Back - Updates
SHAT - Archives du génie, Article 15, section 1, paragraphe 5, pièce 38.
Translated from French by Richard couture
Detail of the battle of Lutzelberg won by M. le prince de Soubise on october 10th 1758.
M. de Chevert's Division, composed of 25 battalions, 18 squadrons, the Bercheny Hussars, the Légion Royale and the Volontaires de Flandres, arrived at the camp near Cassel on October 8. On October 9, the Division under Fitzjames, composed of 10 battalions and of 12 squadrons crossed the Fulda following the whole army.
M. de Chevert's Division was destined to attack the enemy guard. The Marquis de Voyer was detached with 20 grenadier companies, 20 piquets, 450 Carabiniers, some cavalry, the Légion Royale, the Volontaires de Flandres and Fischer's Corps.
As we were planning to cross the brook of Belkenkgen with the whole army and to encamp it beyond, M. de Voyer took his dispositions to attack the village of Eheylingenrod. However, the project of turning the enemy left having prevailed, he advanced to the heights overlooking the village of Dalem. He was reinforced during the night with 10 grenadier companies, the Palatin (Pfalz) Brigade and the Dauphin Cavalerie Brigade.
On October 10 at daybreak, a considerable movement was observable in the enemy army who abandoned its camp at Landweragen to occupy a more remote position on the heights and in the woods who also covered its front and its left flank. At daybreak, the vanguard of the Marquis de Voyer crossed the ravine of Dalem, gained the heights of Flikenstein and, with his light troops, attacked the hamlet Bruck and a dense wood in front to reconnoitre more exactly the new position of theenemies. There was sharp shooting where M. de Chabot repulsed the enmies and lost some 150 men killed or wounded. As we were soon assured that the entire enemy army was awaiting combat, the Prince de Soubise took his dispositions and debouched with all his troops preceded by a vanguard under the Duc de Broglie.
The troops who, before M. de Chevert and M. de Fitzjames's arrival, composed the army of the Prince de Soubise were destined to attack the enemies in front, while M. de Fitzjames would attack its left and M. de Chevert would trun the flank. All troops having reached their positions, the vanguards of M. de Broglie and of M. de Voyer returned to their columns. At 2:45, M. de Chevert gave, by four cannon shots, the signal of the general attack and debouched in the meantime to march to the enemy.
All columns advanced together, but having more distance to cover or more obstacles to cross, most of the combat was undertaken by M. de Chevert's Division.
The enemies seeing him entering the woods covering their flank, and rightfully fearing for their rear, took troops from their right and moved most of their troops at right angle on this side. They were present in force in front of the wood that M. de Chevert had gone through with his troops in three colimns: two of infantry with the cavalry in the center.
The enemies seeing themselves pressed by this disposition, which was responsible for the success of this day, decided to advance a numerous column to attack us and to stop us from debouching in the plain. M. de Chevert, after cannonading this column with his artillery, who was judiciously served during the entire day with the utmost brilliance, ordered M. de Voyer and M. de Bellefonds, who were at the head of the cavlary, to charge this column. It was immediately attacked and repulsed. It is during this charge that the Marquis de Voyer was wounded. At the head of each column of infantry, there was a vanguard of 10 grenadier companies under the Comte Soline on the left and the Vicomte de Belzunce on the right. The latter having been seriously wounded, the Chevalier de Broglie took his place.
The cavalry, after this first combat, debouched in the plain and formed in battle order to face the enemy cavalry who advanced in good order to ease the retreat of the infantry column and reestablished combat. This cavalry was repulsed too and, as long as the battle lasted, it repeatedly suffered the same outcome.
Meanwhile, the Saxons forming the left column, under His Royal Highness Prince Xavier, attacked a height where the enemies had established several batteries and a big corps and from where they overlooked the plain where our columns were debouching. His Royal Highness ordered to Baron d’Yhern to take the height from the rear while he would attack the enemies frontally. After a very stubborn combat, the disposition, as valorous as military, of His Royal Highness made him master of the height and of the guns that the enemies had established there.
Then victory was no more in the balance, even though the enemies still made several attempts to stop us and to ease their retreats. They took flight through the village of Lutzelberg and, helped by the night, saved the wrecks of their army. At the first moment of our attack, the entire army having marched at the same level, it was, thanks to the swiftness of its movements, at a sufficient range to open up a very sharp and very steady artillery fire on the part of the enemy army that it forced to retire disorderly in the woods bordering the Verra. Detachments taken from the left of the army have followed and cannonaded the enemies till 3:00 A.M..
It is too early to give but a quick report of their losses. The troops of the right have captured 11 guns and the Bercheny Hussars, detached on the left flank of our army, have seized 13 guns and much baggage. The enemies have lost flags and standards, we don't know yet the exact number, nor that of prisoners which already amounts to more than 500 men. Among this numner are officers of all ranks. Our loss does not seem considerable. The limit of this report does not allow us to name all those who distinguished themselves in this day. Generally, all troops showed undisputable ardour and a firmness worthy of French, Saxons and Palatines, and each commander partucularly set examples.
The Marquis de Crillon has been detached with three infantry brigades and the light troops to follow up the enemies in their retreat. He has advanced up to Munden, we are awaiting news from this detachment. Appearently, it was unable to pursue them farther than this town because of the defiles and difficult terrain of this country.