SHAT, archives du génie, article 15, section 1, §5, pièce 23
Translated from the French by Richard Couture.
of the 1757 campaign
June 5 - From Varinddorff
The auxiliary army of Westphalia had marched on June 3, 4 and 5 to concentrate in several Corps at Lembs. Its right was at Vidembrug, its left at Tilliet and its centre at Varendorff. The terrible rains had made communications impracticable, this had slowed down the march of the reserve so that the general movement will be totally completed only by June 6 or 7. The Hanoverians are encamped at Brackvede. They hold Rittberg; will we attack this post ? will it be left behind or in front ? This is not determined yet. It looked more likely that it will be abandoned; however, according to news received yesterday evening, it appears that the enemy had sent there a convoy of salted meat.
A few days before, a party of twenty men from the Bentheim Regiment, commanded by a lieutenant, sent foraging in Taklembourg, had been surprised and captured; only six of them managed to escape.
The Maréchal had moved his army to Lembs where it is encamped in several Corps which successively arrived.
The first line left Münster on June 3 to camp at Telligt and then at Varendorff on June 4. The second line arrived on June 3 at the same camp.
The reserve, made of eight grenadier battalions and of one dragoon regiment, remained at Telligt and the Corps under Mr. the Chevalier de Muy, which was at Ham, marched on June 2 and camped today at Hertzbrock. The heavy and continual rain which lasted for several days had broken most of the communications and bridges who had been built for the various columns of the army. These obstacles, along with the nature of the country, made the march very difficult.
The Hanoverian and Hessian Corps which were near Paderborn had joined to their main army who was still encamped at Brackvvede, and since this junction, Mr. the Maréchal had sent forward several important detachments to observe them and to reconnoitre their positions.
June 10 - From Dertzbrock
The army marched to Varendorff in two Divisions: the first arrived yesterday in this camp and the second today. Mr. the Prince de Soubise arrived the day before yesterday, with the reserve he commands in Vidembrugg where his troops are encamped; they nearly join with the Army Corps, its left near Redha, and our left being only ¾ lieues (leagues) from it.
Mr. the Maréchal went to Redha yesterday where he met with Mr. the Prince de Soubise. To discuss with him the movements of his army and he also reconnoitred the camp that he plans to occupy tomorrow in front of Vidembrugg and Rheda. On his arrival there, Mr. the Maréchal learned of the evacuation of Rittberg. The enemy had 1.500 men there but they had retired during the night; the detachments and the volunteers of Mr. de Soubise's Reserve immediately occupied it.
Our volunteer companies and Fischer Corps are always positioned at approximately two lieues (leagues) from the enemy. The Fischer Corps, who occupied the Marienfeldt Abbey, was attacked during the night of June 8-9 by four grenadier companies of 120 Hanoverians each and by approximately 200 horses. Only one chasseur company and one grenadier company sustained the attack and their fire was so effective that the enemy quickly retired: the infantry commander of this detachment was killed and had a lot of men wounded. Fischer lost the captain of the chasseur company and two grenadiers, he also had a lieutenant and two soldiers wounded.
June 14 - From Rheda
Mr. the Maréchal, having asked Mr. the Prince de Soubise to reconnoitre the left of the enemy position, went, on June 13, to Neunkirchen to discuss of the results of this reconnaissance and they resolved to march on the enemy left flank as soon as possible; the date of the attack was fixed to June 18; but the various detachments that were ordered by Mr. the marechal to march on the right and on the left of their positions having made the Duke of Cumberland believe we were about to attack him, this Prince abandoned his position on June 13 at 4:00 P.M.. Fischer Corps, supported by a detachment of 700 dragoons under Mr. de Lillebonnne, had marched on the enemy's right at Herworden: we don’t know yet if they attacked. 300 volunteers supported by eight grenadier companies moved to Marinfeldt: the Volontaires Royaux were at Gusterlo and Turpin’s detachment had advanced on Holss. As soon as he was informed of the march of the enemy, Mr. the Maréchal sent 10 grenadier companies, 10 piquets and 300 cavalrymen under Mr. the Prince de Beauvau to support the Volontaires Royaux who marched the whole night, and at daybreak they attacked, at Bilfeldt, an enemy detachment covering the retreat. Mr. du Chayla distinguished himself: he forced this post, got 5 officers killed or wounded and many volunteers; the enemy, forced to retire, abandoned some equipment. They lost many prisoners and got 100 men killed. In spite of his speedy efficiency, M. the Prince de Beauvau arrived at the end the action, and he informed, from Bilfeldt, that he will continue to observe the enemy march by moving halfway to Herworden where the enemy was heading. Mr. de Soubise had also detached Mr. the Comte de Lorges with 12 grenadier companies and 200 horses that arrived too late for the action.
June 17 - From Rheda
The detachments who followed up the rearguard of the enemy had attacked him at Bilfeldt and had harassed him up to Herworden, a small fortified town with a moat and a WALL; the enemy left there an important detachment who held firmly the position; a party of volunteers who advanced too close to this town which was supported by the entire rearguard, lost fifteen men killed or wounded; our overall loss is no more than 30 men of wich five officers; the losses of the enemy should be more important; General Jankem's son was killed; Fischer Corps captured some baggage. A large quantity of brandy, of flour, of fodder, and other supplies was found in the enemy's camp. The entire Hanoverian army took the road of Remen and Waltaw where it had bridges on the Weser; our parties having not been able to march beyond Herworden and those sent from Lemgow being not yet in position. We took some 100 prisoners among which an officer: more than 80 Hanoverians deserted at Rheda and a further 200 in the Bishopric of Osnabruck.
We learned yesterday that Mr. the Comte de Lorges entered in Herworden, evacuated by the enemy. The same day, Mr. the Prince de Soubise along with Mr. de St Germain left for Paris.
The reserve, which was previously under Mr. the Prince de Soubise, was distributed among the army and Mr. the Maréchal made arrangements to form several distinct Corps to ease the subsequent operations. The Hanoverian army crossed again the Weser, and there were only a few detachments left EN DECA, according to M. de Lostanges, who saw the enemy's right moving to Minden, and it is likely that the Hanoverian army is now dividing itself into several corps of observation.
June 25 - From Bilfeldt
The army moved in two marches from the camp of Rheda to Bilfelt, where it encamped in two lines with the town of Bilfeldt in its center. The Reserve of Mr. d’Armentières was sent to Erlinkausen to cover the army's right flank., and the Reserve of the Duc de Broglie marched to Ravenberg and Engheren to cover the left and to observe the enemy's right near Minden.
Their army is still in the same position; Mr. the Maréchal ordered several detachments to reconnoitre these positions and they advanced up to Remen and Worthauve; the last was under Mr. de Berchiny who advanced in front of Herworden, and sent two others to Remen and Wortauve to ease the Maréchal and the Prince's reconnaissance.
There were some skirmishes between both vanguards.