Thursday, 21 April 2011

William III and the European balance of power

In the Dutch history magazine Historisch Nieuwsblad as very nice article on William III and his role in establishing the balance of power in Europe by contesting the ambitions of Louis XIV of France: De grote bruggenbouwer

Written in a very pleasant style by Luc Panhuysen, who earlier wrote a book on the Disasteryear 1672. It is in Dutch only, unfortunately. A real pity for the non-Dutch readers, as this article puts several things of the period into a broader (European) perspective.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Treaty of Utrecht 1713

Last week, on April 11th, it was 298 years ago that the Treaty of Utrecht was signed, marking the official end of the War of Spanish Succession. The treaty provided in the division of the Spanish empire between the Habsburg and Bourbon contestants, England gained some new possessions like Gibraltar and Newfoundland, and the United Provinces were happy enough with the right to garrison several towns in the Austrian Netherlands (formerly Spanish), the so-called barrier towns.

The war between France and the Holy Roman Empire would continue for an extra year, however. This war was ended by signing of the treaty of Rastatt and the treaty of Baden.

Apparently, this event will be given a lot of attention in Utrecht in 2013: Vrede van Utrecht in 2013. Looking at that website it looks more like a cultural event and somehow the organiser came up with the "Utrecht principles".

It is hard to find a reference to the War of the Spanish Succession, and it is a pity that the organisers did not put more effort in the historical context. Now it is presented as if the Treaty of Utrecht

brought an end to a series of devastating wars that had claimed many millions of lives over a period of almost two centuries. This was the first time that peace had been achieved through diplomacy and dialogue.

(quoted from the website)

In my opinion the historical knowledge of the organisers is insufficient, certainly given the very immodest and pretentious presentation on the events in 2013. Possibly it is simply another excuse to organise a festival, and are they using some hollow sounding, but easily accepted, phrases to attract a large audience and give it some self-importance and self-justification.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Dixmuide and Deinze 1695

In early July 1695 the (2nd) siege of Namur started. This time the confederate forces under William III were the besiegers, and the French under the Duc de Boufflers were those under siege.

When all this took place, a French army under the Duc de Villeroi proceeded to Flanders with some 80,000 men. The capture of Nieuport failed, but Villeroi was successful in capturing the towns of Dixmuide and Deinze. Both within a few days, and without much resistance from the side of the garrisons. After this Villeroi proceeded towards Brussels, which he subjected to a destructive, and senseless, bombardment.

Despite agreements regarding the exchange of prisoners of war (or a subjective interpretation of them), the prisoners from Dixmuide and Deinze were moved to France. In reaction to this, the Duc de Boufflers was kept as prisoner (hostage) by William when the fortress of Namur surrendered late August 1695. He was exchanged later that year for the Dixmuide and Deinze prisoners.

As expected, William III was 'not amused' by the quick and easy surrender of the garrisons. The commander of the Dixmuide garrison, Johan Anton Ellenberg (also spelled as Ellenberger or Elnberger), who served in the Danish army and commanded a Danish regiments in English pay, was therefor sentenced to death in November. Other regimental commanders were cashiered or temporarily suspended for their part in the quick surrender.

The garrisons consisted of British, Dutch, Danish and German regiments. Literature is, however, a bit unclear on the non-British components; d'Auvergne seems to be most clear and informative. This resulted in the following overview of regiments.

William Lloyd's Regiment of Dragoons; Lloyd was no in Dixmuide
Richard Brewer's Foot (future 12th Foot); Brewer was suspended
Sir James Leslie's Foot (future 15th Foot); Leslie was cashiered
Lord Lorne's Foot (disbanded 1698); Lord Lorne was not present in Dixmuide
Sir Charles Graham's Foot (Of the Scots Brigade); Graham was cashiered
Regiment Auer (Dutch regiment in English pay); Auer was cashiered
Regiment Soutelande or Regiment Saint Amant (Dutch regiment; at present unknown which one was part of the garrison)
Regiment Ellenberg (a battalion detached from the Danish Prinds Christians (later Carls) Regiment, in English pay); Ellenberg was executed
Regiment Holle (a regiment from Brunswick in Dutch pay)

Francis Fergus O'Farrell's Foot (future 21st Foot); O'Farrell was cashiered
Regiment Scheltinga (Dutch regiment); Scheltinga was suspended

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Prussian troops in Anglo-Dutch pay 1709

Here a list of Prussian troops that were (partially) in pay of the Maritime Powers in 1709. We see the original corps of 1702, the Alte Korps of 1706, for which the Maritime Powers provided subsistence (i.e. bread and fodder, consuming large parts of annual budgets), and the Neues Korps that was in pay of the Maritime Powers from 1709 on, similar to the 1702 corps.

The list is taken from the work Die alte Armee von 1655 bis 1740 written by Curt Jany and part of the larger series Urkundliche Beiträge und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Preußischen Heeres published in the early 1900s.It can be found at the reknown!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Prints from the Anne S.K. Brown Collection

A collection of nice prints, drawings and watercolors at the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, part of the Brown University: Link!

For example, this nice hand colored print from the battle of Ramillies of 23 May 1706: