallel between 300 and 600 m from the glacis and to prepare batteries for the siege artillery, which was still underway. The trenches extended from the Siechen Church across the drained Ijssel-Canal, through the bushes in front of the south-east front of the fortress, almost reaching the Lippe. However, the only artillery available consisted of the 44 pieces accompanying the two divisions, several of them being of light calibres. These pieces were allocated as follows:

  • right sector under Major-General von Bock: 4 pieces
  • middle sector under Lieutenant-General Hardenberg: 28 pieces, including 14 in the entrenchments
  • left sector under Lieutenant-General von Breidenbach: 12 pieces

On October 11

On October 12

  • Allies
    • Waldegrave’s Corps reached Hünze on the Lippe, after having marched by way of Lippstadt, and made a junction with the forces of the Hereditary Prince.
    • The concentration of a French corps had not gone unnoticed by the Hereditary Prince. He wanted to change the deployment of the siege corps in front of Wesel. On the one hand, he had to have a sufficiently strong force on the left bank of the Rhine to keep the advancing enemy away from Wesel, but on the other hand, the siege on the right bank of the Rhine also had to be protected , because French detachments could also advance on this bank from Düsseldorf. It was very convenient that Waldegrave’s Corps had just joined the siege corps on the Lower Lippe.
    • The Hereditary Prince assembled 5 bns and 8 sqns at Flüren, where they came under the command of Major-General von Bock. These troops consisted of:
    • With the troops placed under his command, Major-General von Bock should cross the Rhine on the bridge nearing completion on the Karthäuser Island.
    • On the Diemel, the main army fired a feu de joie to celebrate the reduction of Canada.
    • In the southern part of the Lippe sector, Lieutenant-General von Breidenbach joined Waldegrave’s forces with the Breidenbach Dragoons and the Leib-Regiment Reuter. Wladegrave then took position near Hünze on the Lippe River with 8 bns and 10 sqns. The remaining 2 bns (Wangenheim Infantry, Fersen Fusiliers) of the former detachment guarding the circumvallation in this sector, reinforced by the Porbeck Battalion of the Légion Britannique under Major General von Scheiter, which had arrived with the first transports from Münster. Together, they took a position opposite the fortress near Spellen.
    • Howard’s detachment was still on the march and was instructed to encamp near Dinslaken to cover against any enterprise from the south.
  • French
    • Castries crossed the Rhine at Cologne. Considering the unspeakable difficulties of foul weather and almost impassable roads, this march of Castries stands out as a very fine feat of resolution and endurance.
    • 2 bns of Normandie Infanterie arrived at Neuss.
Order of Battle
Detailed list of all French corps sent to the relief of Wesel from October 1 to October 13, 1760

On October 13

Battle of Clostercamp

In the night of October 13 to 14, without waiting for the additional troops which were under way to join his army, Castries set off from Neus and marched to Moers.

On October 14

  • French
    • The garrison of Wesel received news of the approaching relief force, and was particularly active. It managed to set fire to some farmsteads in the attack area that provided cover for the attackers or served as bases. General de Castella even tried to rebuild the fortress's broken ship bridge, but his attempt was unsuccessful.
    • Castries’s vanguard reached Rheinberg, forcing an Allied advanced post of about 1,000 men to retire.
    • Castries then selected Normandie Infanterie (4 bns) and Briqueville Infanterie (2 bns) to reinforce Wesel.
    • Around 5:00 p.m., Castries arrived at Rheinberg, where he was informed that the Hereditary Prince was posted near Ossenberg. Castries then decided to stop his advance and to wait for the arrival of the main body of the relief corps.
    • Around 11:00 p.m., the main body of the French relief corps reached Moers.
    • In Hesse, Broglie instructed M. de Stainville to launch a diversionary attack on Halberstadt and, if successful, on Hanover; while raising contributions. With the recent successes of the Austro-Imperial Army in Saxony and the advance of the Russian on Berlin, the timing was good for such an attack, reinforcements for Ferdinand were not available.
  • Allies
    • In the morning, the Hereditary Prince moved to the west bank of the Rhine, as rumours were increasing that a French corps was marching from Cologne.
    • Around 4:00 p.m., the Hereditary Prince, after riding by way of Poll and Alpen, arrived at Rheinberg to reconnoitre defensive positions where he could stop the French relief corps. At Rheinberg, he was informed that a patrol of the Wintzingerode Volunteer bn, which was reconnoitring on the road leading to Moers had been attacked and driven back. These news surprised him, since they confirmed that the relief corps was very close, while recent news from Cologne and The Hague had mentioned that this corps was still far away. He immediately ordered the Wintzingerode Volunteers and mounted Hanoverian Jägers to evacuate Rheinberg and retire to Ossenberg. He also sent orders to generals Bock and Waldegrave to march to Ossenberg. Furthermore, Lieutenant-General von Hardenberg should join Waldegrave with all forces that could be spared in the circumvallation. Howard was also instructed to follow him.
    • Wintzingerode retired in good order towards Ossenberg, but he nevertheless lost 2 officers and 60 men during his retreat.
    • In the evening, the Allied siege artillery finally reached the camp near Wesel.

In the night of October 14 to 15

  • French
    • The units that Castries had selected to reinforce the garrison of Wesel were supposed to cross on barges. However, the project was postponed due to a violent storm.
    • Finally, Castries managed to send 600 grenadiers and 100 artillerymen aboard barges to reinforce the garrison.
    • The mounted Chasseurs de Fischer took position north of Rheinberg, which was occupied by General Chabo with Castrie's advance guard.
  • Allies
    • Major-General von Bock received the orders of the Hereditary Prince instructing him to join the main body at Ossenberg. He immediately decamped from Ginderich and marched towards Ossenberg, leaving only the Maydel Battalion to guard the bridgehead.
    • Around 2:00 a.m., Lieutenant-General Waldegrave, who was posted at Hünxe, received the new orders of the Hereditary Prince. In order to reach the bridge south of Flüren, he first had to take a long detour around the circumvallation lines. To make matters worse, the bridge tore apart twice during the crossing due to the strong current caused by the torrential rain.

On October 15

  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince encamped at Ossenberg on the left bank of the Rhine and immediately instructed General Bock to join him with his corps.
    • At 6:00 a.m., Bock’s detachment reached the heights south of Ossenberg.
    • In the afternoon, Waldegrave’s detachment finally reached Ossenberg. During its long march, it had been joined at Hünxe by the 2 sqns of the Hanoverian Leib-Regiment Reuter; and by 3 bns (Marschalk, Wrede, Hessian Müller Garrison Regiment) and 2 sqns (Pruschenk Cavalry) under Major-General von Behr, belonging to Hardenberg’s Division as it marched along the eastern section of the circumvallation lines.
    • Lieutenant-General von Breidenbach and the Breidenbach Dragoons had joined had joined Major-General von Scheiter north-east of Spellen, this detachment was further reinforced with Mansbach Infantry , sent from the middle sector of the circumvallation.
    • The Hereditary Prince then received intelligence that Castries was still expecting reinforcements. After reconnoitring the French positions, he resolved to attack the left wing by surprise.
    • Lieutenant-General Howard’s detachment reached Hünxe and sent the Bückeburg Infantry (1 bn) to reinforce Scheiter. Overall, Lieutenant-General von Breidenbach was now at the head of 6 bns and 4 sqns in the southern sector, including the Porbeck Battalion of the Légion Britannique to oppose any French force advancing from Duisburg or Essen.
    • Howard’s detachment continued its march by way of Bussen to join Waldegrave’s detachment at Ossenberg. It crossed the Rhine at Bussen and reached Ossenberg around 8:00 p.m.
    • There were now only 8 bns and 2 sqns with some light troops to guard the north and east sectors of the circumvallation lines before Wesel.
    • At 11:00 p.m., leaving 3 bns and 4 sqns towards Rheinberg in front of the French right, the Hereditary Prince marched on Clostercamp with 18 bns and 20 sqns and deployed his troops to face Rheinberg, with Ossenberg in their rear.
  • French
    • Part of the Chasseurs de Fischer occupied the Monastery of Kamp (Kloster Kamp), located near the Eugene Canal running from Geldern to Rheinberg.
    • The main body of Castries’s relief corps set off from Moers and marched to Rheinberg. In the evening, it encamped between Strommörs and Rossenray.
    • The Chasseurs de Fischer, who still occupied the Monastery of Kamp, were charged to cover the left wing of Castries’s Army against any surprise attack, and instructed to retire in case of an attack.
    • In the evening, the Marquis de Castries had concentrated 30 bns and 26 sqns in a strong position behind the Eugene Canal on the south-west of Rheinberg. His right was anchored on the town of Rheinberg and his left towards Clostercamp. His corps consisted of detachments from the main army operating in Hesse and of troops sent from the Low Countries which had force marched to relieve Wesel. His army slept with their arms.
      • On the right wing stood the Rouergue and Bouillon infantry brigades (a total of 9 bns), in and south of Rheinberg. The mounted Chasseurs de Fischer were deployed beyond Rheinberg to observe the Allies camped near Ossenberg. La Couronne Infanterie (2 bns) was posted south of Rheinberg near Strommörs and the Royal Dragons Brigade (8 sqns) just east of this infantry rgt. Major-General Comte Chabo assumed command of this right wing.
      • The Normandie, La Tour du Pin, Alsace and Auvergne infantry brigades (a total of 18 bns) were encamped west of Strommörs and their camp extended up to Rossenray. The extreme left of the camp was withdrawn at a sharp angle to secure it against the west. Lieutenant-General Marquis d’Auvet and Lieutenant-General Marquis de Ségur commanded these infantry brigades.
      • The Royal-Étranger and Royal-Piémont cavalry brigades (a total of 10 sqns) were encamped behind the infantry.
      • The Gendarmerie (8 sqns) guarded Castries’s headquarters, which were located on the extreme left wing, in the southern part of Rossenray.
      • The 6 heavy artillery pieces attached to the advance guard were established on a height to the north-east of Rossenray, while the rest of the heavy artillery was still in Moers, with the baggage which were guarded by 1 militia bn.
    • Castries had a number of crossings made over the canal.
    • In Hesse, a detachment under M. d'Espies marched on Northeim, forcing Luckner to repass the Leine while M. de Stainville left Dingelstädt with the Volontaires de Schomberg, Bercheny Hussards and Royal-Nassau Hussards and marched towards Halberstadt.

From October 15 to 24, Stainville scoured the Hanoverian countryside before returning to Heiligenstadt (today Heilbad Heiligenstadt).

On October 16

  • Battle of Clostercamp
  • Allies (after the battle)
    • The Hereditary Prince retired on Alpen.
    • Kielmansegg’s Corps (9 bns, 4 sqns, 12 artillery pieces) reached Hünxe in the vicinity of Wesel when the situation in front of the fortress had already turned to the Hereditary Prince's disadvantage.
    • In the evening, Major-General von Bock received an order from the Hereditary Prince, instructing him to evacuate his positions at the bridgehead on the next morning and to make a junction with the main body near Gest.
    • In the evening, the pontoon overzealous officer of the Allied corps had the bridge on Karthäuser Island demolished, because he considered it to be at risk from the flood at its current location, misjudging the situation of the troops still standing on the left bank of the Rhine. However, he immediately began to reinstall this bridge further downstream at a more favourable location.
    • At Alpen the Hereditary Prince was informed that his bridge at Büderich on the Rhine had been carried away by the flooding river. His situation was now perilous for not only was his retreat cut off, but his ammunition was exhausted.
  • French (after the battle)

On October 17

  • Allied retreat
    • Early in the morning, Bock’s detachment set off from the bridgehead. Soon, the Hereditary Prince, still wounded though he was, personally joined this detachment to lead it to a position near Elverich, because the French were already on the march to cut its line of retreat.
    • Wintzingerode’s detachment was already at Elverich with the 3rd Garde-Regiment. To the right of Bock’s detachment, the remaining troops of the Hereditary Prince extended beyond Gest in the direction of Ginderich.
    • Soon after the Allies had taken these positions, the French Roquepine infantry brigade and a detachment of the Royal Dragons, which had advanced on the Rhine embankment, attacked Elverich. However, they were greeted by the defender's murderous fire and driven back to Wallach. They did not dare to renew the attack.
    • During this time, the advance guard of the French right wing under Major-General Chabo had reached Borth, 1.5 km from the positions of the Hereditary Prince, but it didn't dare to advance further, as the entire corps of the Hereditary Prince was deployed in order of battle before it.
  • Allies
    • For the entire day, the corps of the Hereditary Prince was without a solid connection to the right bank of the Rhine, with the victorious French standing close to it. The Hereditary Prince faced his difficulties with his usual energy. Given the urgent situation and the small number of workers, it was no longer possible to create a new bridgehead. Therefore, the Count zu Schaumburg-Lippe assisted by establishing a wagenburg with various carts and wagons in front of the new bridge on the left bank and by deploying 24 heavy guns on the right bank on both sides of the bridge, covering the opposite bank.
    • The Hereditary Prince held a council of war, where it was decided to withdraw the next day. He gave the appropriate orders early in the afternoon.
    • Kielmansegg’s Corps remained near Hünxe.
    • The Count zu Schaumburg-Lippe sent the Allied siege artillery to Borken.
  • French
    • Given the fatigue of his troops and the strength of the well-chosen position of the Allies, Castries no longer considered an attack advisable. He therefore decided to prepare his troops for the battle that he anticipated on the next day. Castries’s momentarily hesitation allowed the Hereditary Prince to avoid a serious danger.
    • Additional French units left behind during Castries' advance from Neuss to Clostercamp finally made a junction with the main corps:

In the night of October 17 to 18

  • Allies
    • Around 1:00 a.m., the Allies finally completed their bridge on the Rhine.
    • Around 3:00 a.m., the corps of the Hereditary Prince began to cross to the right bank of the Rhine.

On October 18

  • Allies
    • The rearguard drove back an attack of the Thianges Dragons. Then the last Allied troops (Maydel Battalion and the Prussian hussars) crossed the bridge which was immediately destroyed.
    • Around 8:00 a.m., the corps of the Hereditary Prince marched towards Brünen.
    • Kielmansegg’s Corps marched from Hünxe to Dorsten, leaving Major-General von Scheiter at Schernbeck with a detachment to maintain communication with the Hereditary Prince.
    • In the afternoon, the siege corps raised the blockade of Wesel and marched to make a junction with the Hereditary Prince at Brünen.
  • French
    • Around noon, Castries entered Wesel. The trenches of the Allies were still occupied by the siege corps of the Count zu Schaumburg-Lippe.
    • A large body of French troops under the command of M. de la Ferronaye entered the Duchy of Halberstadt, making itself master of the town of Halberstadt, exacting contribution and seizing hostages.

In the night of October 18 to 19, the siege corps of the Allies reached Brünen where it encamped.

On October 19

  • French
    • Castries' Army encamped at Büderich.
    • Broglie was informed that an Allied corps (10 bns and 4 cavalry rgts) was marching on Münster.

On October 20

  • French
    • Castries' Army (46 bns and 42 sqns) took cantons between Xanten and Büderich while garrisons were established at Koblenz, Wesel, Liège and Aachen.
    • Maupéou's Division stopped at Rheinberg and Orsoy.
  • Allies
    • The reinforcements sent to the Hereditary Prince halted at Dortmund.

On October 21

  • French
    • Castries sent the Chasseurs de Fischer on the Rur (more probably on the Ruhr) and the Gendarmerie at Andernach.
  • Allies
    • The army of the Hereditary Prince was still on the Heights of Brünen at 10 km from Wesel.

On October 22, M. de Maupéou marched towards Cologne with 10 bns and 4 sqns.

It then became necessary to send back to France several French rgts (Gendarmerie, Archiac Cavalerie, Conti Cavalerie, D'Arbonnier Infanterie, Lochmann Infanterie, Normandie Infanterie, Auvergne Infanterie, Alsace Infanterie, La Couronne Infanterie, Rohan Rochefort Infanterie), which had heavily suffered during the Combat of Clostercamp. Furthermore, Rouergue Infanterie (2 bns) was sent on the Meuse.

Meanwhile in Hanover, Prince Xavier re-took possession of Göttingen, sending advanced parties as far as Northeim.

Continuation

The last phase of the campaign is described in the following articles:

  • End of the campaign (October 22 to December 31, 1760) describing the Allied defensive measures, the French maoeuvres and the Allied attempt against Göttingen.

References

This series of articles is a compilation of texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Anonymous: A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 521-528, 531-534
  • Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3, Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 13 Torgau, Berlin, 1914, pp. 319-346, Anlage 16
  • Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. V, Paris, 1891, pp. 2-114
  • 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. 137-184
  • Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army, Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899, pp. 501-519
  • Jomini, baron de: Traité des grandes opérations militaires, Vol. 3, 2nd ed., Magimel, Paris, 1811, pp. 221-240