The sixteenth of August the succours being come from Saxony, Hessen, and Thuringia, brought up by the Rex-chancellor Oxensterne, and Duke William of Weimar, being come together at Weltzheim, the eighteenth at Aiorach and Prugg, and the twenty-one at Fürth, by four of the clock in the morning they presented themselves in battle before Fürth, where did lie above a thousand Imperialists, which were presently chased away, taking their retreat unto Wallenstein's leaguer; which done, Duke Barnard of Weimar, and General Banier continued the army's march, being thirty thousand strong, through the fields towards a dorp called Grossreuth, and draws up in battle in plain champaign, half a mile from the enemies' leaguer; his Majesty then marching out of his leaguer with the army from Swyno towards Kleinruthe; incontinent presented himself in battle before the enemies' leaguer; but the Imperialists unwilling to be seen in the fields, they kept themselves close within their leaguer, playing on us with their cannon, having done no more hurt, than the killing of one constable and a few soldiers, and we attending their resolution and out-coming, enterprised nothing all day, but stood ready in battle till night, that the foot brigades had orders to advance within cannon reach of their leaguer, where our batteries were ordained to be made all in front, as our army stood, alongst the face of the enemies' leaguer, where we had cast up a running trench before the front of our army, from the right hand to the left, going from one battery to another; on which batteries were planted seventy-two pieces of cannon, great and small, well guarded with strong guards of musketeers and pikemen; the brigades lying ready at hand to relieve them in time of need, and our horse-brigades being appointed without them, to stand in readiness for to second the foot.
The day peeping, the Imperial generals were saluted with a salvo of cannon, which untimely stirred some from their rest, making them retire unto their strengths, not having the courage to show their faces in the fields.
This service of cannon having continued the whole day, in the night the Imperialists retired their forces towards their works on the old hill, being mighty strong on that quarter, so that there was no possibility to harm them any more with cannon.
His Majesty thinking, if it were possible to get in the hill, he was then able to beat the enemy out of his leaguer, and therefore in the night gave orders to draw off the cannon from the batteries, and having the army in readiness, we marched in the night through Fürth, towards the other side of the enemies' leaguer, of intention to take in the hill, and then to beat them out of their leaguer, and his Majesty having got intelligence, the enemy had marched away and left but a rear-guard on the hill, to make his retreat good, we marched near the hill, and drew up in battle alongst the side of it, horse, foot and cannon, by seven of the clock in the morning, where incontinent, on slight information, his Majesty resolved, in earnest to pursue the hill.
Duke William of Weimar then lieutenant general next unto his Majesty had the command of the army, General Banier had the command of the foot, and Duke Barnard of Weimar commanded the horse, Colonel Leonard Richardson had the command of the artillery; divers other cavaliers of note were ordained to attend his Majesty, for giving assistance in command, to be directed by his Majesty, as occasion offered; such as Grave Neeles a Sweden, then general major of foot, General Major Boetius a Dutch, Sir John Hepburne then having left command of the brigade, being out of employment he attended his Majesty, General Major Rusteine being then Stallmeister to his Majesty attended also, General Major Striffe commanded the horse next to Duke Barnard.
The army thus in battle, and the whole officers of the field attending his Majesty, and their several charges, the service being but begun, General Banier was shot in the arm, and so retired; General Major Rusteine being also shot did retire incontinent, his Majesty commanded strong parties of commanded musketeers out of all brigades, led by a colonel, a lieutenant colonel, and a competent number of other inferior officers, to lead on the party towards the hill, to force a passage or entry unto the enemies' works; which being hardly resisted, the service went on cruel hot on both sides, so that the parties were no sooner entered on service, but it behoved the reliefs to be incontinent ready to second them, death being so frequent amongst officers and soldiers, that those who were hurt rejoiced, having escaped with their lives, seeing in effect the service desperate on our side, losing still our men without gaining any advantage over our enemies, being always within their close works, while as we, both officers and soldiers, stood bare and naked before them, as marks to shoot at, without any shelter whatsoever, but the shadow of some great trees, being in a wood, so that we lost still our best officers and soldiers, while as the basest sort durst not lift head in the storm.
The service continued in this manner the whole day, so that the hill was nothing else but fire and smoke, like to the thundering echo of a thunderclap, with the noise of cannon and musket, so that the noise was enough to terrify novices; we losing still our best soldiers, grew so weak in the end, that the brigades of foot had scarce bodies of pikemen to guard their colours, the musketeers being almost vanished and spent by the continuance of hot service, where the service was not alone amongst the foot in pursuing of the hill, but also about the hill without the wood, on the wings, the horse men furiously charged one another, being also well seconded by dragoniers and musketeers, that did come on fresh with the reliefs.
By one o'clock in the afternoon, Duke William of Weimar commanded me (being the first service I was on as Colonel) for my credit, to go towards the post on the hill, where the Grave Von Torn was shot, and to command those five hundred musketeers, I taking leave of my comrades went to the post, and finding the place warm at my coming, divers officers and soldiers lying bloody on the ground, I went first and ordered the soldiers on the post, to my judgment, as most to our advantage for our safeties and the harming of our enemies, and perceiving the enemy sometimes to fall out with small platoons of musketeers to give fire on us, and to spy our actions, returning again, as their powder was spent, to trap them the next time, I advanced a sergeant with twenty four musketeers, to lie in ambush to attend on their next out-coming, which they perceiving came out no more, but one single man to spy; I retiring again to my main reserve to direct others, sometimes standing, sometimes walking, and being taken notice of, as a chief officer, the enemy commanded out a single man, with a long piece, who from a tree aiming at me, shot me right above the haunch-bone, on the left side, which lighted fortunately for me on the iron clicket of my hanger, which cut close the iron away, taking the force from the bullet, which being battered flat with the iron entered not above two inches in my side, where I found, a little arms of proof being well put on most commodious, in preserving my life, by God's providence for that time.
Notwithstanding of this my hurt, finding myself in strength, though I lost much blood, I remained on my post till near night; my Lieutenant Colonel John Sinclair was sent with five hundred musketeers to relieve me, where I did bring off but the least number of my men, having lost near two hundred, besides those officers and soldiers that were hurt, and my Lieutenant Colonel brought off the next morning fewer than I did: for those who were not killed or hurt, being in the night, through plain fear they left him, so that at last he brought not off of his whole number above thirty, officers and all.
On this occasion a valorous young gentleman, being one of my captains, called Patrick Ennis, who having behaved himself well the whole time that he was on service, being commanded amongst strangers on another post than mine, a relief being come to relieve him, he went to show the post he was on to his comrade, and showing him where his sentries stood, then after, out of resolution to show more courage than was needful in open view of his enemy, florishing his sword, and crying aloud, Vive Gustavus, he was shot through the head, being much regrated by all his comrades. Likewise with him a young man Hector Monro Catvall's son, uncommanded voluntarily having taken a musket, and gone on service, he was shot alongst the brains, and lived a fortnight after, which shot was wonderful; for the side of his head that the bullet lighted on, the skull was whole, nevertheless, through his great torment, the chirurgian having made incision on the other side of his head, to see if the skull was whole, but being found splent on that side, so that his brains could be seen, his wound was uncurable.
Likewise on this day's service were killed on our side, General Major Boetins, Lieutenant Colonel Septer, Lieutenant Colonel Macken, Rut-master Morrits, Lieutenant Colonel Welsten, and divers inferior officers, and above twelve hundred soldiers, the Grave Von Erbach was also killed, and divers officers were hurt, as the Grave Von Ebersteene, the Grave Von Torn, Colonel Port, and of our countrymen under Spence his regiment, Captain Traile was shot through the throat; As also Captain Vausse, under Colonel Monro of Fowles his regiment, was shot in the shoulder, and the Colonel of the artillery, Leonard Richardson, with Colonel Erich Handson, being both Swedens with two lieutenant colonels were taken Prisoners.
Likewise on this service there were hurt of our soldiers above two thousand, which were put under cure in Nuremberg.
The officers killed of the Imperialists were, Colonel Jacob Fugger, Colonel Obdo Brandine, Colonel Von Maria de Caras, and above forty inferior officers, with twelve hundred soldiers, which they lost.
Likewise Wallenstein his horse, and Duke Barnard of Weimar's were both shot under them. The day thus passed, in the night for the most part, they lay quiet, and the day being come, I was commanded notwitstanding of my hurt, by Duke William of Weimar having attended on him the whole last night, to go and receive five hundred musketeers, for to bring off those had been all night on the post, being ordained to come off with them, and to make the retreat good; I being gone to receive the party come together, his Majesty coming by, and knowing I was hurt, commanded me to retire back with the party, and went himself to make the retreat wonderfully, bringing them off from all posts without one shot of musket or pistol, till we drew up the army again, within reach of cannon, so that there were killed to me of my own company three soldiers, and having removed a little further off, his Majesty drawing up the whole army in battle, horse, foot and artillery, there was presently order given for drawing out of a new leaguer, the draft whereof being finished, every brigade's quarter being known, we begun to work again, in sight of the enemy, till that in spite of him we were closed in ten days time within a fast leaguer again, which was strongly pallisaded without the graff, where we did lie without invasion in quietness to the sixth of September, that his Majesty perceiving the scarcity of victuals growing great from day to day, and the scarcity of forage; Therefore his Majesty resolved to take the start of his enemy, in being the first up-breaker, knowing assuredly he was not able to lie long after him.
The thirty-sixth Observation.
HERE we see, that nothing is more forcible to suppress the vaunting of an enemy, than a timely succours, as came here unto our army in despite of the enemy, who, before their coming, did mightily vaunt they would cut off our succours, before they could join with us really; and then they would with hunger, starve both the city and our leaguer, which hardly they could do, we being provided of good men to fight, as also of good entertainment to sustain our number. But the enemy feebly remaining within his works, though beyond us in number, we thundered on them with cannon, repaying their cannonading spent before Werben, the year before, on the Elbe. And it is thought, that the invention of cannon was found first at Nuremberg, for the ruin of man, being at first a long time used for battering down of walls and cities, and for counter-batteries; till at last they were used in the fields, to break the squadrons and battles of foot and horse, some carrying pieces called spingards, of four foot and a half long, that shot many bullets at once, no greater than walnuts, which were carried in the fields on little chariots behind the troops, and how soon the trumpet did sound the enemy was thundered on, first with those, as with showers of hail-stones, so that the enemies were cruelly affrighted with them, men of valour being suddenly taken away, who before were wont to fight valiantly and long with the sword and lauce, more for the honour of victory, then for any desire of shedding of blood: but now men are martyrized and cut down, at more than half a mile of distance, by those furious and thundering engines of great cannon, that sometimes shoot fiery bullets able to burn whole cities, castles, houses or bridges, where they chance to light; and if they happen to light within walls, or amongst a brigade of foot or horse, as they did at Leipzig on the Grave Von Torn his brigade, spoiling a number at once, as doubtless this devilish invention did within Wallenstein his leaguer at this time.
Likewise here we have set before us the revolution of human affairs, being ever inconstant, showing us that good fortune, luck, or chance, as they call it, is never still in one side: for his Majesty that formerly was alike fortunate with few, as with many, here though having a mighty strong army, he is crossed, being frustrate of his expectation, arising by the neglect of a small point of recognoscing, his Majesty having trusted too much to others wrong relation, that did not satisfy themselves; which made his Majesty contrary to his custom engage his army, and once being engaged upon slight intelligence, the reliefs went on so fast, the service being so hot for a time, that it was long before the loss was perceived, where it is to be pitied, that the error and fault of another should be made to posterity, as his Majesty's over-sight, by those that know no better: for though a king leading an army had Argus' eyes, yet it is impossible he should look unto all things himself. The fault of one here we see with the loss of many was irrecoverable, and he that before this day was the terror of the Empire, by his former success, being deceived with false intelligence, is thought to have overseen himself, the error of another being imputed unto his Majesty in losing so many brave fellows; which shoued teach others to be the more circumspect in recognoscing, before they should engage men in bringing them upon the shamble banks.
Here also we see, that his Majesty was was ever enemy to idleness: for he had no sooner brought off his army from pursuing his enemies, but incontinent he sets them again to work, for their own safeties, and that within reach of his enemies' cannon, to the end it might not be said, but he attended their out-coming, lest his army might be discouraged at a present retreat, after such a great loss, for if the service had continued, the whole army had been endangered; yet a valourous Captain, as our leader was, as he fears nothing entering on service, so he ought to set light by nothing, he sees tending to his prejudice, but ought timely to retire, with as little loss as he may: for it were a gross error to despise our enemies through too much confidence in ourselves; for some times by despising our enemies (as here) we make them the more valiant, and if they be ambitious, the more respect we give them, the less we need to fear them. And it is necessary, when an army doth get a clap, as we did here, then incontinent and with all diligence we should press to try our enemy again; wheresoever we can have any advantage, lest our enemy might judge us altogether to have yielded and given over, which were very dangerous.
The boldness of one bold fellow at first, being a leader may engage a whole army for want of judgement, as was done here going before this hill of Nuremberg, where as many were brought in danger, as did tread in the first leaders' paths, through lack of judgement, having been all of them more heady than wise; yet to dare being annexed unto virtue is the beginning of victory: nevertheless, a hasty man in an army, without judgement and discretion, is to be disallowed of, as well as a coward.
On my post under the hill, after I was shot, a sudden fear came amongst the soldiers, some thirty horse having suddenly come through the wood, as if they had been chased, the most part both officers and soldiers ran away, leaving me with a few number on the post, so that if the enemy had fallen out, I could not have escaped from being killed or taken; but as soon as they perceived, that I with the soldiers remained by me, had unhorsed and taken some of the horsemen, who were found to be friends, they being ashamed of their miscarriage retired, having accidentally rencountred with Hepbur's Captain Lieutenant, who brought them up again, whom I threatened to show his Majesty of their behaviours: nevertheless being loath to incur the hatred of a brave nation, for the misbehaviour of some unworthy fellows, their blemishes I pressed to cover: notwithstanding afterwards some of the officers amongst themselves came to a public hearing, having blamed one another, till the question and disgrace was taken away; by showing their particular courage in fighting one against another, whereof I kept myself free, suffering them to deal amongst them, being countrymen.
This kind of panic fear without cause doth betray many brave men, and divers good enterprises. And therefore all good commanders ought most carefully to look unto it, to avoyde the inconveniences incident unto the like, while as they lead either party or army. We once marching through a woode towards Frankfurt on the Oder, the White Regiment marching in the van, having a natural fool, that marched always before them, going within a bush, throwing off his clothes returning naked, and crying, he had seen the enemy, the whole soldiers of that brigade throwing down their arms, they ran back on the next brigade being Swedens, and they running also away, till they were holden up with pikes by our brigade, being the third, who having stood, and asked the reason of their running away; in end, being found a false, and a foolish alarm, the poor fool was pitifully cut and carved by the officers, for the soldiers phantastic fear, being a poor revenge for their cowardice, so that we see by the example of the third brigade, that the best remedy against such panic fears is not to fear at all; and none should lead armies, but those that are both wise and stout.