SHAT, archives du génie, article 15, section 1, §5, pièce 23
Translated from the French by Richard Couture.
of the 1757 campaign
The Prince de Soubise, on his arrival on the Lower Meuse, having heard of the evacuation of Wesel, made arrangement to move into the Cleve and Gueldre Duchies the four Austrian battalions stationed in Ruremonde, the first regiments of the French columns arriving at Stakem, Linnick and Neuss and successively the troops following them.
He moved his head-quarters from Ruremonde to Neuss, leaving to Comte de Lorges the command of the camps of his left in the Cleve Country and to M. de Saint-Chamond, maréchal des camps, the command of the troops that will blockade Gueldre.
Blockade of Gueldre
· in the village of Stralen, with a detachment in the village of Walbeck:
· 1 Austrian battalion
· Salis Regiment (1 battalion)
· in Kevelau and Retten:
· Poitou Regiment (2 battalions)
· in Issen with a detachment at Neukirch:
· Aquitaine Regiment (2 battalions)
The Prussians had left 800 men in Gueldre and had flooded, although quite imperfectly, the approaches of the place.
The Belsunce Regiment arrived at Neuss, the other troops will successively arrive and will encamp at the prescribed locations.
We heard of the continuation of the retreat of the enemy from Wesel to Lippstadt.
M. de Chabot had left for Burick with a detachment of Volontaires Royaux and of Fischer's hussars. His objective is to seize ammunitions and cartridges that the Prussians had left behind in Wesel and to prepare this place for the coming French and Austrian garrison.
A detachment of Volontaires Royaux and of Fischer troops was sent on the Lippe to prohibit the population from supplying grain and paying taxes to the King of Prussia.
The French commanders learned that the enemy was moving from Lippstadt to Rittberg, an imperial possession belonging to the Count of Cauwitz.
The Prince de Soubise was in Düsseldorf.
The Comte Dombasle entered into Cleve with three Austrian battalions. This town had sent deputies to submit itself to the domination of the King of France.
The French commanders learned that the Prussians, after living on the County of Rittberg, had taken possession of the castle and had marched on the County of Ravensberg.
The French and Austrian troops entered into Wesel. The garrison of the place consisted of two Austrian battalions and of two battalions of the Belsunce Regiment. It will be increased on April 10 by two other battalions of the same regiment and, on April 11, by the battalion of the Reding Regiment. The Comte de Saint-Germain, lieutenant-general, commanded in Wesel. News we received about the enemies are that the Hanoverians had asked for passage in the Bishopric of Hildesheim to take their quarters along the Rezer.
The corps of 3.000 Prussians was still in Ravensberg.
The French detachment, who left on April 5, removed the Sieur Cappel from his office in Lussen in the County of the Marck on the Lippe on the request of the Imperial Commissioner. The Sieur Cappel was corresponding with Rausfeldt, president of regency in Cleve, and was charged to collect the remaining funds due to the King of Prussia.
The Prince de Soubise sent a detachment of 2.500 men under the Comte de Maillebois, lieutenant-general, and of the Marquis de Crillon, maréchal de camp. The objective of this detachment is to appear on the Lippe and to approach the town of Münster, intimidated by the proximity of the Prussians.
The Comte de Maillebois and his detachment were at Dostheim on April 10, at Alteren on April 11 and at Dulmen on April 12. He left most of his troops in Dulmen and advanced, with 200 Volontaires Royaux and 100 Fischer's troops, up to Bulderen, at four lieues (leagues) from Münster; there, he discussed of the state of the town of Münster with the main members of the regency and with M. Rihinier, aide maréchal général des logis of the French army, who resides in this town. Mr. De Maillebois had previously written a request to the regency asking for the free entrance of French troops into the Münster Country and for contribution to the supply of these troops throughout the Bishopric. Commissioners of the regency were sent to Rezel for this purpose.
Mr. de Maillebois himself returned to Halteren on April 13 and to Wesel on April 14. He had distributed his troops on the Lippe under the command of the Marquis de Crillon.
The French commanders learned that the enemy appeared to take position at Lippstadt and that the Hanoverians were on the move to assemble on the Weser.
The French commanders received confirmation of the movements of the enemy on the Weser and the Upper-Lippe. The Prince de Soubise was determined to advance a corps of 10 battalions and 4 squadrons under the Comte de Saint-Germain assisted by Crillon and Rouillé, both maréchal de camp.
There was nothing worth mentioning between April 15 and 20.
The French commanders learned that the enemy was still holding Lippstadt and that the movement on the Weser continued. Consequently, the Prince de Soubise resolved to advance another corps to threaten the enemy at Münster. The Prince de Beauveau left with 6 battalions, 40 dragoons and 50 Fischer hussars and 100 men of the Corps Royal: this detachment was ordered to enter into Münster, hopefully on April 24. It would be supported by the Corps that Mr. de Saint-Germain already positioned on the Lippe with its advanced posts at Lumes.
The Comte de Saint-Germain had advanced up to Ham and his detachment now occupied various posts on both banks of the Lippe.
Enemy was still holding Lippstadt. The Prince de Soubise decided to reinforce the Corps of MR. de Saint-Germain; therefore, he sent 8 battalions and 2 squadrons between the Lippe and the Rhur. They marched by Luinen, Dortmund and Weist.
The Prince de Soubise sent a detachment of the Corps Royal and 6 12 pounders to Mr. de St Germain.
At 4:00 P.M., the French commanders learned that the enemy had evacuated Lippstadt: It also retreated from the County of Rittberg after destroying the castle.
The Comte de Saint-Germain intends to occupy Lippstadt with the four battalions of the Belsunce Regiment.
Mr. de Saint-Germain entered Lippstadt on April 25: the enemy continues its retreat to the Weser.
Maréchal d’Estrées arrived at 4:00 P.M. on April 27. Upon his arrival, he received a report on the disposition of his army: 50 battalions and 20 squadrons are cantoned between the Meuse and the Rhine, 34 battalions and 16 squadrons are on the Lippe, at Münster and in the Duchy of Bergh and the remaining troops will arrive successively.
Maréchal d’Estrées decided to besiege Gueldre as soon as possible. He assigned 17 battalions to this task, they will march on May 1. The Marquis d’Armentières will command the siege and will be assisted by the Comte d'Orlick, the Marquis de Dreux, the Comte de Spar, the Chevalier de Maupeou, M. de Leyde and the Duc d’Antin, all maréchal de camp.
The cavalry regiments leaving Maubeuge, Valenciennes and Sedan have to be directed on Ruremonde where they will forme a camp of 34 squadrons. The first of these regiments will arrive at destination on May 6, the last on May 22.
The staff commanding this camp consists of the Duc de Chaunes, lieutenant-general, de Barbanson, de la Guiche, de Merceil and de Lastick, all maréchal de camp.