Monro His Expedition - Of Recognoscing.

Of Recognoscing.

Having intelligence of our enemy's strength, how he lies, whether in quarter, garrison, field, or leaguer, then having an exploit to go on, we must recognosce on horse or foot, according to the exploit we have before us. As if we were to block up a town with a part of an army, we must first being accompanied with a few horsemen recognosce the bounds, riding the circuit short or long from it, fore-seeing how to divide our number on the passes & avenues from or towards the town, to stop out-fallings, or in comings, in ordering such works and skonces to be made on the passages as may put us in safety, as well against out-fallings, as against their pretended reliefs to come: and our watches one from another, must keep due correspondence by their sentries, that none can pass betwixt them without advertising one another's guard.

Next being to beleaguer a town near hand, we ought to recognosce also nearer, having first placed our army foot and horse battle without reach of their cannon, though in their view: having first directed our parties of horse to batter the streets without us, then the commander is to ride the circuit of the town within shot, as near as he can, having another riding at a distance behind him, and having a boor beside him, resolving him of all questions concerning their ports, their graffs, their bulwarks, where weakest, and where the graff is shallowest; which being known, he disposeth the army on several posts, where again the commanders are to recognosce nearer the walls, where they can best lodge their greatest body in most safety, where to place their guard before them, and where their sentries; as also where to place their batteries, and where to begin their approaches: which being done, they are thought the best fellows, that show most diligence, and least loss to come to the walls; the same circumstances are to be observed by any commander, who leads a party before a strength or castle to block it, or beleaguer it, having cannon, petards, and fireworks, with sufficient men and furniture belonging to the artillery, that can discharge their duties, as they are directed by the commander of the party, who must see to all things himself, that it be well done, as in special to the placing of his batteries, and in ordering all things to be brought to the batteries that are needful, by the soldiers commanded out to attend the works, beside the guard of the cannon, and of the workmen, he must also be very vigilant in visiting the approaches, batteries, and guards, admonishing them to be careful against out-falls on the trenches, batteries, or guards, giving orders to the captain of the watches to receive the enemy falling out with a strong body of pikes and muskets close together to beat them back, being received with pikes charged, bravely flanked and lined with shot, which being done, to advance their works again night and day, till the enemy be forced to accord.

In the night also a sufficient sergeant being seconded by another stout fellow, should creep to the graff, with two half-pikes, for to wade through, to know the shallowest parts, being helped thereto by some known boor, who might give certainty of the enemies' strength within, and of their defects they have of victuals, ammunition, fire or water. As also to know their private sorting-ports, to watch their out-comings; he ought also to learn what draw-bridges are within, and what portcullis, and what store of victuals, or ammunition is to be had within, in case the strength be pregnable, that he may the better make his accord. Also he ought to learn what artillery or arms are within, and what cadoucks, or what number of horses pertaining to the enemy, and what other riches they have, and where kept; or if otherwise the town be not taken by accord, or strength of hand, we must strive to force it to yield by hunger, or by lack of fire or water, or otherwise by throwing artificial fire amongst them with cannon, or with other fiery engines, firing their houses, or spoiling their watches on their posts or guards; as also we must deal by fraud to convey private letters unto them, for debauching the inhabitants, to resist the garrison in making either port or post good, while as the pursuer intends to fall on, on storm or breach.

Likewise the pursuer had need to dispose well of his own watches without, that he be not surprised, his hoof-watch, particular watches, reserves, or by-watches, are to be still in readiness to attend the enemies' out-falling, lest he may cut off his guards, or spoil his cannon by nailing of them, or by burning their carriages, or ammunition, being disgraceful in the highest manner, as oft-times hath happened to unprovident and sluggish commanders, who have unwisely despised their enemies.

An enemy being in the field, either with a strong party or army, a sufficient commander must be careful in recognoscing the field about him, for taking his advantage of the ground, in advancing to an enemy, as also in spying his advantage in case he be put to a retreat, that he may the better retire in order, not being put to rout, as our army was at Nördlingen, which never happened unto them before during the time I served the Sweden. As also being in the field he ought to observe where most conveniently he can plant his ordnance, as General Tilly did at Leipzig, and as the Imperialists did on the Hill at Nuremberg; as also at Nördlingen. For ordnance being planted with advantage is oft-times the winning of the field, and the loss of artillery is ever reputed and holden for a defeat, although both foot and horse be preserved. There is also advantage of ground very requisite to be taken by foot against foot, as the advantage of hights, passages, woods, hedges, ditches, as also the advantage of sun and wind with you, and against your enemy; which his Majesty of worthy memory did strive to get at Leipzig against the Imperialists.

Likewise it is a great advantage of ground, when one of both the armies is brought to that inconvenience, that they cannot come to fight, but the one army may be forced to come up but by divisions, while as the other by advantage of the ground may receive them with full battles of horse and foot, the one to second the other; and this advantage Gustavus Horne did get of the Imperialists, while as he retired before them unto Württemberg-land in March 1633, the enemy not being able to pursue our army but with great disadvantage, which freed us of them for that time, he being stronger than we, and afterward the Rhinegrave's forces come from Alsace being joined with us, we made the Imperialists again retire over the Danube unto Schwabenland at the pass of Munderkingen, where we came within cannon-shot; yet they getting the pass, retired in safety; as they did another time from us, out of Schwabenland unto Bavaria, having got the pass before us at Kempten, and afterward over the Iller in Schwabenland, having (I say) got the pass before us, they were safe, and we frustrate. So that the advantage of ground is of great importance in wars, as I have often known by experience, especially before the Hill at Nuremberg.

Likewise a wise commander being defender must observe all circumstances, as he did in pursuing for his own safety; he must also being defender beset well all passes, and frontier garrisons, whereupon the enemy must pass to come unto him, having timely recognosced the same, that it may either be beset by him, or otherwise being found more advantagious for the enemy, it would then be timely demolished.

As also your enemies' army, or strong party being drawn up in the field, you are to recognosce both his strength and order, by the sight of your eye, before you intend to pursue him, where you are to consider, how he can advance to you, or you to him without disorder, but do you never pursue, except with advantage; though you shall be deemed by others to be remiss, but rather suffer him to be gone, than to take the disadvantage of pursuit, since time will alter anything, and he that preserves an army will doubtless find a convenient time to fight. And it had been good for the Evangelists in Dutchland, that this point had been more wisely looked unto at Nördlingen than it was, for they might have saved their army and country both, had they not presumed with disadvantage in their own strength and courage, where GOD the disposer of hearts made their pride suffer a great fall.

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