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Tan Fabt:— History of the War to the Down&Il of 
the Empire. 





Major P. C. H. CLARKE, C.M.G., RA., late D A.(pi.G. at Headquarters. 

Second Edititm. Beviaed and Corrected. 

PraUfd mdtr lit Smpariatsudatee of Ser Majt*l^$ StaUontry Q^Im, 


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In completing the translation of the first vohiine of 
the German Official Account of the Campaign of 1870-71, 
the translator would beg the indulgence of his readers 
for the many imperfections which are inherent in a work 
of this nature. Compiled, as the original has been, by 
officers of the German head-quarter staff, whoso reputa- 
tion with the pen is not less brilliant than that with the 
sword, and under the superintendence of Field Marshid 
Count V. Moltke himself, the account will ever remain a 
standard military classic of one of the most remarkable 
campaigns in the world s history. Although the translator 
feels that he has fallen far short of doing justice to the 
undertaking entrusted to him, he hopes that he has to 
some extent succeeded in his object, viz., that of giving 
a clear and accurate rendering of the German original, 
without any attempt at word-painting ; with the addition 
of su£5cient foot-notes to render the text intelligible 
without detracting from the originality of the work. 

The translator cannot refrain from taking advantage 
of the present opportunity to express lus deep obligations 
to Major General Walker, C. B., Her Majesty's Military 
Attach^ in Berlin, for the labour which he has bestowed 
in looking through the proof sheets and in suggesting 
many corrections and additions, an assistance doubly 
valuable from his knowledge of the German military insti- 
tutions, and from his having been attached to the Crown 
Prince's head-quarters throughout the campaign. 



Ajf XKOI^UvTIOIf .,(« •••• ..t< •••• •*•• •..• •••• <••• 

The French Army. Plan of operations and movements, 15th-3l8t July 10 
The Gernian Armies. Plan of oiieratioiLs and movements to the 3 1st 

Juiv a4 

^^ lAAT •■•• •••■ •••« ■••• •••• ••«• •••• •■•■ •••« f^^ 

Naval preparations to the 31st July 76 

Qeneral description of the ground for the first period of the Ccunpaign.... 83 

The Royal Head Quarters at Mainz 89 

Movement of the annies from the 1st to the 5th August 93 

1. The First Army. Action at Saarbrilcken on the 2nd August.... 93 

2. The Second Army .... .... .... .... .... .... .... 105 

3. Tlie Third Army. Action at Weissenbtirg on the 4th August.... 115 

Movements of the French Army from the 2nd to the 5th August .... 141 

The Battle of Worth on the 6tli Anmist 147 

The Battle of Spicheren on the Gth August 200 

The Retreat of Marshal MacMahon^s Army to Chalons and advance of 

the Ilird Aiiuy to the Moselle 255 

Movements of the army from the Sjiar to the Mo.selIc 271 

The Battle of Colombey-Nouilly on the 14th August .... 303 

The operations of the 1st and Ilnd Army on the 15th and 16th August 

uj) to the Battle of Vionville-Mara la Tour 339 

The Battle of Vionville-Mars la Tour 357 

The operations of the 1st and Ilnd Army up to the eve of the 18th 

AA-UIf %«9v ■»•• •••■ ••«• ■••> ■••• •••« «•■• •••• •«•• nl22 


Appendix I. Onler of battle of the Army of the Rhine, beginning 

of August, 1870 1* 

II. Proclamation of the Emperor Napoleon to the 

French nation, 23rd July, 1870 23* 

III. Proclamation of the Emperor Naix)leon to the army 24* 

IV. Distribution of the Geiman navy at the outbreak of 

V. Order of battle of the German armies on the 1st 
Auffust, 1870, under the su{>reme conmiand of 

H. M. King William of Prussia 27* 

VI. From the Royal Head Quarters 83* 

VII. Army order of the 4th Axigust, 1870 84* 

VIII. Order of march of the Vth, Xlth, and Ilnd Bavarian 

Army Gorpp on the 4th August, 1870 87* 

IX. Return of casualties in the action at Weissenburg .... 91* 

X. Disposition of the Ilird Army for the 5th August.... 94* 










Appendix XL Ordres de bataiUe and orden of nurch of the 

Qerman troopB engaged in the hattle of Wdrth, 
on the 6ih August, 1870 ^ 95* 

„ XII. List of casoaltieB in the Battle of W5rth ^ 101* 

Xni. Older of march of the two Infantiy Diviaiona of the 

Vllth Army Corps .... .^ 108 

XrV. Return of casualties in the action at Spicheren on 

the 6th August^ 1870 .,.. ^, 109* 

XV. Beturn of casualties in the Battle of Golombey- 

X^ mi 1 1 1 IT ...• .••• >.•• .•«• •*•• ••* * a A (9 

„ XVI. Despatch from General v. Steinmetz to Qeneral ▼. 

Manteuffel .... .... ••.. .... .m. .••• 121* 

^ XVII. D^patch from General ▼. Steinmetz to General ▼. 

Summer .... .... mm •••••«• mm 128* 

„ XV HI. Army order of Prince Frederic Charles mm m.. 188 

XIX. The capture of Flavigny in the battle of VionviUe- 

Mara la Tour .... .... .... 124* 

yy. Army order of Prince Frederic Charles, on the 16th 

August, 1870, 12 a.m. 126* 

XXL Beturn of casualties in the battle of VionviUe-Man 

Urn xour ••.. .••• ..a* ...« «..« «^^ A3R} 

XXII. Beturn of casualties in the expedition to Toul on the 

16th August.... , « 143* 



Page 168, line 16 from botiom 
It 159, linefl 11 and 12 from top 

On the eketoh facing p. 260 
Page 200, line 14 from top 

,y Sou N 26 „ 

,, 260 „ 6 from bottom 

Appendices : — 
Pages 113* and 114* 

For *' 2nd battalion" read let battalion. 

Should read " At Wdrth the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 
" 8th, and parts of the 11th oo. 87th Regi- 
" ment." 

'< Pf affendorf " should be *< Pfaffenhofen." 

For "Lieutenant Kurz" read "Lieutenant 

For " cuirassiers*' reetd " cavahfy." 

For ** Lnutcrbarh" read '* Luiitorburg.* 


The luuuc of '* Vice Sergt.-Major Borbstaedt** 
should be included among the wounded of 
the 3rd Grenadiers. 

The additions and corrections to the First Section were noted at the end of the 
Second Section of the work. They are reproduced here. 

Additions and Correci'ions to Fikst Section. 

N.B. — ^The earlier copies of the 1st Section ai-e paged with the text and 
appendix consecutively. It lias been since «)U8idei*ed desirable to 
page them independently, so «as to keep ilie text and appendix sepa- 
rate, and this has been done in the later copies, and will be so in 
futiu^. The appendices to the 1st Section should therefore be paged 
1* 2* 3*, &C. . . . . 82*. 

Page 26, line 16 from bottom 



„ 83 from top . . 



n 14 „ • • 



tt *■* tt • • 

For *Raoult'* read " Douay," and add "At 
" this time (end of July) Ducrot's Division 
" was alreaidy at Beichshoffen, and had 
** pushed forward detachments towards the 
" frontier." Correct Sketch 1 accordingly. 

For " Tauberbischofsheim'* read " Werlheim." 

For *< Belgian*' read " Luxemburg." 

For " to collect on the line Wadem-Losheim" 
read ''not to pass the line Wadem-Saar- 


Appendicf?« : — 

Page 121 or 39* foot note . . . . For " War ArtUlery ** read *' Corps Artillery." 

,f 122 or 40* To staff of Ilird Army Corps add Commander 

of Head-quarter Guard : 1st Lieutenant t. 
Liitsow, 12th Dragoons (reserre). 

124 or 42*, line 9 from bottom For " v. Roppert, 4th " read " v. Reppert, 6th." 

161 or 69* „ 12 „ For " 6th CaTolry Division" read " 4th0aTali7 


167 or 76* n 7 „ For " Major Oeneral Gundell ** read " Colonel 

Gundell." He was promoted Major Gene- 
ral on 18th January, 1871 . 

168 or 76* „ 20 „ For " ▼. Selle " read " Preiniticr." 

168 or 76* „ 4 from bottom For " One proWsion column " read ** A detach- 

" ment of a prorision column (with a wag- 
*' gon-park column) of the Ilnd Army 
** Corps and half a Sanitary, &c." 

160 or 78* „ 9 from top . . For " 1st Lieutenant v. Roon, Ac," read " 2nd 

*' Lieutenant Reichert, d6th Fusiliers." 

n 163 or 81* To staff of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg- 

Schwcrin add "Present at Head-quarters, 
** H.8.H. Duke of Saxe-Altenburg." 





With the fall of the First Napoleon the succession of great wars, 
which had convulsed the States of Europe and laid the foun- 
dation of a new order of things, came to an end. The '' General 
Congress " treaty of Vienna, from which this era dated, gave, 
however, no lasting satisfaction to the nations. 

Necessity and extreme danger had at times comi)elled the 
separate states of Germany to make common cause together, but 
the want of unity in their policy exerted a paralysing influence 
on the conduct of a campaign even so far back as the " War of 
Liberation/' and exhibited itself prominently iu tlie treaties of 
peace. On two occasions the German armies entered Paris as 
victoi*s without demanding from the vanquished the restoration 
of those lands which had been torn from the Empire in the time 
of its impotence. There was no lasting criterion of unity, no 
feeling of permanent security of the frontier for the German 
race, which for the fii'st time in the lapse of centuries asserted 
its place in the world as a Power ; but the consciousness of 
belonging to one common stock, though its influence was ignored 
in the policy of the country, abided in the nation. 

In France a republic and a monarchy had alternated, and in the 
monarchy different dynasties had prevailed. Tlic French nation 
had not, however, forgotten that but a short time previously they 
had governed half Europe. The important fortresses of Cologne 
and Antwerp had belonged to them, and in the hearts of the whole 
nation the idea of a re-conquest of the Rhine, fostered alike by 
historians and poets, was ever present. The fulfilment of this 
wish appeared merely a question of time. 

The wounds sustained by France herself in that era of military 
gi^atness were healed, her fame and prestige had endured. Far 
advanced in the arts and sciences, fertile in talent, and in their 
own opinion the pioneers of civilisation, Frenchmen esteemed 
success in arms of the first importance. 

Napoleon III. had to bear this aspiration in mind, njs the spell 
of his great uncle's name had helped him on the road to power. 

He brought about with consummate skill the entente cordiaUf 
when England sought an ally on the continent, and could not 
find one in disunited Germany. Allied with England he first 
unfurled his standard against Russia, which country on this 
occasion was rained by that vast extent of territoiy which had 
once been her safeguard. 

The French army .under Napoleon next fought in alliance 
with Italy and, ostensibly for Italy, against Austria, On this 

29982, A 2 

occasion the strife not only yielded honour and satisfaction to 
the army, but territorial acquisition, albeit at the expense of 
its otherwise indemnified ally. 

In neither campaign had France to put forth all her military 
force; both were directed against Powers wtiich lay beyond 
her frontiers. Even an unfortunate issue could hardly nave 
endangered the position of the Emperor. Towai'ds his imme- 
diate neighbours Napoleon III. observed a friendly and bene- 
volent policy as long as he remained master of his own 

France seemed satisfied. Her soil had not been trodden by 
hostile feet for more than fifty years. The country enjoyed a 
good administration and a high measure of matcncd prosperity. 
Excellent roads and canals facilitated commerce ; thrift, cleanli- 
ness, and indeed elegance pervaded even the cottages. Riches, 
luxury, and taste graced her triumph at the Paris Exhibition. 
The Tuilleries received the monarchs of Europe as guests, the 
Emperor's new year's speech constituted an event, and diplomacy 
watched his dictum on the political situation of the world. 

On the other hand, how unassuming the position of Germany, 
where all foreign policy was paralysed by the jealousy of Austria 
and Prussia, and who not so long ago had to submit to a 
humiliating peace with the most insignificant of her neighbours I 
* Germany could only lisc to political influence by the two great 
rivals coming to an understanding, or by the subordination of one 
of them to the other. 
/ Even their union in a common campaign against Denmark 
was a matter for reflection, whilst the struggle in which they 
soon afterwards turned their arms against one another might be 
attended with consequences of the greatest moment to France. 
Again, the hope was perhaps cherished that, fairly matched in 
point of numbers, Austria and Prussia would mutually exhaust 
one another, and that an intervention might then bring some 
fresh advantage. But France was not prepared for so rapid and 
so complete an overthrow of Austria. 

This event was the move unwelcome to the Imperial Cabinet, 
as the somewhat quixotic campaign in Mexico, which not only 
exhausted the I'CHources of France, but also laid bare great defects 
in her organisation, had come to an end ; defects not indeed 
apparent to the world, in whose eyes the lustre of France, in 
spite of her ill success, remained undimmed ; nor to the nation, 
to whom the truth was not revealed, — ^but to the kedn-sighted- 
Emperor and his confidential advisers. 

The French, who hoped to gain possession of the Rhine and 
Belgium as the result of the strife oetween the Germans, seem 
scarcely to have calculated upon the King of Prussia's deter- 
mination never to consent to <any such arrangement, or oven to 
I yield a single German village. It was unintelligible to them that 
i frermany should presume to decide its own destiny. They 
demanded "Vengeance for Sadowa," while France had done 
nothing to avert Sadowa. 

In order to pander to the self-love of the French nation, the 
Loxembiirg question was raised. But Prussia, who wished to 
preserve peace so long as it was consistent with her honour, 
showed the greatest moderation. The doubtful ri^htof garrison* 
ing Luxemburg was exchanged for its iieutitiTisation. This 
diplomatic success, however, did not satisfy the French. The fame 
inanns of their lightly esteemed neighbour was taken as an 
affront,.and in order to avenge it the Cirsar hesitated to draw 
his sword. North Germany was now more consolidated, and had 
extended her influence over the Main. The last moment seemed 
to have aiTived if the supposed sympathies of South Germany 
were to be turned to account. The victory of the French aims 
— everyone believed — could not be doubtful, the resolution of the 
authorities was alone wanting. The Opposition raised its head 
in a threatening way, and even part of the army gave vent to its 
diq)leasure in the plebiscite. 

Under these circumstances the Emperor thought he must make 
concessions, and selected the advisers of the crown fioni the ranks 
of the Opposition. 

But much as he availed himself of the services of the Left in 
doing this the experience of all times was coufirmed once raorc-^ 
that the most liberal member of the Opposition, when minister, is 
looked upon as reactionaiy by those who go Iw^yond him in Radical 
policy. A diversion in foreign politics, so often resorted to under 
these circumstances, seemed at length the only counterpoise to 
the continual pressure of the parties at home. 

There is no greater misfortune to a country than a weak 
Government. The power of the Emperor and his dynasty 
seemed to be in the balance owing to the pressure of the Liberals, 
who represented the national honour as in danger. The minis- 
ters believed that they could only hold out by overbidding this 
party. In any case the Government stood in need of some 
new and great success, and it was certain that a conflict with 
Prussia would find most sympathy with the prevailing feeling in 
the country. A pretext was therefore sought for a rupture with 
this State, and found, for want of a better one, in the affair of the 
succession to the Spanish throne. 

On the 3rd July 1870, the first communication on the subject 
was forced into notice by the " Havas Correspondence," that the 
Spanish ministry had resolved to elect the hereditary Prince 
Leopold of Hohenzollem as their king, and that a deputation had 
been despatched to Germany to offer him the Spanish crown. 

A communique to the " Constitutionnel " announced that it 
had been accepted, and expressed astonishment at seeing the 
^sceptre of Charles V. placed in the hands of a " GeiTnan prince." 

On the same day the French Chargd d' Affaires, Le Sourd, appeared 
in the Foreign Office at Berlin, to express the feelings of pain 
which this intelligence had evoked in Paris. The only answer 
that could be given was that the question was Spanish and not 

The circumstances, in point of fact, were that the Spaniards 
bad selected a catholic prince related alike to the King of 

>0 s, 

Prussia and the Emperor of France for the tfaronCi and had 
entered into the necessary negociations dii'ectly "with him. This 
interested the King as a family matter, but it was no subject 
for communication to the Qovernment either of Prussia or of 
the North German Confederation. Any dealings with foreign 
powers must be left to Spain herself. 

The Prussian ambassador in Paris had previously received leave 
to go to Ems, and the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Due 
de Qi-amont, begged him to describe to the King, who was there 
on a visit, the excitement which agitated the French nation. 

On the 5th July Deputy Cochery brought forward a question 
in the Corps L^gislatif, which the Due de Gramont answered in 
the most peculiar fashion. He declared that he was not privy to 
the negociations which had taken place between Marshal Prim 
and the Prince of Hohenzollern ; he declared emphatically that 
it was not their duty to meddle with the internal affairs of the 
Spanish nation, in tlie exercise of its own sovereignty. " We 
shall continue to watch this proceeding," he continued; ''but 
'' we do not think that deference to the rights of a neighbour- 
" ing nation binds us to suffer a foreign Power to disturb the 
" present equilibrium of Europe to its advantage, by placing 
" one of its princes on the throne of Charles V." 

If a French interest was really endangered by the candidature 

;of the Prince of Hohenzollern, why were not the good services of 

t^ a friendly power, Prussia for example, called in with a view to 

mediation 7 But this plan was never once tried. 

>^ The words of the Due kindled a spark ; a storm of applause 

sfoUowed. There was no time for remarking either that the 

^beginning and ending of his speech were contradictory, or 

that the threat conttaned in it now rendered any adjusbnent 


The threat in reality should have been directed against Spain ; 
but as this would yield no satis£a*ction for Sadowa to the 
Government and to public opinion, Prussia was substituted by a 
veiy clumsy change of front 

In vain the Spanish ambassador declared in Paris on the 
8th July that all negotiations with General Prim had passed 
directly with the Prince of Hohenzollern, and not through the 
Prussian Government. The press fanned the flame according to 
its wont, and instead of enlightening the people did homage to 
their emotions. '' The caudme forks are reaqy for the PiTissians," 
>n»ote the " Pays '* on the above-mentioned date ; " they will bend 
'' under them, and will be vanquished and disarmed without a 
'' struggle, unless they venture to accept battle ; the issue of 
" which cannot be questioned. Our war-cry is as yet un- 
** answered. The echoes of the German Rhine are still mute. 
" Had Prussia spoken as France now speaks, we should long ere 
" this have been on the mai*ch." 

Such was the language used in France auiid the applause of the 
people and of the Government before the first step was taken to 
bring about an explanation of the matter. 

Count Benedetti, on the 9th July, requested and received 

« ' % •» 

audience of the King of Prussia, then staying in Ems. He 
requested that His Majesty would condemn the resolution taken 
by the Prince of Hohenzollern without his previous permission, 
and order him to withdraw from it. 

To this the King answered that in his capacity of supreme 
head of the family he had neither given him any order to accept 
it, nor would he give him any order to refuse it. 

On the 11th the same demand was renewed in a raoro pressing 
manner, and refused once more with the intimation tluit the 
Prince was perfectly free to form his own resolutions. 

At this stage of the negotiations a despatch from the Prince 
of HohenzoUem-Sigmaringen of the 12th July announced, tlmt 
he, in the name of his son then travelling, withdrew his candi- 

The Spanish ambassador notified this in Paiis on the same 

The object which France had sought to attain by pursuing a 
wrong course, was now actually fulfilled by this declaration. 
Ijut l^such a simple arrangement did not satisfy tlio French 
Government. Apparently it was no longer complete master of 
its own resolutions, and required a brilliant triumph to satisfj' 
the public opinion which it had itself aroused, f 

Altliough the Due de Gramont had once assured the English 
ambassador that the voluntiiry withdrawal of the Prince would be 
sufficient to jcompromise the rupture, the *'Moniteur" now said 
that the qi^estion must be widened, and that the renunciation of 
the Prince would be no longer sufficient. The latter, Gramont 
declared to the Prussian ambassador, he looked u})on as a secondary 
matter, as Fnince would under no circumstjinces have suffered the 
succession to the throne. lie fe;ued that Hmj action of Prussia 
would sow the seeds of a lasting dissatisfaction between the two 
countries^ and submitted for consideration that a document 
addressed by the King to the Emperor might give an outlet ; 
the document to run somewhat as follows : — " That his Majesty, 
** by empowering the Prince to accept the crown, could not have 
'* believed that he would so closely trench upon the interest 
" and dignity of the French nation ; the King would add to 
*' this disclaimer the wish and hope that every ground for a 
" rupture between the two Govemmenis would now disai)pear.*' 
The letter was to contain expressions to this effect, Avhich on being 
nr)ised abroad would conduce generally to appease public oj)inion, 
and it was also recommended that the relationship of the Prince 
to the Emperor should not be alluded to, as this argument 
would be particularly offensive to France. 

In explanation the Minister of Justice, M. Ollivier, came for- 
ward and remarked that the Hohenzollcrn-Spanish affair had 
excited the nation far more than it had occupied the Emperor. 

Both French dignitaries declared in a naive way that their 
ministerial position dci)ended upon the proposed plan of adjust- 

How little was Gramont acquainted with the character of 


King William when he presumed to expect that the Prussian 
ambassador would recommend his sovereign to write a document 
of such a character ! 

At noon on the 13th the King received confirmation of the 
Prince's renunciation of the throne, and at once sent Prince 
Badziwill, one of his aides-de-camp, to Count Benedetti to inform 
him that he now considered the matter arranged. 

But on the evening previously the French Cabinet had tele- 
graphed to the Count " It is necessary that the King . . . should 
" assure us that he will not again authorise this candidature." 

In consequence of this the ambassador again appeared, 

demanding that the King should give his distinct assurance that 

he never would give his consent, should the question of the sue- 

• cession to the Spanish throne be at any time revived. This 

' demand, which was repeatedly renewed, was definitely declined. 

When Count Benedetti a few hours later sought a second 
• .( audience on the same subject, he was referred to the routine 
, channel of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. 

All that had passed up to this time in the personal intercourse 
of the monarch and the ambassador was of a private nature, 
and could not bo of international import. As yet no communi- 
cation whatever had been made to His Majesty's Government 
by the French Government, 
14th July. Count Benedetti left for Paris on the 14th July, and upon 
\ doing so the King, in token of his personal esteem, afforded him 

the opportunity of taking leave of him at the railway station. 

; ,; The proceedings of the French Cabinet are without parallel in 

I , ^ diplomatic intercoui*se. They commenced with a threat, then 

^' '^' \ went on to an attempt at an explanation, and in doing so 

imposed conditions which left no choice but humiliation or 


The order for calling in the French reserves dates from 3 p.m. 
on the 14th July. It was, however, postponed on account ot 
a six-hour council presided over by the Emperor. In this con- 
ference they deliberated upon "a collective mediation of the 
great Powers," but in consequence of the reports which anived 
during the night, the calling out of the reserves was finally 
decided upon early on the loth. On the same day the bills 
necessary for a war were brought before the Senate and the 
legislative body. 

They demanded : 

A preliminary credit of 66 millions of francs. 

A law calling out the Garde Mobile. 

A second law authorising the enlistment of recruits for the 

duration of the war, according to the conditions prescribed 

in the law on recruiting. 

It was now necessary to justify all these measures in the eyes 
of the nation, and, above all things, to appeal to their feelings in 
doing so. 

The refusal of a second audience was repi^esented as a personal 

affront to the French ambassador, although the latter was in 
perfect ignorance of the fact. The Prussian ambassador's leave, 
granted long before the commencement of any complications, 
was to be looked upon as bis recall in the middle of the 

The Prussian preparations were said to have commenced on 
the night of 13-14tli, when not a soul dreamt of war being so 

They asserted that the other Powers had acknowledged the 
justice of the French demands with more or less wai-mth, although 
Lord Lyons had not concealed his regret at the hesitation on 
the part of the French ministry to accept the withdrawal of the 
Prince as a settlement of the pending question. 

The ministerial proposals met with little resistance in the 
Legislative Assembly. A very weak opposition sought to place 
the affair in its proper light, but even this party inclined to the 
opinion that an opportunity must be sought — for receiving 
satisfaction for Sadowa. 

The contention was only as to the opportunity ; the fault of 
1866 must not be repeated [in 1870. M. Thiers, who, in his 
Histoiy of the Empire, had done more than any other man 
towai*ds accustoming the French to look upon the Rhine frontier 
as an outstanding claim, deemed only the moment for its prefer- 
ment ill-chosen, and demanded the production of the despatches 
on which the determination for war had been based. M. Jules 
Favre joined in this demand, and the documents in question were 
laid before a commission selected by the chamber, upon whose 
report the Senate unanimously, and the legislative body with a 
large majority, ratified the proposals of the Government amid 
the plaudits of the people. 

No less a sum than, 

440 millions for the War Ministry, 
GO millions for the Navy, and, 
5 millions for the Treasury, 
was granted on the 18th and 19th. 

In the Empire 16 Departments only voted for war without 
I reserve ; 34 were against it, and in 37 Departments opinioas 
, L JKfire divided. 

But in France a word coiTies as much weight as a deed. 
« J , Frenchmen congratulate one another on the delivery of a speech, 
and the inspiriting elocution which appeals to the honour of the 
7 nation may impel even discreet persons to the most rash conclu- 

sions. In the existing centralisation the provinces involuntarily 
follow the impulse from the capital, whether for revolution or 
for war. 

Napoleon III. appears to have played a passive part, it might 
almost be said the part of a man without any tenacity of 
piupose, throughout the whole affair. 

King William had an opportunity of satisfying himself of the 
nature of the impression which the whole conduct of the French 




Government had made on his people when he returned from Ems 
on the 15th July to fierlin, where the joy was unanimous that 
the monarch had repelled the unprecedented demands of their 
overbearing neighbour. 

Owing to the unexpectedly rapid course of events the Cro^vn 
Prince, accompanied by the Minister-President, the War Minister, 
and the Chief of the General Staff, went to meet the King, so 
that no time should be lost in carrying His Majesty's commands 
into effect. Telegraphic news of the foregoing proceedings in Paris 
had reached the railway station in Berlin. War now appeared 
unavoidable, and the resolution immediately formed to accept it 
was hailed by crowds of people of eveiy rank and age with 
long-continued acclamations. The German nation had sincerely 
wished for peace ; it had been suddenly startled from a state 
of tranquil security, but the honour of the Fatherland was held 
dearer than any other consideration. Any hesitation at this 
moment would have made Prussia unwortli}^ of taking the lead 
of Germany. 

The judicious and exhaustive repoi-ts of the French Military 
Attach d in Berlin, Lieutenant-Colonel Baron Stoffel, should have 
left no doubt in the mind of the French- Government that Ger- 
many was fully able to take up the proferred gauntlet. The War 
Minister, Le Bceuf, on his part declared that '' France is doubly 
ready." The Minister, Ollivier, protested tliat he would take 
upon himself the responsibility of the war with a light heart, as 
France had been forced into it. It appeal's that their only 
concern was not to allow any oppoiimiity to slip by. 

The preparations in France had been scarcely commenced, and 
no army was collected, when the French Charg^ d'Affaires 
presented the declai-ation of war on the 19th July. 

The French Army. — Plan of Operations and Movements. 

15th to 31st July. 

Owing to the surprising success of the Prussian arms in 186G, 
public attention in France had been turned to their own forces, 
and a book by General Trochu, in which great defects in the 
organisation of the French armj^ wei*e pointedlj*^ exposed and 
laid bare, naturally excited general sensation. 

The Emperor entrusted the energetic and intelligent ^Tarshal 
Kiel, just then appointed Wai* Minister, with the drawing up of a 
new military code. This code, dated the Ist February 1808, was 
based in many respects on the Prussian organisation, the main 
principles of which were altered to suit the ^^eculiar characteristics 
of the French. 

According to it, the armed forces were to consist of active 
army, reserve, garde nationale mobile, and navy. 

The object of the reserve was to reinforce the field army, 
to garrison fortresses, and foim depdt troops, whilst the Oarde 


Natioualc Mobile was only iateiuled to coinpleto the garrisous 
of home fortresses and form a reserve to the army. 

The obligation to service already established in principle was 
carried into effect by limiting the legal exemptions ; substitution, 
however, was allowed to remain, and prcniiunis alone were 

The duration of the time of service was extended to nine years 
in tlie active army, of which live years were reckoned ^vith the 
colours and four with the reserve. Men included in the last 
category could only be called in by an imperial dcci^ee when there 
was any danger of war. 

The old distribution of the yearly contingcn into "fii-st" 
and " second *' j>o?*^io?i was retained ; but as presumably the 
number of re-cngagcmcnts would diminisli by doing aw-ay with 
the premiums, they endeavoured, in order to be sure of the effec- 
tive numbers, to augment the number of the ^^ first poiiion " at 
the expense of the " second portion.'* The latter, as a rule, served 
only five months, spread over three yeai-s, but it remained at all 
times at the disposal of the War Minister. 

This reorganisation could not be computed until tlio con- 
tingent of 1875 was called in, when the army on a war footing 
would have been brought up to a normal strength of 800,000 
men, including 120,000 of the " sccorul ]ioriion'' By tlie same 
date the Garde Nationale Mobile would have cr)nsistod of 500,000 
men. France could, it is true, raise a ycaily contingent of more 
than 300,000 men, yet we must deduct one third of them for men 
unfit for service, and 1 4 per cent, for those legally exempt, so that 
the effective contingent for the army and garde mobile amounted 
to little more than 172,000 mea 

The latter troops could in peace time only be called in for 15 
days each year, and only for one day's training at a time. But, 
as men on this one day would have to travel several miles to 
the rendez\'0us, clothe and equip themselves when they got there, 
and then go through a day's training, the arrangement could not 
be of any real advantage. 

Mai-shal Le Boeuf, successor to Marshal Niel, who was snatched 
by death fi-om his work of reorganisation, soon perceived the 
necessity of abandoning this measure. 

In consequence of this, in 1870, the cadres for 150,000 to 180,000 
Garde Mobile were but partially in existence, those more especially 
in Paris and in the Departments of the noiih and north-east. 

Towards the middle of July 1870, according to the best French 
authorities, the strength of the army, inclusive of the 1869 con- 
tingent, which would not be enrolled before the 1st August 1870, 
amounted to 567,000 men.* 

* According to Martin de Fallii^res 564,748 men (actiye army and reserve). 


Of these there were with the colours, indusiye of 82,490 men 
forming the 1868 contingent^ 

398,500 men 
In the reserve - - - 61,000 

The '^ second portion " inclusive 

of the 1868 contingent - 112,600 


Total . - ,667,000 



In the foregoing the following were included : — 
Non-effectives (discipline and re- 
mount companies, tradesmen, 

&c.)- - - - 60,000 

Gensd'armes ... 24,000 

Dep6to - - - 28,000 

Home garrisons - - 78,600 

Algeria ... 50,000 

Total - - 230,600 



which, if deducted from the firat total, leaves a field army of 
nbout 836,000 men, which number almost exactly agrees witli 
that fixed upon by the Prussian General Staff before the war, 
who had calculated that France would be able to place in the 
field an army of 343,000 men. 

In consequence of the mobilisation of the French taking place 
at the frontier and the reserves being clothed at dep6ts away 
from their regiments, and, lastly, owing to the confusion which 
prevailed, neither of these numbers was really attained. 

The forces were formed in peace according to the different arms 
of the service. Their strength was as follows : — 

I. Guard. 

InfiEtntry — 3 Grenadier regiments of 3 battaliona 

4 Voltigeur „ 3 „ 

1 Zouave „ 2 „ 

1 Rifle battalion. 
Cavalry— 1 Cuirassier regiment -' 

1 Carbineer „ 

1 Lancer „ 

1 Dragoon „ 

1 Guide „ 

1 Mounted Rifle,, 

Aitillery— 1 mounted i-egiment ^ 1 Of six batteries eadi 
1 Horse Artillery regiment/ "* ^ »>atteries eacli. 

Total - - 24 battalions. 

24 squadrona 
72 guns. 

* ThlB number (four sqiutdronf ) was in all probability repeatedly ezeeeded. 

>- Of four squadrons eacb.^ 

>"0f 4 squadrons. 


11. Line. 

Infantry — 100 regiments of 3 battalions. 
20 rifle battalions. 
3 Zouave re^ments of 3 battalions. 
1 Algerian light-infantry regiment of 3 battalions 

3 Algerian rifle regiments of 3 battalions. 
1 Foreign regiment of 3 battalions. 

Cavalry— 10 Cuirassier regiments 

12 Dragoon „ 

8 Lancer „ 

12 Mounted rifle regiments 
8 Hussar „ 

4 African rifle „ 
3 Spahis „ 

Artillery — 16 Mounted regiments of 12 batteries.* 

4 Horee-artilleiy regiments of 8 batteries. 

Engineers — 3 regiments. 

Total of the mobilised lino troops, exclusive of garrison 
batteries :— 

344 battalions. 
228 squadrons. 
912 guns, and 
3 regiments of engineers. 

Which gives a total field army of 

368 battalions. 
252 squadrons. 
984 guns and 

3 regiments of engineers. 

For this field army there was an abundance of war material at 
hand, and part of it in exceedingly good order. 

The infiintry possessed an excellent arm in the Chassepdt rifle, 
combining long range with flat trajectory. 

On the 1st July the total number of Chassepot rifles available 
was 1,037,655, consequently, deducting the 30,000 rifles handed 
over to the navy, there were more than three times the required 
number available for the field aimy. The small arm factories 
could also turn out, in addition, a monthly supi)ly of 30,000 stand 
of arms. 

Each infantry soldier canicd ^'90 rounds ; every two com* 
panics had a two-wheeled cart, Avhich can*ied 24 rounds more per 
man, and besides these there would be 40 I'ounds per man with 
the columns. 

* Of these, howeyer, only 8 batteries per regiment were mobilised ; generally 
speaking, 1 to 4 remaned behind as batteries for garrison service (sorties). 


The field artillery was just as abundantly provided with 
mat^eL It numbered on the let July 1870 — 

S,216 4-pi*-9 8-pr., and 12-pr. guns (la Hitte system). 
581 rifled 4pr. (mountain guns). 
190 mitrailleuses. 

Total 3,987 rifled guns, with 3,175 field-carriages, 7,435 am- 
munition waggons, or sufficient mat^el for 500 batteries of G 
guns each. 

As there were also 5,379 smooth bores, 3^554 carriages, and 
4,627 ammunition waggons availabley 360 additional batteries, 
although smooth bore, could have been equipped. But there 
were only sufficient teams and men at hand for the 164 batteries 
of the field army, and of these 10 batteries were still in Algeria 
and Civita Vecchia when the war broke out ; consequently only 
924 guns, inclusive of the mitrailleuse batteries, could really take 
the field at the end of July. 

The Emperor^ in spite of all the interest he had taken in 
artillery matters, had not been fortunate in the adoption of the 
La Hittc system, and in a very sliort time tiie superiority of the 
system adopted by Prussia became evident. The mitrailleuse 
iMt^tteries, so carefuUy kept secret, never realised the expectations 
which had been entertained of them. 

The half organised Garde Mobile was deficient in almost every 
respect as an army reserve. 

For the present all that could be expected was the show they 
would make as large masses of in&ntry. 

For their equipment the foUowing breech-loaders were avail- 
able : 

342,115 conveited percussion rifles (k tabati^re), of very 

doubtful value, and as second and third reserve. 
1,673,734 rifled, 315,667 smooth bore, muzzle-loading 
percussion arms, quite unsuited for the armament of 
an army. 

There was nothing in store for clothing and equipping a 
second army for the field, its artilleiy and cavalry would have to 
be newly raised. 

Consequently they had to trust almost entirely to the field 
army at first, and its organisation was not well adapted for a 
rapid transition firom the peace to the war formation. The form- 
ation by corps only obtiuned with part of the army, viz., tlie 
Guard, the Algerian troops, the armies of Paris and Lyons, and 
the troops temporarily organised at the camp of Clid^lons. On 
the outbreak of war the larger units of troops composing the 
corps had, as a rule, to be fonned by combining the separate 
regiments, and it was necessary to organise the stafis anew, so 
that the whole war organisation was not called into existence 
until the critical moment had amved. 

Military administration was in the highest degree centra- 
lised, and hence, as well as by charging it with judicial duties, 
overwhelmed with business. Army Corps and Divisions had 


no Intendance in peace, and were thus deprived of its media- 
tory functions. As a consequence, the equipment materiel was 
concentrated at a few places in time of peace. Stores of trans- 
port carriages were accumulated at Vernon and Chateauroux, 
depots of camp-equipment had been formed principally at Paiis 
and Versailles. Rapid distribution to the diflFerent corps from these 
depots, on a general mobilisation, was a work of extraordinary 

On mobilisation, the men to complete the establishments 
ought, according to Marshal Niel's .plan, to join their regiments 
on the ninth day, if they happened to be stationed at the dei)6ts 
from whence they received their clothing. 

As each battalion gave up two of its eight companies to form 
the 4th or dep6t battalion, each battalion required 250 reserves 
to bring it up to the war strength. 

Niel further calculated that the troops could, by calling in the 
reserves by telegraph, be at their stations in readiness to march 
on the twelfth day. 

As the order was issued on the 15th the necessary transport 
for the troops should have l)een ready by the 28th JiUy. But 
even witli a well-regulated mobilisation this could scarcely be 
expected, when only 35 out of 100 infantry regiments were in 
the same garrison with their depfits on the outbreak of the 
war. For example, the 87th regiment was at Lyons, while 
its depot was at St. Malo ; the 98th regiment was garrisoning 
Dunkirque, but its depot was at Lyons. In consequence of these 
circumstances every soldier, not actually serving with the colours, 
even if he was in the district where his regiment was quartered, 
had to be first forwarded to his depot, find when clothed to be 
again conveyed back to his legiment. 

The different depots could not be supplied in time witli many 
articles of equipment and the necessary trains, as they were also 
concentrated in a few stores ; moreover, by the general centralisa- 
tion which prevailed, a special order from the War Ministry 
was necessary for the issue of arms and many other necessary 

The difficulties would be still fuither increased by the 
regiments not remaining stationary until their mobilisation ; 
and yet the course was adopted of transporting the troops 
straight from their garrisons to the points of assembly of the 
corps on the frontier. 

The cavalry and artillery establishments being on a Ijirger scale 
from spring to autumn, re<iuired a proportionally small reinforce- 
ment at this time, which was an important circumstance with 
regard to the supply of hoi'ses. 

The Guard Artilleiy and the four regiments of Hoi-se Artillery 
had all their batteries (the former 12, the latter 32), horsed in 
time of peace, whilst the 12 batteries of each of the 15 regiments 
of artillery were for the most part provided with trained hoi-ses, 
and only required additional horses for the ammunition park. 
A 4-pr. battery in each infantry Division was converted into a 


mitrailleuse battery by substituting a mitrailleuse barrel. 25,000 
to 30,000 animals, chiefly draught horses and mules, were 
purchased, and when a few reserves were drawn in (a cavalry 
regiment requires 156 men to make 'up its number) these two 
arms were in a condition to take the field, and were moreover 
mainly quartered in the north and north-east. 

To form the depot, the No. 8 companies of the second and 
third battalions of the line regiments were assigned as a 
nucleus, and this was then raised to four companies by the 
formation of two new ones, whilst the fourth battalions were 
formed of all the No. 7 companies and No. 8 company of the 
first battalion. The personnel of the Custom House (Dowane) 
was formed into bivttalions and assigned to the military sub- 
divisions, and the Qarde Nationale Mobile of the three first 
Army Corps, and of the Departments of the Seine (noith and 
north-east) were incorporated with tliese newly-formed bodies 
of troops. 

The National Guard was iu a very primitive condition, 
weak in organisation and of little real use. Numerous appoint- 
ments of company and battalion commanders were now made 
for the fii>it time, some of the oiticers being detailed fiom the line 
for that purpose ; but these battalions were only ordered to be 
formed into regiments, brigades, and Divisions on the 18th July. 
In fact this reserve was a mere heap of anned men in unifonn, 
only suited at the best to fight behind walls. 

The inteinal state of the army laboured under many serious 

Even in the opinion of their own countrymen the French 
soldier at the outbreak of the war was not what he had been in 
the Crimean war and in Italy; the law on re-engagements, 
exemptions, and endowments had had a prejudicial influence 
upon him. This law permitted an excessive number of substitutes ; 
for instance, in a contingent of 75,000 men in 1869, there were 
42,000 substitutes, and experience showed that the quality of 
those men gi*ew worse with the long service. Long extended 
furloughs, formerly unknown, were also stated to be disadvan- 
tageous to military discipline. 

It might be added that the non-commissioned officers had 
lost their former high position. In many regimenti thei'e 
were non-commissioned officers who had performed tlie functions 
of that rank for 11 yeara and upwards, without prospect of 
advancement or relief from the existence whicli they had 
sacrificed to their country in an almost tmiuterrupted succes- 
sion of active service. Consequently many good men sought 
more remunerative occupation in civil employment. The corps 
of officers was equally deficient in homogeneity. Nearly one- 
third consisted of former non-commissioned officers. 

Whereas the junior officers did not devote their entire abilities 
to the service, the older subaltern officers were a marked contrast 
to them. They constituted as a body the best element of the army, 
uniting abundant experience and valuable personal qualities, 



which Imd beon matured in the various campaigns under the 
Empire. And although the prevailing favouritism, extended even 
to persons of tarnished reputation, very naturally disgusted them, 
and opened out very little prospect in the future, yet this class 
had been making rapid strides professionaly ever since 1866. 
and it was these officers chiefly who, on the battle jBelds of France, 
sought to redeem with their life-blood those errors for whicli they 
were in nowise responsible. 

The same element of favouritism had also raised into high 
positions many men who were unequal to tlieir duties, exerciwing 
its disastrous influence here as it ever will. 

In these matters the side taken in politics was jualnly considered. 
Owing to the constant change in the form of Government, that 
loyalty and attachment to a lineal dynasty whicli in other 
countries avert serious dangers to the public well-being, had 
ceased to exist both in the army and in the nation. The French 
officer and even the private soldier serves his country, and sei'ves 
it with submission and devotion, but he does not cleave to the 
changing form of the head of the State with that lively sense of 
duty which sacrifices all its strength in an unconditional sub- 
mission to authority. 

The French officer and the French nation are animated by a 
high and in many respects an excusable confidence, but at the same 
time they are too apt to depreciate others. Thoir whole education 
tends to inculcate tlie conviction that France is far ahead of all 
other countries. When the pupil from St. Cyr paces the gilded 
saloons of Versaillefj, his eyes rest almost exclusively upon pictures 
of battles, in all of which the French were victorious. One after 
another come the heroes who have borne the oriflamme, the 
banner of the fleur-de-lis, the eagle, or the tricolor — still the 
emblems of France — to nearly every capital of the world. So 
with the French history of the wars — a history of unbroken 
triumphs, an epic in which misadventure is only to be accounted 
for by secondary and accidental circumstances, or by treachery. 
Search after truth does not repay the trouble ; to acknowledge it 
would be unpatriotic. 

No wonder then that the young officer troubles himself little 
about foreign countries, their language and institutions. 

The French had scarcely a conception of the revolution which 
two campaigns had effected in the sentiments of the German race — 
of the feeling of a common nationality never again to be repressed 
— and they have been completely surprised at finding an enemy 
worthy of their steel. Only a few clear-sighted men believed that 
they had anything to learn in the military institutions of foreign 
countries. Among these was Marshal Niel, who exerted himself 
not only to assimilate French organisation to the military system 
of Prussia, but also to introduce its formations for battle. The 
weak French battalion of at most 800 men formed in six companies 
was, it is true a scarcely successful application of the company 

S998S. B 


column. The battalion must be adhered to as the unit, and the 
independent action of the company commanders discouraged. 

The excellence of the French infantry rifle, and perhaps also 
the character of the branch of the service to which the Marshal 
belonged, might have induced him to attach a preferential value 
to the defensive and its advantages in respect of effect of fire ; 
but it was little in harmony with French ilan. The War 
Ministry Regulations of 1867 and 1868 lay down ''the defensive " 
as the rule, and only permit an advance to the attack when the 
enemy is more or less shattered by the continuation of the 
struggle. Hasty eiitrencliment of the selected position certainly 
lessens the losses in the earlier stage of the engagement, but 
impedes freedom of movement as it progressea 

The employment of large cavalry reserves during the course of 
the battle, as used by Frederick the Great and iTapoleon I., is 
rejected in the " Observations ** as no longer applicable to present 
tactics ; but they nevertheless assign an independent action to 
this arm in advance of the battle field. Tet it needed special 
orders from the Emperor and Mai^shal Bazaine to induce the 
cavalry to reconnoitre the ground, even for a distance of a few 

The artillery, in which all the detachment is carried, exhi- 
bited a high degree of manoeuvring power and mobility ; but 
this advantage was prevented from bearing its full fruit by a 
want of mobility in the other arms. The former arm, in contrast, 
was always at hand and always effective. 

The latest French " Field Exerdse of 1869 " was based in the 
most striking way upon the Prussian, entirely abandoning the 
previous formations for battle ; but it did not know how to em- 
body the spirit of them. Careflil elementary training was ignored ; 
to say the most, a little more value was attached to shooting ; but 
this was nevertheless very superficially treated. The value of that 
binding medium, Prussian discipline, which exists in the mutual 
understanding between officer and private, in the strictest training 
in even the most unimportant duties, which makes obedience 
second nature, and pei*mits of a high state of discipline with a 
small " defaulter's sheet," was completely misunderstood. 

The French fleet before the outbreak of war included the 
following men-of-war : — 

18 iron-clad frigates, armed with 12 to 17 guns of the heaviest 

calibre, and of 800 to 900 horse power ; 
9 iron-clad coiTcttes, of 12 guns and 450 horse power ; (one 

corvette in Japan) ; 
7 iron-clad ve&sels for coast defence, six carrying 1 to 2 guns 

and of 250 to 530 horse power, one (the Rochambeau) with 

14 guns and 1,000 horse power ; 
15 iron-clad batteries, of 18 guns and of 150 horse power ; 
making a total of 49 iron-clads, including the one absent. 


The iron-clad batteries were, liowever, not capable of being 
employed on the probable theatre of war (North Sea and Baltic), 
on account of their want of sea-worthiness. There were therefore 
33 iron-clads at disposal. 

France also possessed the following unarmoured men-of-war : — 

24 screw corvettes, carrying 11 to 38 guns, and of ISO to G40 
horse power. The smaller ones were very old. 

19 corvettes, carrying 4 to 22 guns, and of 300 to 450 horse 

power (one in Japan). 
51 screw despatch boats, 2 to G guns, and of 100 to 150 
horse power (one of them on the east coast of Africa). 

10 paddle-wheel frigates, of 4 guns each, and of 300 to 450 

horse power. 
6 paddle-wheel corvettes, of 2 to 6 guns, and of 200 to 500 

horae power. 

Making a total of 69 large unarmoured steamsln'ps, of which 50 
were at disposal, and 51 small, all of which, with one exception, 
were available. 

Of steam transports there were : — 

27 old screw line-of-battle ships, of 11 to 12 guns and 400 
to 800 horse power, one being an instruction ship. 

47 screw transports, of 90 to 800 horse power. 

20 paddle-wheel steamers, of 80 to 200 horse power, one 
being on the coast of Algiers. 

22 small steamers, of from 15 to 7G hoi-se power. 

The sailing ships may bo left out of the calculation, as they 
were but little fitted for a long continuance at sea. 

The entire fleet in the French ports therefore numbered — 

33 iron-clads, 
100 wooden men-of-war steamers, and 
96 transports. 

An imposing force, truly, if collected and ready for service ; but 
this was far from being the case. 

The equipment of a transport fleet entirely fell to the ground 
when the result of the battles of Worth and Spieheren turned the 
attention of the authorities to duties nearer home rather than to 
prospective diversions on distant coasts. The marine forces thus 
became disposable elsewhere. Their number was not incon- 
siderable. The marine infantry nunibercd 136 companies in four 
regiments, of which 04 weic in the colonies. There were 
therefore 72 companies of 9,600 men available. 

The marine artillery regiment consisted of 28 batteries, of 
which 20 batteries, with 120 guns, were on homo service. 

The intention had been originally to form out of this excellent 
material two brigades (5,000 to 6,000 men), with eight batteries, 
to add to them two cavalry regiments, and to embark them ; 
but in consequence of the imi)res8ion made by the earlier battles, 
3,000 men were summoned to Paris from Cherbourg, and by 

n 2 


degrees the greater part of the marine forces were employed ia 
the defence of the capital and at other important theatres of wan 

Such was the state of the military and naval forces at first at 
the Em|)eroi*'s disposal. 

The way in which they were to be employed in a war against 
Germany must have been for many yeai^ the subject of delibe- 
ration, and isolated attempts had been made to procure information 
upon the gcogmphical and statistical conditions on tho other 
side of their frontier. 

What the ultimate decisions were as to tho conduct of the 
operations are not as yet precisely kno^vn ; but a brochure which 
appeared during the latter half of the war, and which is ascribed 
to the Emperor Napoleon himself, contains the essential features 
of the plan eventually adopted. 

According to it, the French commanders were aware of the 
great superiority which united Germany could oppose to the 
military forces of France. Starting with the assumption that 
the number of effective combatants never exceeds half the whole 
force of the army, they presumed that the strength of the German 
military forces brougiit on the field of battle might be reckoned 
at 550,000 men and their own at 300,000 men. 

But the Emperor hoped that this superiority of force, amounting 
to almost double his own, would be not only paralysed by the 
rapidity of his movements, l)ut that he would be able to turn this 
circumstance to his advantage. The condition on wliich this 
depended was, that ho should suddenly cross the Upper Rliine, 
and thereby sepamtc South from North Germany. 

It was calculated that if Prussia were isolated in this way, she 
would only have a force of 350,000 combatants, and that with 
the fii'st success Austria and Italy would join Fmnce. 

According to the Emixjror's plan, which was communicated in 
Paris only to Mai-shals MacMahon ami Le Bamf, tlio first con- 
centration of the army was to take place as follows : — 150,000 
men round Metz, 100,000 at Strassburg, and 50,000 in tho camp 
of Chalons. 

It was in tho next place intended to move forward the aimies 
fiom Met/, and Strassljurg, and to cn>s.s tlio Rhino near Maxau, 
with a force of 250,000 men. 

After binding the South Gorman states to neutrality, the next 
step was to seek out and give battle to the Prus:.ian army. 

In these operations the duty of covering the rear of the army 
and watching the north-east frontier devolved upon tho reserve 
corps, which was ordered fiom Cbillons to Metz, At tho same 
time it was expected that tho appeaitinco of the fleet in tho 
Baltic would detain pai-t of the enemy's force in that direction 
ibr the delence of the coast. 

The proposed plan was unquestionably based on the correct 
principle that the superiority of the enemy can only be balanced 
by rapidity of movement, but it implied a false view of the solid- 


nrity of the relations between South and North Gennany, and 
under-mted the independence of action and the nunibei*s of the 
Prussian military forces. The latter was the more astonishing, 
as they must have known that Prussia had already bi-ought into 
the field in 1866 a force of a1x)ut 350,000 men, and her forces 
had since then undergone no inconsiderable augmentation. 

On the other hand, it had been overlooked liow ill>adapted the 
French anny was, as it then stood, for an expeditious opening of 
the campaign and a rapid conduct of the operations. 

In the first place, the network of railways in Finance in no way 
favoured a concentration to the extent that was geneitiUy assumed. 
The difierent lines certainly favoured a first concentration of the 
military forces on the Moselle and round Strassburg, but as the 
line fiom Verdun to Metz was not yet completed, the various 
groups of railways eventually led to the frontier district in but 
four lines, dischai^ging themselves at Diedenhofen (Thionville), 
Metz, or Nancy, and Strassburg. 

In the country between Mezi^res and Diedenhofen there was 
only a single line of rail at disposal. The rail from Vesoul to 
Nancy could, on the contrary, be used either for transport to 
Lon*aine or to Alsace. 

An error was, however, committed in assuming that the con- 
centration of the army by rail could be efiectcd with order 
and precision without a very thorough and comprehensive 

Besides this, tliere were the difficulties already adverted to in 
raising the troops to their full strength, in accumulating stores at 
the points of concentration, and in completing the organisation 
of the newly-fonned staffs, Corps, Divisions, &c., as well as in 
furnishing them with the necessary transport. All these mattera 
must necessarily infltience both the duration of the concentration 
and the interior economy of the commands. 

Even in spite of all the zeal which pervaded the departments 
of the War Ministry, and the devoted efforts displayed by the 
railway administrations, the concentration of the army was not 
carried out without great inteiTuptions, and its power of move- 
ment, at any rate at first, was considerably hampered. The latter 
was the more important, as by the intended plan of operations the 
junction of the bulk of the army from Metz with the Strassburg 
army could only be assisted by a single line of rail, and must 
therefore be cfTected l)y means of the few rojids traversing tlio 

Moreover, experience of the last war ia Italy had in no way 
shown any s])ecial capabilities for marching on tlie part of 
the French troops when in large masses. It was, at any rate, 
perfectly well remembered in Prussia that the Imperial army, at 
that tune mustering but 100,000 men, only marched on an average 
♦J miles daily between the victory of Magenta and the battle of 

French diplomacy might have delayed the outbreak of hos- 
tilities until they were ready to strike, but they declared war 


before the Government was in n position to give immediate effect 
to this declaration, and thus the military ferces of France were 
subsequently attacked in their own country by the German 
armies before they were fully assembled and ready for offensive 

The forces at disposal were distributed into eight Army Corps 
(inclusive of the Guard), three Reserve Divisions of aivalry, and 
an Artilleiy Reserve. 

The strength of the Coii)S was by no means equal ; the 1st, 
3rd, and 6th Corps, commanded by marshals, each consisted of 
4 Divisions of infantry, a cavalry Division of 3 brigades, nnd 
a reserve artillery of 8 batteries ; whilst the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 
7th Corps consisted each' of 3 Divisions of infantry, a cavalry 
Division of 2 brigades, and a reserve artillery of 6 batteries. 

The Imperial Guard differed from the preceding in having 

2 Divisions of infantry and a reserve artillery of 4 batteries ; it 
had, however, a cavalry Division of 3 brigades. 

The Infantry Divisions were, as a rule, composed of 2 brigades, 
each of 2 regiments of 3 battalions and a rifle battalion, and to 
each Division a division of artilleiy of 3 batteries (including a 
mitrailleuse battery) was assigned. The cavalry was differently 
distributed in the various corps. Some of them definitely assigned 
regiments or squadrons from the reserve cjwalry to their Divisions ; 
others only temporarily, and others none at all. The combined 
cavalry of the Corps was distributed into brigades of 2 or 3 
regiments each. 

Appendix I. The special composition of the army, as well as any differences 
in detail, are shown in the order of battle in Appendix I. 

The total numbers at first available for employment in the field 
would be therefore — 

311 infantry batbdions. 

21 Chasseur battalions. 
220 squadrons (counting regiments at 4 squadrons). 
924 guns (including 144 mitrailleuses). 

37 companies of engineers. 

But as the French aimy numl>ered t\(\H battalions, 252 squadron^, 
and 984 guns, there still remained 3G Iwittalions, 32 squadrons, 
and GO guns available for employment elsewhere. 

Of these troops, 12 battalions, viz., the 22nd, 34th, o8th, and 
72nd regiments, and the 8th and half of the 7th regiments oi 
Chasseurs a clieval, were formed into a Division at Toulouse, for 
the purpose of watching Spain ; the 3otli and 42nd regiments, 
with 2 squadrons of the 7th Chasseur regiment and 2 batteries, 
were still in Civita Vecchia. 

Total, 18 battalions, 8 squadrons, 12 guns. 

There still remained in Algiers, the 16th, 38th, 39th, and 92nd 
regiments of the line, the foreign regiment (3 battalions), and 

3 battalions of Infanterie Lighre ; also the 8th Hussars, the 
1st and 9th Chasseur regiments, 3 regiments of Spahis, and 
8 batteries, making a total of 18 Imttalions, 24 squadrons, 48 


gaiiB. By a decree of the 25tli August, 8 marching regiments 
^yere formed from the 6th squadrons of the guard and line/ 
which, however, never joined the army on tlie frontier. 

The 115-4th battalions could also be used as garrisons in the 
interior of the country or for reinforcing the field army, as soon 
as the Qarde Rationale Mobile was in a position to replace 

Tlie establishment of this latter force exhibits an effective of 
100 battalions, each of 1,000 men, and 10,000 artillerymen. 

The following places wore appointed as the head-quarters or 
points of concentration of tlie different corps about to take the 
field :— 

1st Corps — Marshal McMahon — Strassburg. 

2nd Corps— General of Division Frossard — St Avoid. 

3rd Corps — Marshal Bazaine — Metz. 

4th Corps — General of Division Ladmirault — Dicdeuliofen. 

6 th Corps — General of Division Failly — Bitsch. 

6th Corps — Marshal Canrobert — Camp of Chalons. 

7tli Corps — General of Division Felix Douay — Belfort 

Imperial Guard — General of Division Bourbaki — Nancj^ 

The march of the principal force to the Moselle was to take place 
under cover of the 2nd Corps pushed forward as advanced guard, 
while two Corps concentrated in Alsace. The 5tli Corps at 
Bitsch was to keep up the communication between those two 
groups, and the Gth Corps to form a general rescvivo at Chillons. 

The Emperor reserved to himself the chief command of the 
whole active military force, which reccdvoil the designation of 
"Ai'iny of the Rhine." It is not known wliulhcr Ukto was any 
intention at a later period of organising it int-o soj)ai"ate armies. 
The prevailing principle of centralisation in France was at jiny 
rate the prime cause of all the Corps being placed under the 
direct command of the Emperor, from whom, as their sole chief 
authority, they were to take their orders. Mai*slial Le Boeuf 
was appointed Chief of the Staff*, and was succeeded in his 
capacity of War Minister by General D^jean; on the 10th August 
Count Palikao finally assumed the direction of the War 

Marshal Bazaine assumed the chief command of the Corps 
assembling in Alsace and Lorraine until the arrival of the 

The removal of the troops from tlie camp of Chjllons and of 
the armies of Paris and Lyons by rail, and the embarkation of the 
regiments ordered from Algiers commenced on the evening of 
the 16th July without waiting for their reserves to come up. 

The march to the prescribed points was carried out. 

The 2nd Army Corps (the advanced guard) having been 
brought up to its full strength in the camp of Chalons, was 
concentrated (with the exception of an extra Cuirassier brigade 

* In the hcaTy caralry regiments these 6th squadrons were only fonned after 


left behind) on the evening of the 18th July near St. Avoid. 
Its in&ntry regiments,howevery only numbered 1 ,350 men« General 
Froesard received an order from Marshal Le Boeuf not to move 
the main body of the Corps beyond St Avoid, but to reconnoitre 
as far as the frontier, and at the same time to be careful not to 
compromise any large detachments, adding ** that he was to bo 
the eye of the army." 

The General pushed forward Bataille's Division with Valabi'^gue's 
Chasseur brigade as far as Forbach on the 19th, with which 
arrangement the marshal expressed his concun*encc, but once 
more reminding him '' not to engage prematurely.*^ 

Laveaucoupct's Division was transferred to the milway junc- 
tion at BeniDg, to which place Bachelier s brigade of dragoons 
was moved up on tlie 21st from St. Avoid. 

The hcad-quartei'S of the corps, with Verge's Division and tlie 
Resei've Artillery and Engineers, remained at St. Avoid. 

This dchelon position was further extended by throwing forward 
a detachment from Bataille's Division in the direction of Spicheren 
on the 21st, as a post of observation. This detachment was in- 
creased to a brigade when the Prussian patrols began to disturb 
the outposts. 

An infantry regiment from Laveaucoupet's Division, with some 
artillery, also occupied Saargemiind for the purpose of watching 
the roads at that poiut and maintaining communications with De 
Faill/s Corps. 

In other respects tlioy fancied themselves secure by making 
frequent reconnoissances and placing outposts in accordance with 
the instructions issued to them. 

Next to Fro.s.snrd's Corps, the 4th Corps (Ladmiriinlt), formed ot 
tlie ganisons of Northern Fmnce, concentrated near DicJenhofen ; 
then the 3rd Corps (Bazaine), formed of the troops of the army of 
Paris and the garrison of Metz, at Metz ; and the Imperial Guard 
at Nancy. 

In consequence of a false report cuntjnt in Paris on the IGth 
July that Prussian troops were advancing from Trier (Treves) on 
Sierck, Mai-shal Bazaine received instructions to send an advanced 
guard towards Sierck "to raise the enemy's apprehensions as to 
" their (the French) intentions." 

The 4th Corps carried this order into effect by pushing forward 
Cissey's Division. 

General Failly, who was to maintain the communication with 
the military forces in Alsace, formed his Corps of the Lyons troops, 
and by the 18th July had 17 battalions in position at Bitsch. 
Other detachments followed shortly after, but the Anny Corps 
never entirely collected at that place. Guyot de Lespart's Division 
of infantry remained for a short time at Haguenau, where it was 
under the orders of General Duerot the territorial commandant ; 
Bernis' brigade belonging to Brahaut's cavalry division was 
ordered to Niederbronn, whilst the Lancer brigade moved one 
regiment to Bitsch and the other to Rohrbach. 

The 1st Corps was formed at Stiassburg from the troops quartered 
in the eastern dei)artments and from those brought from Algiers. 


Marshal MacMnliOD, who had been appointed to the command of 
this Coi^ps, could not an-ive in Paris from Algiei-s before the 22nd. 
The formation consequently went on at fii'st without the Com- 
mander, and not until the 20th was any telegraphic despatch sent 
to General Ducrot, the teiritorial commandant in Strassburg, to 
assume the command of the coii>s pending the anival of the 

This Army Corps, amongst which the African regiments were 
distributed, was hardly fit to take the field, even at the beginning 
of August. 

The 7th Corps was still more to the rear, filling up its ranks from 
the troops in the south-east of the empire. As it was not deemed 
advisable to denude Lyons at present of troops of tlie line, 
Dumont\s Division, with a brigade of Cavalry, was left there 
until the 12th August.* Conseil Dumesnii's Division formed at 
Colmai-, the remainder of the Army Corps in the neighbourhood of 

Of Canrobert s Corps, which included the former garrisons of 
the centre and west, a Division and Beville's cuirassier brigade 
assembled at Paris, a second Division at Soisscms, whilst the 
remainder concentrated at the camp of Chalons. 

Of the Cavalry Reserve, Bonnemain's cuirassier Division joined 
the 1st Corps in Alsace; Barai Is chasseur Division (on its way 
from Africa) was ordered to Metz, whilst Forton's Division 
was formed partly at Luneville, partly at Poiit-Ji-ilousson. 

The Artillery Reserve, consisting of the 13th Regiment (field) 
and the 18th Regiment (horse), completed their mobilisation in 
the ganusons of Boui'gcs and Toulouse. 

Tlie 4-pr. guns in the Artillery Reserve of the Corps were 
exchanged for 12-prs. at Metz in the middle of August. 

They hud but little information about the enemy in the early 
days of the concentration, and this could not well be otherwise, 
as the intended points of concentration of the German armies 
were not so self-evident from the first day of the mobilisation as 
those of the French. 

On the 21st July Marshal Bazaine wrote from ilctz on this 
subject ; — 

" It would appear that the Prussians intend awaiting battle 
in the neighbourliood of Mainz ; they are concentrating 
troops between that place and Coblenz ; their sul»sistence in 
that district is difficult; it is gonerally believed that a war 
lasting over two or tliree months will be ruination and 
dastruction. Only the weakly men are allowed to remain 
with the depots ; all the robust men between the nges of 18 
and 30 are obliged to march.'* 

While the formations of the French Corps were in anj'thing but 23rd July, 
a forward stage, instructions were sent on the 23rd by Marshal Le 
Bceuf from Paris ordering changes in some of their destinations. 

* Jolif's eavalry brigade remained at Lyons after the departure of Dnmont^s 
Division, and never actonlly joined the 7th Corps. 


According to these orders : — 

Bazaine's Corps was to move fi-om Metz on Boulay, and keep 
np communication between the Corps of Oenerak Frossard and 
Ladmirault. A Division of the last-mentioned Corps was to move 
on Bouzonville. 

General Failly was directed to advance, with the two Divisions 
concentrated round Bitsch, to Saargemlind, from whence the 
detachment of the 2nd Corps was to move off to join its own 
Corps. Quyot De Lespart's Division, which had been at Hagenau 
up to tliis time, received orders to march on Bitsch, and a Division 
of the Ist Corps was to relieve it. Lastly the Imperial Guard 
was ordered to move from Nancy to Metz by road. 

In consequence of these orders, which were carried out on the 
24th JuljT. 24>th and following days, Frossard's Corps remained in its old 
position, merely drawing in the detachment from Saargemlind. 
Marshal Bazaine established his head-quarters in Boulay, where 
Castagny's Division, the Beserve Artillery and the Cavalry 
division were posted, whilst Montaudon's Division advanced to 
Bouchepom, Alettman's to Teterchen and Aymard's to Bettange. 

General Ladmiiuulb transferred his head-quarters and a Division 
to Bouzonville, a Division remained in Diedcnhofen and Cissey's 
Division near Sierck. 

Failly's Corps was at the same time ordered to place itself in 
communication with General Frossard's troops, and if necessary 
to support his left wing ; in this way the railway from Nieder- 
bronn to Saargcuiiuid would be covered. The head-quarters 
of the Corps and the Divisions of Ooze and Abadie arrived at 
Saargemiind. Of the cavaliy, General Bernis with the 12th 
Chasseurs was lefc at Niederbronn to keep up communications 
with the 1st Corps, whilst General de la Morti^re, with the 
5th Lancers and a battalion of Infantiy, occupied Rohrbach. 
A squadron of the dth Hussars was attached to each of the 
infantry Divisions ; the remainder of the cavalry moved to 

Tlie 1st Corps detached Baoult's Division to Hagenau ; Septeuil 
sent the 11th Chasseurs to the same place and the Srd Hussai^s 
to Sulz ; the 2nd Lancers moved to Hatten, and the remainder of 
Duhesme's Division bivouacked round Brumath. 

The Srd Hussars being attached to the 1st Infantry Divi- 
sion, the 11th Chasseurs to the 2nd, the 2nd Lancers to the 
Srd, and the 10th Dragoons to the 4th Infantry Division, there 
only remained the 6th Lancei'S and Michel's Cuirassiers at the 
special disposal of tlie commander of the Cavalry Division. The 
last cavalry detachments did not, however, amve until the end of 
the month. 
25th July. On the 25th July, Marshal Le Bceuf left Paris for Metz, where 
the chief head-quartei*s were established. On the 27th he tele- 
graphed from that place to the Emperor : 

" MacMahon's four Divisions must be pretty nearly formed 
at Strassburg and Hagenau. The Marshal has consequently a 


considerable uiilitaiy force in Lower Alsace. He can call up 
Conseil Dumesnil's Division of Douay's CV)rps from Colmar. 
But I consider it of great importance that the railway from 
Lyons to Strassburg should be well watched. A-s the mobilisa- 
tion of the Garde Mobile is only in an elementary stage, this 
duty cannot be confided to it." 

With a view to giving Marshal Mac^Tahon unrestricted dis- 
posal of all the forces in Alsace, General Douay's Corps was placed 
under his orders from that date. 

Thus the French commanders had taken upon themselves all 
the disadvantages which are inseparable from an army taking 
the field in an unprepared state, without availing themselves of 
the solo advantage which such a proceeding offers — that of an 
immediate and unexpected initiative. For ten days entire Aimy 
Corps had been standing close to the frontier opposite the Aveak 
garrisons of Saarlouis and Saarbrilcken. 

We see further, that the original intention of an advance into 
South Germany was wavering even at this stage. The powerful 
magnet of an army " between Coblentz and Mainz " was irresis- 
tibly attracting the French arms. We do not see a concentrated 
force moving from Metz to the Upper Rhine, but a divided 
force drawn piecemeal to the Saar, so that five French corps are 
thronged together in the narrow triangle Bouzonville — Sa.arge- 
miind — Metz. 

The Emperor Napoleon transferred the regency to the Empress 
on the 23rd, and issued the proclamation subjoined in Appendix 
II., to the French people. Shortly before his departure from Paris Appendix n. 
the plan for the oi-ganisation of the Garde Nationale Sedentaire, 
and a law for the formation of the Franctireure corps during 
the war, had received his approval. The latter corps were to be 
employed in the defence of their hearths and homes, and were 
only to be called up to the frontier as an exceptional measure. 

On the 28th the Emperor entered Metz and decisive mea- 28th July, 
sures were now expected. But he must have been very soon 
convinced that the condition of the army was in no way suited 
for an offensive operation. 

Tlie troops intended to take part in the operations had not 
attained their full strength ; the 6th and 7th Corps, the 1st and 
3rd Reserve Cavalry Divisions, and the Reserve Artillery were 
not yet available. 

If the infantry battalions are reckoned at 700, the cavalry 
regiments at 500 men, the army, inclusive of Canrobert's Corps 
and the Reserve Cavalry Divisions, but exclusive of the troops in 
Lyons, must have numbered 224,000 infantry and 26,500 

Instead of this, the brochure ascribed to the Emperor Napoleon 
asserts that the troops at disposal on the Saar at this time 
numbered only 100,000 men, that the Corps under McMahon's 
orders consisted of 40,000 men, and that Marshal Canrobert had 


only two of his Divisions at hand in the camp of ChMons, and 
his cavahry and artillery had not yet anived. 

Against these figures, which possibly only included the in- 
fantry, the strength of the army is reckoned considerably higher 
in the quasi official returns of the 29th July, viz. :* 

Guard - - - . 

l&t Corps - - - . 

2nd „ . 
3rd „ - 
4th „ . 
6th „ . 
6th „ . 

7th „ - . . . 

Reserve Cavalry - 
„ Engineei'S- 

20,500 1 











210,080 men. 

Of those the ftrmy of the left wing 

numbered - - - 128,730 men. 

Tlie army of the right wing - 46,900 „ 

Reserves (Canrobert, Reserves of 

Cavalry and Engineers) - - 34,450$ „ 

The Emperor desired to see the rest of the available troops 
drawn forward as soon as possible; but it was held in op- 
position to him that Paris, Lyons, and Algiers should not be 
left unoccupied. The first three battalions of the Qarde Mobile 
arrived at the camp of Ch&lons from Paris on the 28thy but for 
want of discipline and training they wei'e unfit for immediate 

Not only was the army incomplete, but its internal condition 
raised apprehensions from the moment the mobilisation com- 
menced ; each day exposed the insufficient preparation and the 
defects of the system in a more and more glaring way. 

Numerous difficulties arose fii'st in the csdling in of re&ei*ves and 
afterwards in their transport. There was a dense accumulation 
of men at the different depots, but no means of causing a speedy 
outflow of them. Tlie railways, although taxed to the utmost, 
could not transport the men either to the depdts or from thence 
to the troops. Mistakes in forwarding i-einforcements to regi- 
ments on the march were unavoidable, and a great number of 
reseiTcs lighted upon places where no one knew the temporary 

* The conibutaiiU of all urins apptiar to be included in this return. 

f One division only is reckoned, whereas the 7th Corps must have had 2 divisions 
on the Upper Khine by this time. 

X The same writer (Y.D.) estimates the French army between the 2ud and 6(h of 
August at 272,000 men in his order of battle, an increase of strength which, in spite 
of the losses, may be explained by the constant arrival of reserves. It agrees per- 
fectly with our calculations and with those of Colonel Fay (who puts them at 262,000 
at the begining of August), reckoning the 6th Corps in the first-mentioned total and 
at the effective it attained on the 13th August. 


position of their regiments. All the railway stations and all the 
restaurants in the larger towns were thronged, and the War 
Ministry was eventually compelled to issue orders for the 
Reserves to be collected and forwarded to the nearest depot. 

In certain districts where tl)c lines were comi)letely blocked, 
the further transport of Reserves was stopped ; for instance, 
the commandant of the territorial division at Marseilles 
telegraphs : 

" 9,000 reserves here ; I do not know what to do with them. 
In order to give me room I shall ship tliem all on board the 
transports in harbour for Algiers/' 

A measure which was no doubt prevented in time ! 

At this time the Cliief of the Staff found it necessary to inform 
the "War Minister, that according to reports received from the 
depots the Reserves were in readiness but had no instructions 
where to join the field battalions. 

In the confusion and liaste with which everything liad to be 
pushed on, the Reserves joined the regiments, as ini^jlit be expected, 
deficient of their necessary equipment. Many of them were 
without cooking utensils, water flasks, and tentes cVahri 

In consequence of this, Marshal Le Boeuf, on tlie 27th, made 
application to Paris with a. view to preventing the detachments 
constantly joining the army insufficiently equipped. 

The regimental and corps transport was incomj^lete ; they 
were deficient in horses, ambulances, commissariat columns, and 
especially in sick-bearers, veterinaiy surgeons, train soldiers 
and officials for the administrative branch. !Many of the latter 
arrived singly, most of them veiy late, so that some of the 
Divisions had none at all at first On the 28th the intendant of 
the 1st Corps loported that he could not hoi-se the waggons for 
want of men and horses. 

It was found that a considerable part of the harness in the 
artillery train was of no use, and they were at this juncture 
obliged to have recourse to the trade. Some of the ammunition 
reserves were not at hand, some were incompletely equipped, 
and in some places there was no mitrailleuse equipment wnat- 

Large consignments of ma]>s Iiad arrived, but they only com* 
prised the German territory. There were none whatever for the 
French frontier districts where they were first wanted. 

Independently of this internal condition, there were whole 
bodies of troops, of whose whereabouts the head-quarter staff 
were in ignorance. 

The Chief of the Staff was obliged to send the following tele- 
gram to General Douay :— 

" How far have you progressed witli your formation ? Where 
are your Divisions ? The Emperor commands you to hasten 
their formation with a view to joining McMahon in Lower 
Alsace as quickly as possible." 


On the following day General Douay received the following 
reply to an application : 

" There is no train-division in Metz and no camp equipment 
which can be placed at your disposal. You did well to apply 
to Paris ; renew your request." 

Supplies of food were not even prepared, consequently the men 
suffered the greatest inconvenience from the very commence- 

From the 1st of August the magazines at Metz were assigned 
to the Corps on the Saar as dep6ts of supply. There were small 
stores there of biscuit and bacon, but neither coffee, sugar, rice, 
brandy, nor oats. The reserve supplies, even the biscuit, had to 
be drawn upon, for there were only 38 bakei*s with the army. 
Attempts were made to augment this number from the civil 
population, but in vain ; and there was moreover a deficiency of 
field ovens. It was the same at Stitis-sburg, where there were 
certainly supplies of flour, biscuit, and oats in store ; l>ut no con- 
tract for rice, sugar, coffee, and wine was concluded by the local 
intendant until the 20th July. This was the fii-st day on which 
it was possible to conclude a contract for meat for the whole anny ; 
and, moreover, at some places where troops were stationed there 
was no money for the purchase of actual necessaries. Comiolaints 
and inquiries poured in from all sides. The intendants of the 
different Corps endeavoured to remedy the evil by dniwing upon 
the supplies of the neighbouring fortresses, but in vain. Answers 
were received from Meziferes and Sedan that there was neither 
biscuit nor salt meat, and the tenour of the replies from other 
sides was to the eame effect. Although circumstances improved 
daily in consequence of the aii'ival of convoys, yet by the 
28th July the most neccssaiy requirements for offensive opera- 
tions were not ready. The difficulties were much increased by 
encamping the men for a considerable time close together, for 
which aiTangement the system of requisition, employed usually 
by the French army to a very considerable extent, was quite 

Under these circumstances it is not surprising that the idea 
forced itself upon the French generals, that instead of entering 
Germany they would have to defend themselves in their own 

Attention was now naturally directed to the French fortresses, 
and it was found that they also were in the most defective condi- 
tion. So confident were the French of an offensive movement 
that the fortresses had been comj^letely denuded of troops, and 
the garrison of Neu Brisach for instance hardly numbered 50 men 
on the 21st July. Fort Mortier, Schlettstadt, LiitzeLstein (Petite 
Pierre), and Lichtemberg were just as weakly occupied. In 
Straasburg there only remained about 2,000 troops of the line after 
the departui'e of the Ist Corps. In Metz the works were neither 
revetted nor armed ; even the gorges of the detached forts were 
not dosed. When the question of withdrawing the main army 


collected at that ])oiut Avns subsequently iikkiIccI, the Commander 
of the Engineer Corps, OenernI Cofiinicrcs, asserted in a council 
of war that the fortress could not withstand a siege of ]4j days 
without an army to support it. The garrison necessary for its 
occupation was by no means ready, and at ilic bc[(inning of 
August the calling uj) of fourth battalions and dipots was 
pressingly demanded. 

Diedenhofen (TliionvilK*) had only about 1,000 men at this 
period instead of a garrison of 4,000 to 5,000 men, and among 
them were about GOO Garde Mc^bilo, 5)0 douaniers, and 300 
untrained artillery and cavalry. 

Under such circumstances the foitrosses could give no j^rotection 
to the army, but on the contrary they would have t<» look to it 
for protection, at any rate in the commencement.*"* 

The result was that the Emperor Napoleon, on j(»ining the 
army on the 2Sth Jul}-, did not iind a single Corps u]> to its full 
strength or in a really cfTectivc condition for tlio ileltl. The 
different parts of the army, which were intendod for one common 
object, were distribuUMl along the line* SiiMck, IVitsch, ITngtman, 
Colmar, some 150 miles apart, their rear dt«taebments as far back 
as CliAlons and Paris. From such a position manifestly they 
could not at once assume a vigorous offensi\c. 

But public opinion in France, and more particularly in Paris, 
clamoured for conquests, and the Emperor ap]>ears in spite of all 
the impediments to have adhered to his offensive i»lnn. This Appendix III 
intention is declared in tin* proclamation (.Appendix III.) issued 
to the army on tlie 28th. 

The project of a lamling on the Gennan recast had not <'ven 
been given up. The fleet had iK'en warnetl to pri'pare for the 
transport of 30,000 men, anrl the Toulouse l)ivisi<»n as well as the 
Marine troojis were kejit in readiness with this object in view ; 
the command of these forces was intended i'ov General Trochu or 
General Bourbaki. 

It was known that the Germans had but a very small force 
at Saarbrucken and Saarlouis, the Vlllth Aniij- (Jorps had (»nlj'' 
come up since the 27th, one of its Divisions in Rt. \Vendel, the 
other in Dudweiler, Ottweiler, and Lebach, with a cavahy brigade 
pushed forward to reconnoitre ; altogether about 40,000 men. 
Strong detachments might be expected from Triei*. and large 
bodies of troops were known to be at Jlannheinj, Landau, 
and Kastatt. 

The Emperor in conserjiience ordered the 2nd, fird, and 5th 
Corps under Bazaine to cross the Saar between Saarbrlicken and 
Sarrguemund, and the 4th to make a simultaneous demonstration 
agaiast Saarlouis ; but the Marshal and tlie other three generals 

* Even in such favourably situated fortresses as ^Tetz and Diedcnliofeo, the army 
should have taken up a position in front of them. Such a position had already been 
reconnoitred in 1867. It stretched from Saargemtind by Cnleultronn as fur as Betting 
les 8t Arold, trherc the lef^ ^ >ng had to be covered ufrninst a flanking movement 
from Saarlouis by a division at St. Avoid. General FrosFiird is <»f niiinitm tliat 
the 2nd, 3rJ, and 4th Corps should have hccn concentrated tiiero, and (lie r>th sent to 
Marshal McMahou. 


in command declared themselves unanimously of opinion that 
this movement could not be carried out, as their troops were 
deficient of the necessary supplies of food and equipment. The 
enterprise had therefore to be abandoned until the French forces 
were ready. Marshal MacMahon was informed that the Emperor 
did not expect him to move for a week. 

This delay was the more painful from not having any infoima- 
tion of what the enemy was doing on the other side of the frontier. 
Some days previously one of his detachments had been seen at 
Niederbronn. The instructions issued to the French cavalry were 
more directed to measures for the safety of their own army than to 
far-reaching reconnaissances into the enemy's temtory. There 
was a feeling that more should be demanded from this arm, 
and a notification was sent to the difierent commanders as 
follows : 

" Practise your troops in keeping most watchful guard, in 
sending out patrols, in reconnaissances, etc. You will soon 
have an enemy before you, who from long practice in peace is 
skilled in all duties connected with outposts. Let instructions 
in these matters be issued in all Corps, and let exemses 
of this nature bo practised as much as possible." 

Soon after — 

" Let your cavaliy be seen ; it should reconnoiti'e far beyond 
the line of the Saar ; it must not even avoid passing the 
frontier, taking the necessary precautions for safety. The 
commanders should send you reports on their reconnaissances. 
Make your reports to me." 

With a view to doing something, the three Corps furthest 
pushed forward on the Saar were to be drawn together more 
closely, and by this airangement the subsistence of the troops was 
rendered more easy, the railway from Metz being used for the 
si»t July. On the 31st July the head-quarters of the 2nd CoiTps moved 

to Forbach in accordance with this plan ; Laveaucoupet's Division 
established itself on the Oetigen plateau forming a second line 
to the brigade of Bataille'a Division which was at Spicheren ; 
Verge's division occupied the camp at Bening. 

The head-quartei-8 of the 8rd Corps, Marshal Bazaine, moved to 
St Avoid, one Division remaining in Boucheponv, the other moving 
to St Avoid, Haut-Hombourg and Ham-Bous-Varaberg. 

In the 4th Corps, the head-quarters and a Division took up 
their position in IJoulay ; a second Division came to Bouzonville 
whilst the first (Cissey) advanced to Sierck in order to cover 
the left flank of the army. Tlie Guard and the 5th Corps 
remained in their position round Metz and near SaargemUud. 

At the same time the 3rd Division of Reserve Cavalry (Forton) 
was ordered to advance fi'om Pont-i-Mousson to Faulquemont, 
but the order had to be revoked as the Division was not in a 
position to march. 


The position of the whole army on the 31st July is indicated 
on Sketch 1. Sketch l. 

The conclusions which the French had drawn from the enemy's 
movements had been somewhat substantiated by late reports. It 
was known that the Vllth and Vlllth Prussian Corps, under the 
command of General Steinraetz, were on the point of uniting 
behind the Saar. Their columns were approaching Saarlouis and 
Saarbriicken. Besides this, regiments of the Ilird and IXth 
Corps, wliich were to form part of the army of Prince Frederick 
Charles, were signalled on the march from Mainz to Kaiserslau- 
tern. It was also rumoui*ed that the enemy was making prepara- 
tions to assume the offensive, and that infantry detachments had 
crossed the river below Saarbriicken in some force, and were 
seen by the French reconnoitring parties near Geislautern and 

But their information as to the precise composition of the 
German military forces was far from complete. 

Incapable of assuming the offensive and yet unwilling to give 
it up, uie French had recourse to the half measure of a recon- 
naissance in force against Saarbrucken. They hoped, by occupy- 
ing the hills on the left bank of the Saar, to compel tbe enemy to 
deploy his force and show his intentions. 

The enterprise was entrusted to Marshal Bazaine, the 2nd and 
5th Corps, in addition to his own, being placed at bis disposal. 

In a conference held on the 31st with the two generals in 
command, the Marshal directed the 2nd Corps to advance 
against Saarbrucken, the operation being supported by the 
advance of a Division of the 3rd Coi^ps on Wehrden, and of a 
Division of the 5th Corps from Saargemiind. The 2nd August 
was fixed for carrying out the project. 

With this object in view, General Frossard advanced Verge's 
Division nearer to Forbach, where it encamped on both sides of 
the main road to the west of the town. In the event of his 
bridge train not being ready, that of the 3rd Corps was placed 
at his disposal. This, however, had to be first brought up from 
Metz by railway to Forbach. It was to be horsed by the reserve 
horses of the artillery of the 3rd Corps, or if these were not 
within reach, by those of the 2nd Corps, or " by any other teams 
which might be at hand." 

3998S. C 


The German Armies. — Plan of Operations and Movements 

TO the 31st July. 

The excitement which pulsated throughout France left no 
doubt in tlie mind of the Prussian Government that every 
outwardly visible prepamtion against the danger of war must 
inevitably bring about war itself. 

It was known that for a long time great activity had prevailed 
in the French War Ministry, that prcpjirations for railway trans- 

1)ort had been made, and that considerable stores of foi-age had 
)een collected. Hoi^ses which had been cast were restored to the 
ranks of the aitillery ; were equipped in the harbours ; 
the Algerian troops were held in readiness to maicli ; but up to 
the 15th July no proper mobilisation of the aiuny had been 

With the Germans all partial measures, even to the aniia- 
ment of the fix)ntier fortresses, were in abeyance. We wished to 
prepare eiOter completely or iiot at all, and were confident that 
with the order which prevailed in all the military departments 
we should not be behindhand. 

It was only when we became certain, from information which 
reached us on the 15 th July, tliat the French Reserves and Garde 
Mobile had actuall}*^ been called in, and that the fleet was to be 
equipped in the poiis, that the order for mobilising the whole 
Noi*th German army was issued on the night of the 15th-16th. 

But Prussia, and the States united with her in the Noi-th Ger- 
man Confedcratiou, were not to stand alone in the impending 

The danger, with which all Germany was threatened by the 
proceedings of its old sworn enemy, was thoroughly appreciated on 
all sides, from the very moment that France, after the retirement 
of the llohenzoUern Prince, declared that the affair was not yet 

In thu Bavarian Chambers anoL inconsiderable minority wished 
at first to gi*ant the necessary credit, solely " for the maintenance 
of armed neutrality," but general opinion in the country did 
not share this *'partic\darism." The noble-minded King Louis 
and his ministers were foremost iu their support of the noith. 
The monarch expresjsed his views at the opening of the Assembly 
as follows : — 

'* True to the treaties of alliance to which I have pledged my 
royal word, I shall join with my i)owerful ally for the honour of 
Germany, and through her for the honour of Bavaria, if duty 

demands it." 

The order for mobilisation was also promulgated in that country 
on the IGth, the tii-st day of mobilisation was appointed for the 
I7th, and on the 19th the army was placed under the orders of 
King William. 


King Charles of Wurtcniberg hastening back from St. l[auricc 
reached Stuttgai^d on the 17th, and forthwith issued orders for 
mobilisation. On the 21st the Ministiy declared to the Chamber 
" that they considered the integi'ity of German}' threatened, and 
that it was necessary to unite with Prussia/* 

The prevailing feeling in Germany left no doubt as to the 

It was no less the case in the Gitmd Duchj^ of Baden, where 
the effoi*ts of the Prince to establish German unity had for a 
long time met with a most joyous response from the people. 
Mobilisation was ordered on the night of the 15th-16th, and 
on the 22nd an official declaration was made by the Grand Ducal 
Qoveiimient that in consequence of their alliance with Piiissia, 
and the French declaration of war, they considered themselves 
at war with Fiunce. 

The militaiy relations of the Grand Duchy of Hesse Daimstadt 
with North Germany were fiimly established by A'iifcue of a 
special convention. The mobilisation promulgated by the King 
of PiTissia included also the troops of the Grand iJucby, and met 
with prompt acquiescence. 

Thus all Germany united in taking up aims, from the fii-st 
moment that danger threatened, as she had never done before. 
The German Diets showed the utmost willingness to gitmt the 
necessary money for the conduct of operations on a large scale. 

On the 19th July, the anniversary of the deatli of the Queen, 
who will never be forgotten as the participator in all the soitows 
which Pmssia suffered at the hands of Franco in times gone by, 
on the day that the old enemy once more hurled the war manifesto 
against us (the first official act whilst the question was pending), 
the Reichstag of the North German Confederation had an extra- 
ordinaiy sitting and gi-anted 120,000,000 of thnlei-s. Until this 
money could be available, the Prussian '* lleiclis-schatz " * of 
30,000,000 would have to suffice, inclusive of any assistance 
which South Geiinany might require. 

In the same way the reinesentatives of the people placed the 
following sums at disposal : — Bavaria, 18,200,000 ; Wiirtemberg, 
5,900,000 ; Baden, 6,287,000 ; Ilosse, :3,37G,000 florins. 

Although war had burst upon tliem unexpectedly, the German 
annies were not taken by surprise. The experiences of the cam- 
paign of 18G6 had not been wasted upon any of the Powers 
engaged in that war, and tlic active effoiis put forth on all sides 
had in many cases led to iinjuovemeiits, and in sonic cases to 
new organisations. 

Ever since that war tlie North German military organisation 
had been established on an uniform principle by the exertions 
of the Prussian War Ministry, on the basis of tbc constitu- 
tion and the special conventions which Prussia had concluded 
with all the Federal states except Brunswick. The acquisition of 

* A war-fund always kept ready in coin, and applicable to no other purpose than 
that of meeting the expenses of mobilising the German army. — Tr. 

c 2 


Hanover, Schleswig-Holstein, Electoral Hesse, Nassau and 
Frankfort, as well as the amalgamation of the smaller Federal 
contingents with the Prussian army, had produced a reinforcement 
of 21 regiments of infantry, 3 rifle battalions, 17 regiments of 
cavalry, 3 regiments of field artillery and 3 divisions of garrison 
artillery, besides 3 battalions of pioneei*s and 3 battalions of 

The IXth, Xth, and Xlth Prussian Army Corps were newly 
formed in consequence, and the independent contingents of the 
two Mecklenburgs and Brunswick (3 regiments of infantry, 
1 battalion of rifles, 3 regiments of cavalry and 5 batteries) were 
incorporated with them. 

The Royal Saxon army, organised by its own War Ministry on 
the Prussian model, was added to the North German army as the 
Xllth Army Corps, and the whole contingent of the Grand Duchy 
of Hesse also became the 25th Division by virtue of a special 

Changes had also been introduced in the different arms. The 
peace strength of all regiments of cavalry had been augmented to 
5 squadrons, one of which was to remain at home as a dep6t 
squadron on mobilisation. The artillery had been equipped 
throughout with rifled guns, and at the outbreak of the war an 
essential improvement in the needle rifle had been commenced, 
but this of course had to be set aside for the present. 

Fortifications were thi*own up at several threatened points for 
the pit)tection of the coasts, improved guns of the heaviest calibre 
were constructed, and arrangements made for laying down 

All the anttngements provisionally introduced in the reorgani- 
sation of the army since 1859 had been legally sanctioned by the 
Army Bill of 9th November 1867. 

In anticipation of this becoming law, and with a view to 
canying it into effect, the organisation of the Reserves and Land- 
wehr had been fixed by the Regulations of the 5th September 
1867 and the 4th July 1868, and new orders had been issued 
83 to the control over those on furlough. 

In dividing the Federal territory into Landwchr districts, those 
of the old Prussian provinces had been adapted to the new orga- 
nisation of the army, as well as to the changes which they had 
undergone, both as regards population and commerce. 

The number of Ltmdwenr battalions in Prussia, which had 
hitherto been 116, was increased to 216.* At the same time 
the recruiting within the Confederation was regulated on a 
uniform plan by the Military-Ersatz instructions of the 26th 
March 1868. 

A new plan for the mobilisation of the army of the North 
German Confederation and its fonnation for war had been 

* According to the plan of mobiUsation for 1870, only 166 could be placed in 
the field, at Uiere was itill a want of trained men in the diftricti of the newly formed 
AxBkj Corpf . 


arranged by the War Ministry and the Chief of the Staff in 
accordance with the altered peace organisation and the experience 
gained in 1866. Material improvements, especially in point of 
rapidity, were the result. 

Experiences of the war in Germany had led to changes in 
other branches of army organisation and administration. Among 
others, the " Etappen '* service more particularly was completely 
reorganised ; the services connected with hospitals and attendance 
on tJie sick in war were newly arranged in harmony with it, and 
improvements were introduced in the railway and telcgi*aph 
seiidces, as well as in the commissariat. 

Especial attention had been devoted to tactical mattei's. The 
labours of the General Staff on the subject had received the royal 
sanction in 1869. These chiefly referred to the aiTangements for 
a new order of march and to regulations for the employment 
of cavalry and artillery in accordance with the requirements 
of modem war&re. 

The organisation and foimatlon of the military forces of Ba- BaTarian 
varia had been modelled on the type of those of the North orgwiMation. 
German Confederation. The Bill of 30th January 18G8 intro- 
duced a military constitution analogous to the Army Bill, including 
the liability to personal service, the institution of the Landwehr 
and of the one-year volunteers. Subsequent orders laid down the 
details on these subjects. The points of difference were tliat the 
duration of service in the Resei*ve was reduced to three years, 
and for financial reasons the time of service with the colours in 
the infantiy was but sliglitly increased, so that on an average it 
barely reached 1^ years. 

The Infantry had adopted a new formation by decreasing the 
number of companies from six to four, thus giving the latter a 
larger establishment. The drill was altered to suit this change, 
due consideration being at the same time given to the experience 
gained in war and the enhanced efiect of fire. The number of 
rifle battalions was increased by two. 

Tlie old Podewil rifle had been transformed into a breech- 
loader in 1867 ; and although the improved Werder rifle was 
adopted in 1869, only 4 battalions (rifles) were armed with it at 
the outbreak of the war. 

In the Cavalry, one cuirassier and one lancer regiment were 
reduced, the remaining 10 regiments receiving an increased 
establishment of horses (125 per squadron) ; regiments were 
formed, as in Prussia, into 5 insti^jul of 4 squadrons. 

In the Artillery the batteries were formed of C rifled guns ; 
14 new batteries were raised, and a uniform distribution of the 
4 regiments into 8 field, 4 garrison, and 1 park batteries was 
resolved upon. In addition, 2 artillery regiments were combined 
into a bri^stde. 

The regiment of Engineei^s received an augmentation of two 
companies, and these six field engineer companies were formed 
into two divisions of three companies each. 

From the 1st February 1869, the title of " General Command *' 
was no longer applied to the foi£r Divisions, and '^ General 


Commands," (i.e.. Corps commands. — Tr.), on the Prussian plan« 
were formed at Munich and Wurzburg. 

The mobilisation and war formation were regulated on similar 
principles to those obtaining in North Qermany, and the organi- 
sation of field, dep6t and garrison troops, as well as the pre- 
paration of all the necessary personnel and mat&iel were to 
DC conducted for the future in the same way. The only important 
differences lay in the organisation of the train. 

The country was divided into 32 Landwehr districts. The 
regulations on this subject had not been in force a sufficient time 
to obtain the requisite number of drilled men and non-com- 
missioned officers, and they had to be satisfied for the present 
with forming 16 Landwehr battalions, one for every two districts. 

The regulations for the Fi-ussian " Etappen " service were 
adopted without any change in Bavaria. 

A railway and a telegi*aph division were to be raised if required 
from the engineer regiment, and the preliminaries for the forma- 
tion of a railway transport service were also arranged. 
Wiirtemberg In Wiirtemberg they had decided, immediately after the 
organiMtion. campaign of 1866, to raise their Division up to the strength 

of an Army Corps ; but from financial considerations this could 
only be done by giving the infantiy a militia-like trainhig 
and by an excessive reduction of the time of service of the 
other aims with the colours. Tliis plan was therefore allowed 
to fall to the ground in the spring of 1867, and the preference 
given to a smaller but for that reason more substantial force. 
The formation and strength of the tactical units were to be 
assimilated as much as possible to those of the North Geiman 

The infantry and rifle battalions were accordingly reduced 
from five to four companies with an increased peace and war 
establishment. A Landwehr battalion "permanent staff" was 
formed for each infantry regiment. 

In the cavalry the 5th squadron was disbanded ; the remaining 
16 squadrons were bix)ught up to a strength of 119 horses, the 
intention being that the 10 squadrons fii*st taking the field should 
be completed in horses &om those remaining behind. 

For the artillery, the organisation contemplated before 18GG 
was adopted. The battalion of garrison artillery gave up its 
teams to the regiment of field artiller}^ and was itself increased 
by one batteiy. The regiment of field artillery was formed into 
9 semi-mounted field batteries* of 4 guns in peace, 6 in war ; 
the number of depot batteries and ammunition columns was in- 
creased to 3 each. The technical artillery (arsenal) formed 
another company. 

The cadres of the pioneer companies were increased so as to 
allow of the fon nation of a company of garrison engineers on 

In the train division the cadres were doubled. 

* i.e., with a larger establishment of horses than field, but less than horse artil- 
ery.— Tr. 


' The infantry, rifles, and cavalry received the Prussian needle 
gun, the whole of the artillery rifled guns. Important improve- 
ments were introduced in the harness and saddlery. 

The Prussian Drill, with the exception of certain modifications 
necessitated by differences in equipment, was introduced in all 
branches of the service. Part of the Service Regulations were 
based on those obtaining in Prussia. 

The superintendence of milit<ary duty and of the training of 
the troops was transferred in 18G8 from the War Ministry to the 
Corps Commander. 

All these innovations were based on an Axmy Bill of the same 
year passed by the deputies, which fixed the obligation for service 
with the colours for all arms, except the cavalry, at two years ; 
but which in its other features did not differ much from the law 
prevailing in Prussia. 

On the other hand, the Prussian '^ Ersatz Instructions " did not 
receive the consent of the Giambers, and had therefore to be 
replaced by other regulations. 

At length a plan of mobilisation for infantry, cavalry, pioneers, 
and other branches of the service was drawn up similoi* to the 
one which had obtained with the artillery and train for some 
years ; but for want of officei^s provision could only be made for 
i instead of 8 Landwehr battalions. 

In tbe Grand Duchy of Baden the Prussian anny institutions Baden organi- 
liad been most thoroughly introduced. sation. 

On the promulgation of th(3 now Army Dill ou the 1 2Ui Febru- 
ary 18G8, the Prussian regulations anil orders, with haidly any 
alteration, came in rapid sequence into use for all branches of the 
.service, and a special Mobilisation Instruction, based on the plan of 
mobilisation of the North German Federal army, was projected. 

The Baden contingent had been increased in time of peace by 
5 battalions, 3 squadrons, 3 field batteries, 1 garrison artillery 
company, and 1 pioneer company. 

The country was also divided into 10 Landwehr districts, which 
in 1870 furnished 6 Landwehr battalions of 602 men each. The 
needle rifle was introduced, and at the same time the artillery 
was armed throughout with the Prussian breech-loading gun. 

It was to these exertions on the part of the allied »Statcs that 
Germany was indebted for the placing in the field of a force 
which in point of strength and uniform training had never been 
equalled by any other nation. 

The total number of men maintained in peace shows an effective Strength and 
strength inclusive of non-combatants of 382,568 men, exclusive ^^c^b^ 
of the superior staffs, seconded officers, Landwehr cadres, and German anny. 
special formations. On the other hand this number was diminished 
somewhat by men on furlough and temporaiy deficiencies. 

Of this number there belonged to, — 

North Germany - . - - 304,413 men. 

Bavaria 60,068 „ 

Wiirtemberg - - - - 14,124 „ 
Baden 13,963 „ 


^ The mobilisation ordered in Berlin on the 15th July included 
the whole Norili German Federal army, the I6th July being 
fixed as the first day of mobilisation. To the 13 Army Corps, of 
which the field army consisted, were added 4 Landwehr Divisions, 
formed of mobilised Landwehr and Reserve troops at the following 
places : — 

Guard Landwehr Division at Berlin. 
The 1st (Pomeranian) Landwehr Division at Stettin. 
The 2nd (Brandenburg) „ „ at Berlin. 

The 3rd (mixed) „ „ at Posen. 

The Brandenburg numbered IG, the othera 12 battalions each, all 
of 802 men ; each Division was augmented by 1 1'eserve cavalry 
regiment, 3 reserve batteries, and 1 garrison pioneer company. 

The I7th Infantry Division which had to be detained tem- 
porarily for covering Schleswig-Holstein, was removed fix)m its 
position in the IXth Army Coq)s, and replaced by the 25th 
Division, thus departing from the peace organisation. 

In addition, those regiments of cavalry which were not 
attached to Infantry Divisions were ordered to be formed into 
independent Cavalry Divisions. The Guard Coqos and the 
Xllth (Royal Saxon) Army Corps, which had cavalry Divisions 
on their peace establishments, as well as the cavalry of the 17th 
and 25th Divisions, remained exceptions to this an*angenient. 

The formation of the new cavalry Divisions could however only 
proceed after the different regiments had been transported to the 
main points of assembly. 

The head-quarter guard of His Majesty the King was composed 
of men from the '* instructional infantry battalion," and the 
*' military riding school" 

Besides these the following services were formed, the greater 
part at once : — 

7 Field telcgi-aph divisions. 
5 Etappen telegraph divisions. 
5 Field railway divisions. 
5 Reserve ammunition depots, and 
21 Reserve ammunition columns. 

In addition to the establishment of depot divisions included in 
the mobilisation of the line troops, all the garrison troops were 
formed according to the plan of mobilisation ; the companies of 
gaiTison artillery and of pioneera at the secmul aivffnientation.^ 

The fortresses of Saarlouis, Mainz, Coblenz, Coin, Wesel, 
Minden, the fortifications of Sonderburg-Diippel, the tempo- 
rary works on the lower Elbe as well as the detached foils of 
Magdeburg were ordered to be armed agains a coxip-de-main. 

* The second augmentation comprises the older onniial draughts of Landwehr not 
mobilised at the outbreak of the war, and th« Ersatz Reserve. — Tr. 


Eight infantry regiments, part of which were on the spot 
were at once ordered to garrison the following fortresses : — 

Mainz : the 19th, 30th, and 81st Infantry regiments. 
Saarlouis : the 70th Infantry Regiment. 
C!oblenz : the 68th „ „ 

Coin : the 65th ,, „ 

Rastatt : the 34!th Fusilier Regiment. 
Sonderburg-Diippel : the 25th Infantry Regiment, 

The 23rd Infantry Regiment had jbeen divided between the 
fortresses of Neisse and Qlatz in the first instance, but w&s 
in the coui-se of a few days ordered to join its own corps in the 

In nearly eveiy case the troops attained their proper esta- 
blishment of effectives witli unimportant exceptions, and in some 
of the Landweln- battalions, especially in the western provinces, 
the numbers were fai* in excess. 

After mobilisation the military forces of the North German strength of 

Confederation (including Hesse) stood as follows : — North Gennan 


(1.) Field Abut. 

396 battalions of infantry and rifles (of which 52 were 

320 squadrons (of which 16 were reserve). 
214 batteries (of which 12 were reserve) with 1,284 

44 pioneer companies (of which 4 wei-e garrison). 

From the above must be deducted those left tempomrily at home 
(the 17th and 4 Landwehr Divisions), viz. : — 

65 battalions. 

28 squadrons. 

18 batteries with 108 guns. 
5 pioneer companies. 

(2.) Garrison TROOPa 

138 battalions (among which were 24 field battalions 
of the line). 

48 squadrons. 

27 field batteries with 162 guns. 
173 ganison artillery companies. 

29 pioneer companies. 

Of these troops, 23 squadrons, 10 batteries, and 7 pioneer 
companies were not told off to gaiTison any foiiress, and were 
consequently available for any service. 

(3.) Depot Troops. 
118 battalions. 
18 rifle companies. 
76 squadrons. 

41 field batteries with 246 guas. 
13 pioneer companies. 


Oonsequently the field army, exclusive of the staff, offioerSi &e« 
amounted in round numhers to — 

385,600 infantry, 48,000 cavalry, and 1,284 gun& 

The garrison troops amounted to— 

115,200 infantry,^ 7>200 cavaby, 34,600 garrison artillery, 
162 horsed guna 

Finally the dep6t troops consisted of 122,500 infiGmtry, 16,200 
cavalry, and 246 horsed guns. 

The strength of this military force, inclusive of non-combatants, 
amounted, taking the average of the effectives in August 1870, 
to 982,064 men, with 209,403 horses, which numbers were dis- 
tributed as follows : firstly, Prussia and the smaUer Federal 
states under her administration ; and secondly, the States having 
an independent administration : 

Prussia, &c. - - 888,254 men, 187,537 horses. 

Saxony - - 59,428 « 18,989 „ 

Mecklenburg - - 12,109 „ 2,646 „ 

Hesse - - - 22,278 „ 6,231 „ 

Total - 982,064 „ 209,408 „ 

Fkepantioitf, In Bavaria both army coq)s were placed on* a war footing; 
ac,of BuTR- the garrison and reserve troops were formed in accordance with 
anny. ^j^^ pj^^^ ^£ mobilisation, as well as the following : — 

1 Railway engineer company. 

1 Eta])pen telegi-aph division.t 

2 Reserve ammunition depots. 

Tlie under-mentioned line troops remained behind to ganison 
the fortresses : — 

Qermersheim : 4 battalions (4th and 8th Regiments — two 

each) ; 
Landau : 2 battalions (4th and 8th Regiments — one each) ; 
Ulm : the 3rd battalion of the 12th Regiment ; 
IngoLstadt : the 3rd battalion of the 13th Regiment. 

Landau, Germersheim, Ulm (right bank) and Ingoldstadt were 
ordered to receive their first armament when the mobilisation 
took place. 

By the 25th July and the 1st August, the two first fortresses 
were respectively in a state to withstand a coup de maiai ; in 
the course of a few days the batteries, &c. were completed, and 
the provisioning was also in a very advanced stage. 

The same haste did not appear necessaiy for Ulm and Ingol* 
stadt, and, from the course which the operations took, the works 
at those places were very shortly discontinued. 

* According to the << Establishments," which, howerer, were exceeded eren dnriiig 
the mobilisation, 
t One field telegraph division was added to each division of Field Enghieers. 


The total of the Bavarian field army amounted to — 

50 battalions of in&ntiy and rifles ; 
40 squadrons ; 

32 batteries (192 guns); and 
6 companies of engineers. 

In round numbers 60,000 infantry, 6,500 cavah'y* and 192 

The gan-ison troops consisted of — 

24 battalions (among them 8 battalions of the line) ; 

1 squadron ; 

16 garrison batteries ; 

4 garrison engineer companies (one mobilised for the 
Etappen service). 

They numbered altogether 18,400 infantry, f 90 cavalry, and 
3,800 garrison artillerymen. 

The depot troops : 

16 battalions; 
10 rifle companies ; 
10 squadrons ; 
8 batteries (3 horsed guns in each) ; 

2 engineer companies ; 

giving a combatant force, in round numbers, of 20,400 infantry | 
and 1,800 cavalry and 24 guns (horsed). 

The efiective of all these troops including non-combatants, 
consequently the number of troops h^ougkt into the field by 
Bavaria, may be estimated, taking the average calculation for 
the month of August, at — 

128,964 men and 
24,066 horses. 

In Wuiliemberg also the l7th of August was the first day of Wflrtcmberg 
mobilisation, and on that day orders were issued for the arma- **""^* 
ment of Ulra (left bank). 

In accordance with the plan of mobilisation the troops were 
])laced on the war footing in their garrisons, where the ammu- 
nition columns, reserve and depot divisions, which are not kept 
up in time of peace, were also formed. 

The depdt troops formed of the War Reserve and the drilled 
Ersatz-Reserve, were intended to serve partly as garrisons, partly 
to complete the ranks of the field army in men and horses. 

The depots of the infantry regiments, rifle battalions, and 
mounted regiments, as well as those of the regiments of field 
artillery and pioneer- corps, were at first only cadres, but subse- 
quently, by embodying recruits, they were extended into com- 
panies, squadrons, and batteries. 

* The squadrons were not as strong as in Prussia. 

t The Landwehr battalions are here calculated at 650 men ; they were sabseqnentlj 
819 strong. 

X This establishment of depot infantry was larger than in Prussia, and moreover 
was soon exceeded. 


Of special formations, finally, a field telegraph division, not 
induded in the plan of mobilisation, was formed ; two sections 
of the ammunition-depot company wei'e subsequently mobilised. 

The following troops were originally intended for ganisoning 
the fortress of Ulm : — 

4 battalions of the line (the 4th and Gth InfSetntry 
Regiments) formed into a brigade ; 

1 battalion of garrison artillerj' of 4 batteries ; 

1 company of engineers ; 

1 of the 6 dep6t squadrons ; 

1 of the 3 depot batteries. 
Buteventually the line battalions were replaced by two Landwehr 
dep6t battalions. 

The whole force of the Wui-temberg troops, taking the avemge 
of the month of August, amounted to : 

37,180 men and 
8,876 horses. 

The Field Division consisted of : 

15 battalions of infantry and rifles ; 
10 squadrons ; 

9 batteries with 54 giins ; 

2 pioneer companies ; 

which gives a combatant force of 15,000 infantry, 1,500 cavalry, 
and 64 guns. They were perfectly i*eady to march on the tenth 
day of mobilisation. The cavalry had been already moved to the 
Bhine on the fifth day. 

The following garrison and depot troops were left at home : 

8 battalions (including 4 line battalions) ; 
6 squadrons ; 

3 batteries with 12 guns, horsed ; 

4 garrison batteries ; 
1 engineer company ; 

1 pioneer depot division, as well as a depot of each 
regiment, &c. 

These troops numbered, until the depots were foimed into 
regular i*egiments, a combatant force of 8,000 infantry, 900 
cavalry, 900 garrison artillery, and 12 guns* 
Baden army. The Grand Duchy of Baden, which from its geogi-aphical posi- 
tion was chiefly threatened, saw the necessity, on the 15th 
July, of taking preliminary measures for the defence of the 
country. Orders for the compulsory requisition of 4,479 re- 
mounts were issued on this day, as well as for calling in the men 
on permanent and summer furlough. 

On the same night (15th-l(jth July) that the mobilisation of 
the troops was decreed, Bastatt was ordered to be completely 

* The 4 Landwehr depot tiattalioDS were very soon in cooflidenble excess of their 


The 6th Infantry Regiment and the two fusilier battalions 
of the 4th Regiment were at first left to gaiTison Rastatt, but 
the following troops were moving to the fortress; four Land- 
wehr battalions, Nos. 3, 4, 5, and 6 (C02 men each), formed into 
a regiment ; a garrison squadron, partlj' formed from line troops 
and partly from the Ersatz ; the garrison artillery battalion, and 
a garrison pioneer company. 

On the 4th August the 1st Landwehr battalion had been moved 
to Maxau, tlie 2nd to Mannheim and Carlsruhe. 

The strength of the whole troops, inclusive of non-combatants, 
when the mobilisation was completed, amounted to 35,181 men 
and 8,038 horses. 

The Field Division consisted of : 
13 battalions;* 
12 squadrons ; 
9 batteries with 54 guns ; 
1 pioneer company ; 
or 11,700 infantry, 1,800 cavalry, and 64 guns. 

The following remained behind as garrison troops : 
11 battalions (including 5 line battalions) ; 
1 squadron; 
9 garrison artillery companies (including a horsed 

battery of 6 guns) ; 
1 garrison pioneer company ; 
or 8,600 infanti7, 100 cavahy, 1,200 garrison artillery, and 6 guns. 

Finally, the depot troops consisted of : 
6 infantry-depfit-detachments ; 
3 depdt squadrons ; 
2 depot batteries with 12 guns ; 
1 pioneer detachment ; 

giving a total combatant force of 4,400 infantry, 600 cavalry, 
and 12 guns. These last divisions were cantoned in the valley of 
the Tauber between Tauberbischofsheim and Qerlachsheim. 

The following " Recapitulation " indicates the numbers of all Recapitulation, 
the forces of united Germany which were brought into the field : 

Field Aumy. 
















Men. Men. 

(1.) Nortli German Confederation * 
(inclading Hesse). 

(2.) Bayaria 

(8.) Wmtcmborg . - • - 
(4.) Baden 












Total ... 







*The liaebattalioDf took the field 900 Btrongi those In garrison consitted of 1,000 men. 

GaBBISOH AMD DlPdT Tboofs.* 














































Total ■ • 










En-ECTivc STBBNotn (iacludiag non^combaUnts) in Acqust. 




(1.) Horth aenuD Coiiftdcnti<» ■ 

(1.) Btrarim ..... 

(8.) Wnrtemlnirg- . . . . 




Total of Qcttoui MUimr »ot«- - 



B^m»w« ^1 ) including 63 ItaAwtbx battalioiu, 18 BcMrre iqiiadToni, IS ReMrre 
bMtariM, ukd 4 QanisOD piooecr eompuilM.— <>.) Hie Mreiigth of the guriMii 
and depAt troop* i* here c«laal*t«d ueordiog to the estabUihmenti. Thttt wttt, 
bowerer, conrideikbly exceeded in tome of the Pnmtan L«nd«ehr battalioni, in 
the BaTarian dep6t and the WurtembuTK lAadwehr dep(t tuttalioni. (3.) In- 
cloding 94 liae boltalioni. (4.) InclndiaK 8 line batttUotu. <S.) Inclading 4 
line hctuliou . (6.) Inelodbg 5 line battallont. 

Wo have still to speak of the maritime forces which Prussia 
bod at her t^poaat for the defence of the Qerman coasta. 
The men-of.war consisted of : 

3 iron-clad fiigates ; 
2 iron-clad vessels ; 
6 spar-decked and 

4 flush-decked corvettes; 
1 ship of the line ; 

5 despatch boats ; 
S sailing frigates ; 
4 sailing brigs ; 

the royal yacht " Grille ;" 
nutking a total of 26 ships. Besides these there vere — 
8 gun boats of the Ist, and 
14 gun boats of the 2nd class. 


Fart of these vessels could not, however, be counted upon for 
a naval engagement ; viz., the sailing sliips, the " Renown " (a 
ship of the line stationed at Kiel and used as an artillery and 
guard-ship), 2 spar-decked and 2 flush-decked corvettes, 1 des- 
patch boat, and 1 gun boat of the 1st class ; the last six partly 
on account of their undergoing repairs and, for the first few 
weeks,ypartly for want of men. 

Consequently there remained but 12 large men-of-war and 21 
gun boats fit for service, and of these 3 coivettes and 1 gun 
boat of the 1st class being on foreign service could not effect their 
junction with the home naval forces before the outbreak of 

The navy numbered 6,204 men : this force, inclusive of officers, 
cadets, deck-officers, and non-combatants, consisted of— 
The naval division - - . 3,923 men 

The dockyard division (machinists and 

artificers) - - - -918,, 

The marine battalion (of five companies) - 905 „ 
And the marine artillery (1 division of 

three companies) ... 453 „ 

Total . 6,204 „ 

Of the 12,940 men belonging to the reserve, there were 0,105 
absent, leaving only 6,835 men immediately available. 

The preparation of the naval forces for war required longer 
time than the mobilisation of the land army, as the i*eserves had 
to be embodied and the vessels equipped. 

In addition to this, the necessary orders about coast defence 
had to be issued. 

Owing to the tedious process of calling in the reserves, the 
whole fleet could not be expected to be ready for three or four 

Five hundred sailors, who had completed their service, having 
been called in on the 15th July, a Boyal Cabinet Order was 
iasued on the 16th ordering the navy to be placed in com- 
mission 'and the marine battalion and [marine artillery to be 

In accordance therewith, the calling in of the reserves and 
" Seewehr " of the dockyard division and of the marine forces 
was ordered on the 16th, and on the 18th all the reserves who 
had served, the pilots and the two youngest yearly levies of 
the '* Seewehr " were embodied with the naval division. Laatlyy 
on the 27th July, the calling in was extended to the sailors of 
all the yearly levies, as well as to all those liable to service 
with the fleet as far back as those born in 1842. 

Kiel was appointed the place of assembly for the reserves. As, 
however, this harbour was not well suited as a central position in 
consequence of its being badly situated as regards communication 
with the interior of the country and the other coast fortresses, 


interruptions were unavoidable, and in consequence the reserves 
in some of the Corps were not present on the 30th July. 

By an order of 19 th July, the marine battalion depot company 
was, at the beginning of August, amalgamated with the reserve 
maiine battalion then in process of foimation. 

The Maiine Artillery foraied 6 companies of 251 men each, of 
which 4 were stationed in Friedrichsort and 2 in Wilhelmshaven. 
On the 4th August they were ordered to be further augmented by 
the formation of 3 reserve companies of 148 men each. Officers 
and men of the Landwehr artillery, from the districts of the 
Vllth and Vlllth Army Corps, were brought in to complete the 

Thus, on the 31st July the strength of the navy amounted to 
10,382 men, as follows: 

Naval division ------ 5,824 

Dockyard division ------ 1,41 1 

Marine battalion (including the depot company 
and the reserve marine battalion in process 
of formation) --.--- 1,998 
Marine artilleiy ------ 1,149 

Total - 10,382 

In addition to these preparations a Eoyal Cabinet Order was 
promulgated on the 24th July, ctilling upon the public to form 
a " Volunteer Seewehr " for the offensive torpedo service. There 
were 322 men employed in this service in August. 

The ships were placed in commission by the Naval Ministry 
in concert with the Commander-in-Chief of the navy. 

Of the ships fit for active service, the following were already in 
commission by the middle of July : — * 

The iron clad frigates " Konig Wilhclm " '* Kronprinz " and 
" Friedrich Carl," and the ironclad " Frinz Adalbert," forming 
a squadron under the command of Prince Adalbert, which was 
intended to cruise in the Atlantic, practice sea manoeuvres, and 
test the sea-going qualities of iron-clad ships ; furtlier, there were 
4 gun boats on harbour and coast service. 

The orders now issued included the placing in commission of, 
the iron-clad ship " Arminius," the two corvettes " Elisabeth " 
and " Nymphe," the royal yacht ** Grille,'* and the remaining 20 
gun boats. 

In addition, several vessels of the commercial marine were 
hired or purchased in the Weserand Elbe, as well as at Kiel and 
Stettin, for reconnoitring and other purposes. 
Appendix IV. '^^^ entire available naval force is shown in Appendix IV. 

The necessary orders for coast defence were at first issued by 
the War Ministry, but after the 18th July by the newly formed 
" Government General of the coasts.'' 

All lightships, buoys, &c were removed from those waters 


where there was any approliension of a descent, and a coast-guard 
service established. 

At the same time arrangements were made for placing obstruc- 
tions in the channels, with batteries to defend them ; temporary 
fortifications were also thrown up, in which the troops could offer 
resistance in the event of the enemy effecting a landing. 

The two war harbours at Wilhclmshaven and Kiel were never 
less prepared for war than in July 1870. 

Wilhelmshaven was in process of creation ; the ramparts 
were incomplete, not a gun was mounted, and the port could not 
be efficiently closed before the 3 1st July. Tlie protection of the 
liarbour, in the first instiinco, devolved upon the North Sea 
squadron assembled there. For the interior defence of the Jade 
district 6 coast batteries were in course of construction, with 
works on the land side to protect them in rear. 

The fortifications at the entrance to the bay of Kiel were being 
entirely rebuilt. 

Yet by the 19th July the entrenchments at Moltenort and 
Jagerberg at the mouth of the harbour were completely armed, and 
on the 5 th August tiie whole of the batteries were ready to open 

It was further necessary to protect those points of the coast 
at the mouth of rivers and other harbours, wliich were acceasible 
to the enemy's ships, with obstructions and coast batteries. 

Similar arrangements on a very extended scale were made on 
the coasts of the North Sea for the protection of tlie Weser and 
Elbe ; 14 steam torpedo boats and 7 torpedo row boats, manned 
chiefly by volunteer See-wehr, were posted at different points in 
readiness to aid in the defence. 

On the shores of the Baltic, in addition to Kiel, there were 
batteries at Sonderburg, Travemlincle, and Wismar, besides 
obstructions at both the first-named points. 

All the fortifications were provisioned for 3 months. 

One of the ]>rincipal duties of a " general staff* in peace is the Count v. 
preparation b«3forehand of detailed plans for the concentration Mo^tke's pro- 
and trans])ort of the troops with a view to meeting all the probable inrasion of 
eventualities to which war may give rise. France. 

When an army first takes the field, manifold political and geo- 
graphical con?^iderations, as well as the purely military, have to 
be weighed. Errors in the original concentration of the army can 
scarcely ever be made good during the course of the campaign. All 
these arrangements, however, may be considered long beforehand, 
nnd — assuming the troops are in readiness for war and the transport 
ser\'ice organised — ^must lead to the result which is contemplated. 

It is otherwise with the subsequent task of strategy, that is to 
say, with the adaptation of the means thus prepared to the 
purposes of war — the operations. 

In this case we have to grapple with the enemy's opposi- 
tion. It may, of course, be limited in its effects by our ready 

29982. ^ 


and resolute initiative ; but it cannot be crushed except by 

The material and moral consequences of every great battle ai-e 
of so comprehensive a character, that they commonly produce an 
entire change in the situation, and with it a fresh starting point 
for new measures. No plan of operations can with any safety 
include more than the first collision with the enemy's main 
force. It is only the laity who believe that they can trace 
throughout tlie course of the campaign the prosecution of an 
original plan, arranged beforehand in lul its details and observed 
to the very close. The Commander-in-Chief most undoubtedly 
wiD, in spite of the changing fortunes of war, always have the 
main object of the campaign before his eyes, but the means by 
which he hopes to attain it cannot be sketched out with certainty 
long beforehand. 

Tlie detailed scheme for the concentrjition of all the Geimaii 
military forces in the event of a war with France and for the 
disposition and formation of the different armies as a basis for 
further operations is to be found in a project of the Prussian 
general staff dated in the winter of 1808-69. 

The primary object of the operations is therein pointed out — 
" to seek out the enemy's main force, and, when found, to 
attack it." In this simple plan, attention is drawn to the diffi- 
culties which are inseparable from the handling of those " very 
large masses " necessary for the purpose, but from the very 
first movements we can detect the leading idea — ^forcing the main 
hostile army in a northerly direction away from its communi- 
cations with Paria 

General von Moltke's project, which we shall repeatedly quote, 
fii*st examines the relative strength of the two field armies. It 
starts with the assumption that in consequence of considerations 
connected with transport, and, perhaps, owing to political circum- 
stances, North Germany would have at first only 10 corps at her 
disix>sal, or a total of 

330,000 men,* 

against which France, at the outset, could array only 250,000, 
or after enrolling her reserves, 

343,000 men. 

This proportion between the opposing armies at the com- 
mencement would be changed considerably in our favour should the 
South German States also take part in the war — a circumstance 
of which we were then not so certain — or if the thi*ee reserve 
corps and some Landwehr Divisions could be brought up in time 
from North Germany. 

" It is obviously important," says the project, " to make full 
use at once of the superiority which the North Gcnnan forces 
alone confer upon us. 

* The combatants of ali nrins arc included in this number. 


" This advantage ^ill be still more increased at the decisive 
point should the French commit themselves to expeditions agaiast 
the North Sea coast or against Soutli Germany. Sufficient men 
are left in the country to protect us against the first-named 
enterprise. With regard to the latter operation, conferences 
had been held in Berlin with the representatives of the South 
Geiman contingents some little time back, by which it was 
clearly shown that, on account of the distance, Nortli Ger- 
many was not capable of giving effective and immediate help 
in a direct defence of the upper Rhine and Black Forest, and 
tliatthe safety of the South would be better secured by a concen- 
tration of all the forces on the middle Rhine. These combined 
forces would then be in a position to assume the offensive at 
pleasure on either bank against the flank of the enemy s line of 
invasion, and must soon compel him to halt or retire." 

It is deserving of special mention that the South German 
princes, subscribing to these views and devoting themselves to the 
common cause in full confidence of the supreme commander, did 
not hesitate to denude their own land of troops in order to array 
themselves with the North German forces, a proof of confidence 
which made the responsibility of the North so much the graver. 

*' The neutrality of Belgium, Holland, and Switzerland, limits 
the theatre of war to the area between Luxemburg and Basle. 

" Should France disregard the neutrality of one of these states 
— say Belgium — her army must weaken itself considerably in 
Brussels and before Antwerp. Her further advance over the 
Meuse can be more effectively met from the Moselle than fi-om 
Cologne, as we should compel the enemy to form front to the south, 
and whilst threatening his communications give him decisive 
battle. As the distance from Brussels to Cologne is greater than 
from either Mainz, Kaiserslautern, or Trier, we should in such an 
eventuality still be in time to take up a j^osition on our Lower 
Rhine front 

" No less difficulties would ensue were France to violate the 
neutrality of Switzerland, in which countiy she would have to 
encounter a strong and well-organised militia. 

" Now the concentration of considerable forces on the Moselle 
would so immediately threaten France and her capital that she 
could hardly embark in such very remote enterprises. 

'* We may therefore assume with all probability," the pro- 
ject goes on to say, "that the French will effect their fii-st 
concentration on the line Strassburg-Metz, and, avoiding our 
strong fi'ont on the Rl^ine, push forward to the Maiu^ separate 
Noiih from South Germany, come to terms with the latter, and 
use that country as a base for further offensive operations on the 

^ It follows, then, that a concentiution of the whole of the 
available military forces to the soutli of the Moselle in the 
Bavarian palatinate is the most suitable means for counteracting 
such plans. 

" The prospect of some easy success might perhaps tempt the 

D 2 


French to advance from Strassburg against South Germany with 
part of their force. Au operation up the Rhine on the flank of 
this movement will prevent any advance beyond the Black Forest, 
and compel the enemy to disengage himself in a northerly 

" If the Baden- Wiirtemberg Corps closes in to our left wing we 
could so reinforce it from the Palatinate that a decision could 
be sought as near as Rastatt, which, if in our favour, would 
render the enemy's retreat disastrous. 

" In order to sittain this object we can detach part of our 

I principal force without any hesitation, as the enemy has weakened 
limself in our front by the troops ho has withdrawn for his enter- 
prise on the Upper Rhine. 

" If the French make full use of their mil way system with a 
view to a more rapid concentrati(m of their military forces, they 
are compelled to disembark in two main groups at Stnissburg and 
Metz with the Vosges dividing them. If the Strassburg force, 
probably the smaller of the two, is not intended to act against 
South Germany, the operation of uniting it to the main force on 
the upper Mosello can only be effected by road. 

" In the Palatinate we stand on an interior line of opemtion to 
the two grouj)s of tlie enemy. We are in a position to act against 
either of them, or against both simultaneously, provided we are 
strong enough. 

" The concentration of all the forces in the Palatinate protects 
the Lower as well as the Upper Rhine, and permits of an offensive 
operation in tlie enemy's country which, if resolved upon in time, 
will probably anticipate every attempt on the part of the French 
at setting foot on (icrnuin soil. 

" The sole question which remains is, whether we could 
make our first concentration beyond the Rhine, in the Palatinate 
and close to the French frontier, without endangering its success ; 
and this question, in mj' opinion, may be answered in the affir- 

" Our mobilisation is complete down to the most minute details. 
Six through-railways are available for tmnsport to the district 
between the Rhine and Moselle. Time tables indicating the 
day and hour for the departure and arrival of every regiment are 
prepared. The first detachments could be landed by the tenth 
day close to the French frontier, and on the thirteenth da)' the 
combatant troops of two Army Corps could be collected tljere. 
On the eighteenth day the number of our force would amount to 
300,000 men, and by the twentieth day they would be completed 
with nearly all the trains. 

* We have no reason whatever for supposing that the mobi- 
lisation and concentmtion of tho French army, upon which 
point wo however lack experience, could be more rapidly 
effected. Since the time of Na^ioleon I., France has only carried 
out pai*tial mobilisations, on which occasions the vacancies in 
the field army were filled up from that which remained at 


" The French, from the fact of their gamsons and camps hemg 
massed in the north-e&stem part of the empire, the completeness 
of their railway system and the abundance of rolling stock, could, 
if they dete)*mined to take tlie field without reserves, concentrate 
an anny of 150,000 men on the frontier in a very short time. 
The adoption of a bold initiative would accord with the national 
character, and has been discussed in military circles. 

" Supposing an army thus improvised, which in any case would 
be abundantly furnished with cavalry and aiiillery, were collected 
at Metz by the fifth day and crossed the frontier by Saarlouis 
on the eighth, we should still be enabled to stop our transport 
by mil in time and disembark our troi>ps on the llhine. To that 
}X)int the invader would still have six marches, and on the four- 
teenth day he would be opposed by superior forces. The passages 
of the stream being in our possession, we could a few days later 
assume the offensive with more than twice his numbei-s. 

'* The disadvantages and dangers of this course of action on 
the part of the French are so evident that it would hardly be 

" If, then, the concentration in the Palatinate and on the lloselle 
be conceded as possible, no objection against the a&sembly of all 
our available forces at that point can be deduced from the appa- 
rent denudation of our Rhine front. It has been already shown 
that it is protected by the nqutrality of Belgium ; and if the latter 
were violated, by distance, by its own strength, and by the 

The project then expatiates upon the grouping of the military 
forces, as "a host, such as must be brought into the iield against 
France, can evidently only operate by being combined into sev^eral 
armies. The strength of each anny must depend upon the 
special object it has in view, and the different Corps to compose 
it must be so allotted that no delay may take place in getting 
ready for the field. 

*•' No change could be made in the following distribution with- 
out prejudice to the object in view : — 

" The 1st Army, Vllth and VllUh Army (Jorps, to ibrm the 
right wing (about G0,00() nien) near Wittlich. 

" The llnd Army, lllrd, IVth, Xth, and Guard Corps, in the 
centre by Neunkirchen-Homburg (about 131,000 men). 

" The Ilird Army, Vth, Xlth Ai*my Corps, and the Bavarians, 
"Wurtembergers, and Badeners, to form the lull wing (about 
130,000 men), near Landau and Rastatt. 

" A reserve, composed of the IXth and Xllth Army Corps, in 
front of llainz (about 03,000 men); tliis employed as a rein- 
forcement to the centre would increase the Ilnd Army to about 
194,000 men. 

" The strength of the three armies together would amount to 
384,000 men." 

In addition to the foregoing there still remained the 1st, Ilnd, 
and Vlth Army Corps. Tliese, liowever, were not immediately 


available, as at that time tlie railways would be in use by the 
other Corps up to the twenty-first day. 

For the present only 9 infantry regiments were requii-ed for 
gamsoning the fortresses, and the 17th Division^ when mnforced 
by the newly-fonned Landwehr troops, seemed adequate for the 
defence of the coast. 

Consequently after a lapse of three weeks we could assume flic 
offeasive with 384,000 men, or, if we waited four days longer for 
the aiiival of the other three Corps, with 484,000 men. 

The project proceeds to sketch the special positions of the 
three separate armies. 

Id Army. 

'* In order t^:) secure the concentration of the 'N^Ith and VII I th 
Army Corps on the Moselle, it is of importance not to withdiaw 
the troops garrisoning that district, but to leave them as an 
advanced guard near Trier and Saarbriick, and to reinforce them. 

** The line of posts at tlie latter place has to be furnished for tluj 
time being by the two battjxlions and four squadrons quartered there 
and at Saarlouis, just a suiticient fiace for the mere observation 
and protecti«>n of the railway against minor enterprises of the 
enemy. Directions will be sent from head-quarters as to how 
much of the railway is to be destroyeJ from time to time, and a 
railway division will be att«ached to the detachment for this purj)05:e. 
If possible, the detachment shoujd not fall back beyond Nenu- 
kirchen, as it will be relieved or reinforced on the twelfth day by 
troops of the Ilird Corps. It may then rejoin its own corps. 

" The garrison of Tiier, consisting of 4 battalions, 4 squadrons 
and a battoy (which latter should Ije at once despatched from 
Cobleiiz), should be able to hold its ground at Trier, Schweich, or 
at least in front of Wittlich, as it is not immediately threatened bj' 
the enemy, and the grouml favoui-s it in ever}^ way. As early 
as the fourteenth day detachments would arrive to its support, 
and by the sixteenth day the whole of the Vlllth Corps 
(except the 33rd Regiment) and the Vllth Coii)s (without 

** There will be then 

47 battalions, 32 squailrons, 30 batteries 

ready for action, and on the nineteenth day both Army Corps 
will be completely mobilised and ready to advance in any direc- 
tion which may be ordered.** 

Iliid Aynvj. 

" By taking up a poaitiou at Saarbriicken ov Neunkirchen, as 
the case may be, we gain information as to the distance we can 
safely run the Palatinate railways. On the tenth day troops of 
the Ilird Corps commence to annve at the former place, and 
othera fi-om the XVth Corps on the eleventh day. Oxi the fifteenth 
day both corps, complete in troops, would take up a position close 
to the frontier (somewhere by Bildstock and St Ingbert), behind 


which the XUi and the Guard Corps would be disembarked ; and 
thus by the nineteenth day there would be collected round Homburg 

104 battalions, 108 squadrons, (JO batteries." 

Ilird Army. 

*' The line occupied by a Bavarian brigade at Landau would 
be supported on the fifteenth and sixteenth day, by the arrival 
of the infantry Divisions of the Vth Corps. By the thir- 
teenth day the greater portion of the XI th Corps, partly airiving 
on foot, would be collected, and consequently by the eighteenth 
day there would be a Prussian force in a strong position behind 
the Klingbach, of 

50 battalions, 40 squadrons, 30 batteries, 

which would be able to afford assistance to the Baden- Wlii+em- 
berg Corps between Bastatt and Carlsruhe in the event of the 
French crossing the Upper Rhine. Should the Ilird Army be 
required in South Qennany, the reserve army would fonn the left 
flank-dchelon of the army assuming the offensive towards the 
west. If, on the other hand, the Rhine should not be crossed, 
the Baden-Wurtemberg corps can also be drawn forward to the 
left bank of the Rhine." 

The Reserve. 

" Of the reserve, the IXth Army Corps will be in Kiix^heim- 
Bolanden, the Xllth Army Corps in front of Alainz by the 
seventeenth day, so that 

52 battalions, 40 squadrons, 31 batteries, could reach the neigh- 
bourhood of Homburg, in rear of the Ilnd annj-, by the nineteenth 

*' It is very unlikely that the French would be able to attack 
our Ilnd ai'my, which is the most advanced, at an earlier date 
with a superior force. 

" Supposing they had concentrated their whole force against 
it, and the Ilnd was obliged to fall back upon the reser\-e aimy, 
we should still be able to accept battle in an exceedinuly favour- 
able position near Marnheini, with a foi-cc of nearly 200,000 men 
by the twentieth day. In this case the French could not execute 
any gi*eat enterprise against the Upper Rhuie or the Lower Moselle, 
and it would consequently be perfectly possible to reinforce 
our piincipal army from the Ilird Army, and to direct the 1st 
Aimy over the Nahe, upon the fiank and rear of the enemy's 
advance. With only moderately good management we might 
concentrate 300,000 men for a decisive blow. 

" If, on the other hand, the Ilnd Army holds its gi-ound on the 
frontier, as may with some probability be assumed, reinforce- 
ments would reach it in time from the reserve, whilst the 1st 
and Ilird Army secure the flanks, and thus the ollensive might at 
once be taken into the enemy's country. 

** Should we still be in ignorance as to the point of assembly 
of the main forces of the enemy, there are foiu* ca> aliy Divisions 
of 76 squadrons at hand, which, supported by infantry, should 
furnish us with the information we desire. 


The project concludes vrith an examination of the coast defence. 

A landing on the part of the French, even if meditated at all, 

need only be apprehended in the very earliest stage of the war, 

* as any wide-sweeping enterprise of this nature would be out of 

the question directly we touched French soil. 

The shores of the North Sea would appear to be primarily 
threatened ; for their protection there were local garrisons (dep6t 
and garrison troops) of about 26,000 men, as well as the 17th 
field Division of infantry near Hamburg, and the 2nd Landwehr 
Division near Bremen, giving a total available field force of 
29,000 men. For the defence of the Baltic coast, which was less 
threatened, there were, besides the local garrison, the 1st Landwehr 
Division consisting of 11,000 men, and the Guard Land welu* Divi- 
sion of 11,000 men near Hanover, forming a resei-ve to.the whole. 
Any movement in the Baltic could not fail to be obsei*ved, and 
we should have ample time to despatch our military forces by rail 
in that dii*ection and meet the enemy there with a force of 
40,000 men. Moreover, in the fii-st stage of the war there would 
still be three Prussian Corps in the countiy. 

This project, drawn up, as before remarked, in the winter of 
1868-69, formed without modification the basis for the initiatory 
orders, when hostilities suddenlj' broke out. 
Railway pre- 111 anticipation of their meeting with approval, all the neces- 

paratioDs. sary preparations down to the smallest details were made before- 

hand, and when His Majesty the King, on his return to Berlin, 
signified his approbation, it was only necessary to insert the firat 
day of mobilisation in the marching and time tables, for the 
movement of the troops to commence. These tables had been 
worked out for each separate regiment by the Railway Section 
of the General Staff (under Lieut.-Colonel v. Brandenstein). 

His Majesty the King commanded the different armies to 
fonn in the proposed niamier on the 18th July, and their 
commandei'S to take charge directly the concentration was 
completed. The cavalry divisions were assigned to them on the 
25th July. 

The 1st Anny was accordingly formed of the Vllth and Vlllth 
Aimy Corps, and the 3rd Cavaliy Division under the supi-eme 
command of General of Infantiy v. Steinmetz. 

The Ilnd Army, General of Cavalry, H.R.H. Prince Frederick 
Charles of Pnissia ; of the Guard, Ilird, IVth, and Xth Army 
Coii^s, and the 5th and Gth Cavalry Divisions. 

The Ilird Army, General of Infantry, H.R.H. the Crown 
Prince of Prussia ; of the Vth and Xlth Corps, the 1st and Ilnd 
^Bavarian C()r|)s, the AVuitemberg Division, Baden Division, and 
the 4th Cavalry Division. 

The Reserve consisted of the I Xth and XII th Army Corps. 

Of the mobilized troops, for which no transport was at first 
available, and which consequently could not be assigned to any 
particular army, there remained — 

The 1st, Ilnd, and Vlth Anny Corps and the 1st and 2nd 
Cavalry Divisions. 


Besides these the 17th Infantry Division, the Guard, the Ist, 
2nd, and 3rd Landwehr Divisions were told off for coast 

The "Order of Battle" in Appendix V. gives tlie special Appendix V. 
formation of all the above-mentioned troops and their staffs. 

The whole territory of the North German Confederation was 
divided into five Governments-General, which were to continue 
in force as long as the army remained on a war footing, as 
follows : — 

(1.) The districts of those corps situated on the coasts, Ist, 
Ilnd, IXth, and Xth Corps. General of Infantry Vogel von 
Falkenstein — head-quarters, Hanover. 

(2.) The districts of the Vllth, Vlllth, and XI th Corps, Gene- 
ral of Infantry v. Herwarth — Coblenz, 

(3.) The districts of the Ilird and IVth Corps. General v. 
Benin — Berlin. 

(4.) The districts of the Vth and Vlth Corps. Lieutenant- 
General v. Lc5wenfeld — Poscn. 

(5.) The district of the Xllth Corps — Lieutenant-Qeneral v. 
Fabrice (Royal Saxon War Minster) — Dresden. 

On the 13th August, War Minister v. Suckow was nominated 
Governor-General for Wlirtemberg. 

The Commander-in-Cliief in the Marches and the Military 
Governor of the Rhine Provinces, wore at the same time relieved 
from their functions. The duties of these new commands were 
to control the different depdts of the Corps iu the field, to super- 
intend the formation of new regiments and to take general pre- 
cautions for the safety of their respective districts. 

For the latter purpose the command of the mobilized troops 
in their districts, not forming part of the aainy, were also handed 
over to the Goveniments-General at Hanover and Coblenz ; those 
in the first Government wore placed under the special command 
of H.R.H. the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. 

The mobilisation of the troops in the Rhenish districts bordering 
on the French frontier was threatened by the proximity of 
the French peace garrisons and camps of cxoiclse, yet by taking 
precautionary measures this might be provided against. 

In order to meet this eventuality, the district commands, the 
stores, and the surplus war materiel in the district between the 
right bank of the Moselle and the left bank of the Rhine were 
tmnsferred to the Rhine. The reserves and depdt troops were 
assembled at those points, and from thence sent on to join the 
I6th Division, which garrisoned the parts immediately threatened. 
The only exceptions were the men required to fill up the 69th 
and 70th Regiments^ who were ordered to Saarlouis direct, 
80 as to reinforce the gan'isoh of that fortress as speedily as 

Owing to the effective co-operation of all concerned, and the 
independent and salutary measures adopted by the local autho- 
rities, the mobilisation of the Vlllth Corps was effected without 


material hindrance in the time contemplated. By the 26th July 
the (General commanding reported its completion. 

Saarlonis, although exposed and so near the frontier, was 
from the I7th July quite secure from a coup-de^mai/n, and was 
abundantly provided with food and cattle ; on the following day 
the levies for the artillery and a pioneer detachment reached 
the place. 

Tne district commanders in the Bavarian Palatinate did not 
quit their posts, but were held in readiness to withdraw ;* the 
depdts were removed frt)m the open towns to Aschaffenburg and 

In Baden the mobilisation was conducted from the commence- 
ment on the probability of an immediate invasion. The Land- 
wehr-district* commanders remained in their places in readiness 
to move ; the reserves in the district between Rastatt and Lorrach 
were embodied at their regimental points of assembly. The 
regiments quartered in Fi'eiburg and Constance had been already 
moved on the 16th July by rail to Rastatt, for the purpose of 
augmenting the garrison ; the 34th Pomeranian Fusilier Regi- 
ment and a company of miners from Frankfort and Coblenz 
arrived on the 17th. These troops formed the first assistance 
sent to the South of Germany. 

Tlie mobilisation being completed, the transport sex^vice was 
now brought Into requisition. 

The capabilities of the sei-vice, which had formed the data for 
calculation in the campaign of 1866, had since then been much 
extended and increased. 

The mode of proceeding now was to move the field troops 
directly after the reserves had been brought in ; the daily work 
of a single line of rail had been increased to 12 trains^ a double 
line to 18 trains, and the number of carriages to each train was 
increased, so that the transport of a Corps was a matter of 6^ 
or 3^ days work. 

By a careful allotment of the different lines leading to the 
theatre of war, none would remain unused, no matter for how 
short a time, and thus the fullest amount of work would be 
realised from all. 

In carrying this out, newly constructed lines had to be brought 
at once into use, which necessitated continual changes during 
peace time in the time tables for each regiment. This labour 
was the more heavy from the fact that every acceleration in 
mobilising the separate detachments would entail fresh plans for 
the transport of the whole army, so that the lines might never 
lie idle fr'om the time the troops were ready. 

As a general rule it was so an*anged that the combatant troops 
should be first despatched and the trains next ; the mingling of 
troops of different Corps on one line should be avoitled as much 
as possible, but there Avas no objection to forw2U*ding the same 
Ai-iny Corps by several lines. 

* The district command at ZveibrUcken iras removed to Spejer ou the 30th July. 


No railway employ^ were called upon to sei-vo with the colours 
until a later date, bo that the railway service should not be 
short-handed at first. 

The following 9 lines of rail were available for forwarding 
the whole of the North and South German troops. For the North 
German Corps — 

A. Berlin, Hanover, Cologne, Bingerbruck, Keunki/rcheiu 

B. Leipzig or Harburg, Kreiensen, Moabach (near Biebrich). 

C. Berlin, Halle, Cassel, Frankfort, Mannheim, Homburg. 

D. Dresden or Leipsic, Bebra> Fulda, CasteL 

E. Posen, Gorlitz, Leipzig, Wurzburg, Mainz, Landau. 

F. Munster, Diisseldorf, Cologne, Call, 
For the South German corps— 

1. Augsburg, Ulm, Bruchsal. 

2. Nbrdlingen, Crailsheim, Meckesheivi. 

3. Wttrzburg, Mosbach, Heidelberg. 

Four subsidiary lines brought the troops belonging to the 
northern provinces of Prussia to the main lines. Only four of 
the latter crossed the Rhine. 

There was ample railway materiel for the transport. Only 
about I of the carriages and f of the locomotives were required 
for the transit of the first 10 army corps, even if the carriages 
were used but once. 

Officers belonging to the Head-quarters Staff, who were absent 
on duty from Berlin, were telegraphed for on the night of the 
15th-lGth July. On the 17th, marching and time tables, 
indicating the points of concentration, were transmitted to each 
Army Corps. 

According to these tables all three armies were to be concen- 
trated and in readiness to move at the points assigned to them 
on the 3rd August, viz., the 1st Army on the line Saarlouis- 
Merzig, the Ilnd Army near Volklingen, Saarbrlicken, and to- 
wards Saargemund ; the Ilird Army on both banks of the 
Rhine by Landau and Carlsruhe. 

Of the reserves, the Xllth (Saxon) Army Corps was to be 
at Kafeerslautem on the same date, the IXth Corps near Hom- 
burg and Zweibriicken. 

Owing to the untiring zeal of the Railway Directions, all the 
preparations for the transport by rail were carried out with 
perfect oixier. As the first troops completed their mobilisation 
by the 23rd July, the transport of the larger units could be 
commenced on the following day. 

Meanwhile we had not been unmindful of how affairs were 
progressing in France. 

The hap-hazard way in which the French reserves and troops 
were moved — and it must be remembered but very few troops 
had formed part of an Army or Army Corps in peace — made it 
difficult to form a conception of how the new army was formed 
From the newspapers we could only gather the mere numbers of 
numerous regiments coming from the most varied parts of Fronoei 
and we were compelled to foim suppository combinations of them 
based on the grouping of the troops in the peace garrisons. 


Major Krauae of the General Staff, who was entrusted with this 
duty, succeeded in compiling an order of battle on these data, 
which was communicated to the army on the 24th July, and 
which was afterwards found to require but few unimportant 
alterations to be perfectly correct. 

From this plan the formation, up to date, of the 2nd Fi*ench Corps 
at St. Avoid, as well as of the 4th, 3rd, and Guard at Thionville, 
Metz, and Nancy, were known in Berlin. The concentration of 
the 5th Corps between Saargemiind and Bitsch, of the 1st Corps 
at Strassburg, of the Gth Corps at Ch&lons, and the presence 
of two divisions in Paris, were also known. The only points 
about which wo were uncertain were as to the formation of 
the 7th Corps at Belfort, where it was first supposed that 
there was but one reserve Division, and also about the reserve 
cavalry divisions ; and we also imagined that the Divisions still 
remaining in Paiis were intended for a naval expedition. The 
names of the different Corps commandera and tne strength of 
their Corps in infantry Divisions were correctly known ; very few 
mistakes were made in the names of the Division and Brigade 
commanders, and in the numbers of the regiments composing them. 

The following communication as to the strength of tlie different 
units was made verbatim to the commandei*s :— 

'' The marching out strength of the French battalions is on an 
average 500 men. With reserves, on the 29th July, it "may be 
probably calculated at 700 men. The regiments of cavalry will 
not exceed 500 sabres. 

*' Consequently the infantry Division is at the present only 
G,500 ; after the 29 th July it will be 9,100 strong. 

" The 19 Divisions of the first five Corps and of the Guard 
represent therefore at the present time only 123,500 men^ but 
they will subsequently muster 162,500 infantry/* 

To these the Divisions in Chalons, Paris, and Belfort have to 
be added, so that the total force may be assumed at 172,000 
men at first, and after the 29th July at 227,500 men. 

By keeping a cai*eful watch over the enemy's movements we 
obteaned unmistakeable evidence that the French were moving 
towards the frontier without previously enrolling their reserves, 
and without completing the mobilisation in their respective 

The mere interruption of the mobilisation of part of the 
Prussian 16th Division did not appear to be their object, and this 
would alone justify such an unusual and doubtful measure. 

It would not be natural to assume that the enemy would 
renounce the advanUiges which belong to an orderly mobilisation 
and organisation, without crediting him with the desire of some 
compensation in the attaitniicnt of greater aims. On the 
contrary, we should expect the French to cross the frontier of 
the Rhine in'ovinces and the Palatinate with every available 
man and with a decisive superiority at first, so as to prevent the 
concentration of the German armies on this side of the Rhine. 

Whatever the after consequences might be of such a pro- 


ceeding, it was sufficient to alarm iis for the time being, and 
demanded anticipatory measures. 

The 1st Army need scarcely apprehend any surprise. Protected 
by neutral territory its columns marched to the point of concen- 
tration by road. They could close up the moment the heads of 
the columns had to halt, and either res^ist or evade the enemy in 
gi'ound extremely favourable for the purpose. 

Neither had the Illrd Amiy any cause to apprehend a real 
attack. Tlie weaker force of the enemy, with its formation still 
incomplete, was in front of it, and on the other hand it would 
itself receive a considerable accession of strength in a few days. 

The Corps of the Ilnd Aniiy which were to be brought from the 
most distant parts of the co\mtry by rail, could not, however, be 
disembarked in the face of an enemy, who, although not mobilised, 
was still strong in point of numbera. 

For this reason the concentration of the Ilnd Army, as provided 
for in the project of the General Staff, was ordered by His Majesty 
the King to take place nearer to the Rhine. It would thence 
advance by road marches without loss of time in compact order, 
and so dispose<l as to be ready at any moment for iighting. The 
olBensive invasion of France was thereby postponed for a few 
days, but not given up. 

The necessary orders were issued from the Royal head-quarters 
on the 23rd July, therefore before the great transport of troops 23rd July, 
commenced. Directions were given that the Illrd and Xth Corps, 
which used the line Cologne-Coblenz-Bingen, were to bo disem- 
barked ^at the last place, and to be cantoned at first in the 
direction of Kreuznach and Mainz. The Guard and the IVth 
Corps were ordered to alight at Mannheim and to canton in that 

Advanced guai'ds were to be pushed forward by the Illrd and 
IVth Aimy Corps beyond Kreuznach and Diirkheim respcctivery, 
and the 5th Dragoons, which commenced its march from Frank- 
furt-a-Main to Kaiserslauteni on the 22nd July, was to keep up 
the communications between tliem. 

As by these arrangements detachments of the Ilnd Army 
would trench upon the rayon intended for the I Xth and Xllth 
Corps, both corps were placed under the orders of the 
Commander-in-Chief of this army as regards their quarters 
in the neighbourhood of Mainz, and for all services in con- 
nection with the Etappcn. 

Besides these, the 2i)th Hessian Division was orderetl to canton 
at Gemshein on the 25th July, and at Worms on the 26th. 

As the Ilnd Army might 1)0 expected to advance at once, the 
Vlllth Corps of the 1st Army received instructions, in the event 
of the line of posts on the frontier being driven back, only 
to destroy the railways in so far that they could be speedily 

Of the troops temporarily left at home, the 1st Corps received 
orders to collect by rail at Berlin, and the Vlth at Gorlitz and 


In ordei* to give the different Corps commanders a primary 
idea of how the forces were to be assembled in accordance with 
the new ordera, the following summary of the first movements 
was communicated to them. 

I. Arait. 

Vllth Corps— 13th Division ; 24th— 27th July, to Call by 
raol ; 31st July — 1st August, to Trier by road 14th 
Division ; 24th — 26th July, to Aachen and Stolberg 
by rail ; 1st — 2nd August, to Trier by road. 

Vlllth Corps — To inarch generally on the right bank of the 
Moselle (the troops coming from the north crossing at 
Bernca&tel), and to be cScheloned between Saai'louis 
and Hermeskeil on the 2Dd August, or to be assem- 
bled in the neighbourhood of Kirchberg between the 
28th and 31st July. 

II. Army. 

Ilird Corps ; 25th— 28th July, to Bingen by rail. 
Xth Coi'ps ; 29th July — 5th August, to Bineen. 
IVth Corps ; 26th to 29th July, to Mannheim. 

Guard Corps ; 30th Julj'^ — 5th August, to Darmstadt 
or Mannheim. 

III. AmiY. 

Xlth Corps ; 25th — 27th July, to Qermersheim and Landau. 
Vth Corps ; 27th July — 3rd August, to Landau. 
Bavarians ; 

1st CorjDS, at Speyer. 

Ilnd Corps, at Qermersheim ; both to be completely 

mobilised by the 3rd August, and by the 9th ready to 


Wurtembergei-s ; 27th— 28th July, concentrated at Carlsrahe ; 

10 squadrons moved there yesterday (22nd July). 
Badenei*s; the Baden Division is now to the northward of 



IXth Corps ; of this coi^ps, the 25th Division moves to Worms 
on the 26th July. 18th Division ; 28th July— 2nd 
August, to Mainz. 

Xllth Corps ; 27th July — 2nd August, to Mainz. 

Corps ik the Eastern Districts of the MoNARCHy*. 

Ist Corps ; 27th July — 6th August, to move westward as fer 

as Berlin. 
Ilnd Corps ; 26th— 31st July, to Berlin. 

1st Landwehr Division 


Vlth Corps ; to move chiefly by road (on the 25th and 26th 
July.) The 11th Division at Giirlitz ; 12th Division at 

17th Infantry Division and Landweiiu Divisions. 

17th Division ; 26th — 28th July, near to Hamburg. 
Guard Landwehr Division : 28th July — 3rd Auc^ust, near 

2nd Landwehr Division ; 29th July — 1st August, near Bremen. 

''To be Echeloned along the railways 

until the 5th August, viz., at 

2nd Landwehr Division*^ Sehneidcmuhl, Magdeburg, Stettin, 

(^ Glogau, Posen, and Tilsit. 

The garrisons of the fortresses will be complete by tlic fol- 
lowing dates : 

Saarlouis (is now fully garrisoned 

on the war establishment). 
Mainz - - - - on 28th July. 

Cologne - - - - „ 1st August. 

Coblentz - - - - „ 30th July, 

and the menaced coast-fortresses on the 29th and 30th July.* 

The weak detachments whidi were already at hand in the 
western garrisons of the Rhine provinces were quite suflicient to 
watch the movements of the enemy on the other side of the 
frontier, and to secure their own railwaj'S within his reach 
against raids. 

There still remained in Trier, after sending a battalion apiece 
to Saarlouis and Saarbriicken, the Ist and 3rd battalions of the 
40th Fusiliers, as well as the 9th Hussars. Saarlouis, now com- 
pletely armed, was garrisoned by the 6 battalions of the 69th 
and 70th Kegiments and a squadron of the 7th Lancers, and was 
amply provided with artillery and pioneers. The remainder of 
the Lancers was at Saarbriicken, besides the 2nd battalion of the 
40th Regiment, which had arrived there on the 17th. 

On the 25th July the 5th Dragoons closoxl up further to 
the south near Bliescastel. Their duty was to hold the railway 
between Ludwigshafen and Homburg against weak detach- 
ments of the enemy, and at the same time to keep up 
communication with the Bavarian detachments in the 

The garrisons of Germersheim and Landau were formed of the 
4th and 8th Regiments, with artillery and engineers. Besides 
these, there were the 5th Rifle battalion, the 1st battalion 
of the 7th Regiment, and the 5 th Chevaux Legers available 
for being * employed in the first dispositions for securing the 
frontier, to which point the commander of the 8 th Infantry 

♦On all the linei of. transport tlie times Imitc been calculated to include the first 
lines of amjnnnition, columiis and trains. 


Bngade, Major General Maillinger, ordered part of his brigade to 
move on the IGih. 

In consequence of the insufficiency of his force, only aome of the 
important points on the main roads could be occupied, and fi'om 
these constant patrols were sent out. The 5th Rifle Battalion, 
with two squadrons, watched the hills in the Western Palatinate, 
and occupied Homburg, Zweibrlicken, Firmasens, and Vorder- 
Weidenthal. The infantry battalion and the other two squadrons 
remained in Bergzabem, Winden, and Langenkandel. 

The garrison in Winden was augmented by a Baden squadron 
on the 19th. 

In order, however, not to endanger the frontier by holding it 
for too long a period with weak detachments, the 5th and 9th 
Bavarian regiments, the 6th and 10th Ritle Battalions, two 
regiments of Chevaux Lagers and two batteries were moved 
before their mobilisation was completed into the Palatinate by 
rail on the 22nd July and Echeloned on the Landau- Weisscnburg 
chaxi8s&e. All these troops except the 5th Chevaux Ldgers 
belonged to the 4th Division. On the 23rd Lieutenant-General 
v. Bothmer assumed the command. The cavalry was alone up 
to its proper sti'ength ; the infantry was deficient of one-third of 
its complement of men, and each battciy was about 30 horses 
24 July. By the evening of the 24th there were consequently 10 batta- 

lionsy 8 squadrons, and 2 batteries of Bavarians concentrated in 
the Palatinate ; the head-quarters were established at Billigheim, 
2 battalions 2 squadrons were pushed forward towards Weissen- 
burg, 1 battalion and 2 squadrons patrolled from Langenkandel 
through the Bien-wald towards Lauterburg. 

On the Baden side, Uagenbach on the left bank of the Rhine, 
had been occupied since the 1 8th by a battalion and a squadron, 
which served to watch Lauterburg and to keep up communications 
with Winden. 

On the right bank of the Rhine, the Baden cavalry brigade had 
been near Carlsruho since the I7th, reconnoitring as far as the 
Lauter. On the arrival of the reserves, the 3rd and 5th Baden 
regiments were withdrawn from Rastatt and formed into a brigade, 
which took up a position on the 20th between Morsch and Dax- 
landen. This brigade (3rd) reinforced by a squadron of the 3rd 
Dragoons and 2 battevics watched the country between the Lauter 
and the Murg. 

South of this river the Rhine from Rastatt to the Hugelsheim 
lulls was also under observation. 

On the 23rd the Baden Division was concentrated between 
Carlsruhe and Moi-sch until the trains were ready to march. It 
had pushed forward an advanced guard, consisting of the 2nd 
Grenadier and 2nd Dragoon regiments and 2 batteries, under 
Geneitil v. La Roche to the Murg. The main body of this 
detachment was echeloned between Kuppenheini and Oos ; two 
squadrons stationed beyond the line of outposts in Blihl and Lich- 
tenau observed the Rhine as far as Kehl. The cavalry was in 


this position by the 18th, the infantry occupied it on the 22nd 

On the same day, 10 Wiirtemberg squadrons joined the Divi* 
sion by order from Berlin. They were despatched by rail from 
Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg to Durlaeh, and were cantoned 
between Ettlingen and Grotzingen. 

Barricades were prepared in the Bien-wald and on the railway 
all along the frontier of the Bavarian Palatinate, as further 
measures of precaution. 

Communication with Baden by the Kebl bridge was cut off 
on the 16tb, the pontoons of the ship bridge taken away, and 
telegitiphic communication established along the entire frontier. 

In the next few days the remainder of the ferries and flying 
bridges between Hliningen and Lauterburg were removed, and 
at the same time guards for watching the frontier were formed 
of volunteers from the parishes. 

On the 22nd the pier on which the Kelil bridge revolved on 
the right side was blown up. As it was important, on the other 
hand, to presei-ve the Maxau bridge as long as possible, the Bava- 
rian and Baden engineers had thrown up a VHc-ih-iiont for its 
protection, which was finished on the 24th. With the aid of 
two tugs which were lying in the harbour of Mnxau, the bridge 
could be rapidly removed to Qcnnersheim, to which place a 
tramway had also been laid along the Brachsal road by the 80th. 

As intelligence had been received that some French flat- 
bottomed gunboats were off Strassburg, an obstniction in the 
river was completed on the 22nd above the llaxau bridge, 
and a battery of eight 12-pounders (from the demolition works 
at Kehl) was erected at that point. Another obstruction was 
prepared near Germersheim. Some ships filled with stones were 
also sunk at the mouth of tlie !Murg near Rastatt. 

It was further proposed, in the event of the enemy crossing 
the Rhine, to break up the railways in tlie vallies of the Rhine and 
Kinzig, as well as the roads leading from the Kniebis to Stuttgart, 
and for this purpose a flying detachment was stationed at Ober- 

The western frontier of the Rhine provinces and Palatinate 
was only watched by a weak line of outposts facing the large 
bodies of the enemy, .ind they miglit at any time expect to bo 

Saarbriickcn having been threatened on 19th July by French 
douaniers, three squadrons of the 7th Lancers moved forward 
to reconnoitre in the direction of Forbach. They fell in with the 
flankers of several squadrons of Cliasseurs & Cheval at the Prussian 
custom house on the frontier and formed up to attack them. The 
enemy, however, fell back on Stiring, and on tlie next day the 
fact of Bataille's Division l>eing on the other side of the frontier 
was confirmed. 

In consequence of the Saarlouis patrols having been fired at 
by the French douaniers, and two of their horses killed, the 8th 

29983. B 


I company of the 70th Regiment occupied the toll-bouse at Shi*eck- 

ling and carried off the money chest ; 2 dooaniers were killed 
and 4 taken prisonera. Lieutenant yon Alten of our army was 

As numerous hostile detachments had been seen in front of 
Yolklingen, above Saarlouis, the commandant of the fortress 
despatched to that place 3 companies of the 2nd and 1 company 
of the fusilier battalion of the 69th Regiment ; the former were 
relieved on the 28th by the remainder of the fuisilier battalion. 

On the extreme right flank a hussar advanced picquet had 
been driven in from Perl on Saarburg ; and as a few days later 
the enemy made a raid on the Metz road in the direction of 
Saarlouis as far as Nieder-Villiug, the garrison advanced from 
Trier to Conz, and occupied the country as far as the Belgian 
frontier and also the towns of Saarburg and Merzig for the pro- 
tection of the railway. 

On the 24th Lieutenant von Voigt with a party of the 7th 
Lancei*8 attempted to destroy the SaargemUnd-Bitsch French 
railway near Bliesbrucken, but they only succeeded in removing 
some of the rails. Further attempts on the 26th led to a skirmish 
near Rheinheim, in which the lancers were supported by some 
Bavarian riflemen (5th Rifle Battalion) from Zweibinicken. 

At length on the 27th large bodies of French troops of all anns 
advanced from Forbach and Saargemiind upon SaarbrUckeUi 
and it seemed as if we should soon have some real work to do. 
The French occupied the Stiftswald, exchanged shots with de- 
tachments of the 40th Regiment, destroyed uie rail to Saarge- 
miind on Pmssiau tenitory, and bivouacked near St. Arnual and 
Gr. Blittersdorf. A Prussian infeintry detachment, advancing 
from Yolklingen to Ludweilcr, was driven back by superior forcea 

On the 28th July the French reconnoitred in the direction of 
the elevated drill ground at^ Saarbriicken. Two guns on the 
Spicheren heights supported their advance, firing about 20 
rounds of sheUs ; but the infantry did not approach nearer than 
800 yards. 

Constant bi*ushes had taken place with the enemy near Merzig, 
but as he did not seem to aim at any real enterprise on the 
Lower Saar, it was only necessary to occupy Rehlingen and 
Dillengon with detachments of the 70th Regiment from Saar- 

On the 29th the adversaiy withdrew his advanced posts more 
to the rear. This and the keen way in which he threw up 
entrenchments at various points, more particularly on the 
Spicheren heights, pointed to a defensive course of action. 
Deserters and spies stated that there was already a deficiency of 
food among the lai*ge body of troops collected on the other side 
of the frontier. All the French, villages between Forbach and 
Saargemiind were densely occupied, but at the same time it 
became still more evident that the enemy was making a general 
movement towards the right. Movements from St. Avola in an 
eaaterly direction were reported, and Colonel Wright with the 


5th Dragoons oame into collision with the outposts of a strong 
French force of all arms near Breidenbach^ half-way between 
Zweibriicken and Bitsch. The 4th French Corps also appeared to 
be moving from Diedenhofen in a south-easterly direction ; regi- 
ments^ which belonged to it had been seen by the outposts to the 
noiirh of Bouzonville near Colmen. The French not only restored 
the blown-up bridge at Saargemund, but threw first one bridge 
of boats and then two more across the Saar in that neighbour- 

A concentration of the enemy's forces on the line Forbach- 
Biisch appeared probable. 

Lieutenant-Colonel von Pestel had up to this time not only held 
Saarbrlicken with a battalion of the 40th Regiment and three 
squadrons of the 7th Lancers, but had covei^ed a respectable strip 
of the frontier. On the 30th he drove the enemy out of the 
St. Amual forest with the 8th company ; a strong patrol also 
threatened the enemy's position at Spicheren and Alsting. 

It was not, however, the intention at Head-quarters to 
allow the weak detachment at Saarbrlicken to be cinished by 
an overwhelming force. It was not practicable to support it 
by the Ilnd army at present, and Lieutenant-Colonel von Pestel 
received orders (firect from Berlin to keep on watching the enemy 
with his cavalry, but to withdraw his infantry to Salzbach or 

But General von Qoeben had, on the 31st July, ordered the 
other two battalions of the 40th Regiment to Saarbrlicken, 
and in view of a retreat bad posted a supporting detachment at 
Lebach. Lieutenant*Colonel von Pestel considered that under 
those circumstances he could still hold his ground at the exposed 
poets. His propositions to this effect, submitted with the con- 
currence of the general commanding, were confirmed. 

On the Slst a great deal of movement was again remarked in 
front of the Saarbriicken position. Fresh reinforcements were 
disembarking near Stiring ; strong columns with artillery were 
moving from Si Avoid to Forbach. Tlie French forces decreased 
in front of Sierck, and at the same time an advanced guard was 
pushed forward from Bitsch on Hanviller and entrenched itself 
on the heights. 

On the south front in advance of the Lauter only douaniers 
had been seen up to this time, and in order to gain some intelli- 
gence about the enemy Captain Count Zeppelin of the Wiir- 
temberg Staff, accompanied by three Baden oflicers and three 
dragoons, made a reconnaissance from Lauterburg at the instance 
of the commander of the Baden Division. He found the Selz- 
bach weakly occupied by cavalry, and eventually reached Nieder- 
bronn, where the French General Bemis was stationed with the 
12 th Chasseurs. When resting the following day at Scliirlenhof 
the little band was surprised. Count Zeppelin alone succeeded in 
getting away. Lieutenant Winsloe was killed and the rest taken 
prisoners. The expedition, however, procured the information that 
at present there were no masses concentrated on this side of Worth. 

£ 2 


This confirmed a reconnaissance made to the other side of the 
Lanter on the 26th by the outposts with a company from each 
of the 4th Bavarian and 4th Baden regiments and a squadron of 
the Baden Body*guard Diugoons, -which force levied requisitions 
in LauterbuTg and cut the telegraphic communication. On the 
other hand^ the outposts of the Bavarian brigade came across the 
enemy at Dambach and Sturzelbronn to the eastward of Bitsch. 

In order to secure the disembarkation of detachments close to 
the frontier against surprise, H.R.H. the Crown Prince had by 
an order of the 25th from Berlin commanded the Vth and Xlth 
Prussian Corps to go into close cantonments near Landau and 
Oermei-sheim, and, being temporarily placed under the orders of 
Lieutenant-General von Kirclibach, to defend the line of the 
Klingbach to the last against the enemy's advance. If the French 
crossed the Rhine near Strassburg the Xlth Corps was to pass to 
the right bank near Germershcim and reinforce the Baden troops 
near Oos. General von Werder, who had been sent to Carlsinihe, 
was then to assume the command on that side of the Rhine. If, 
however, the enemy pushed forward on the left bank the Baden 
and WUrtcmburg Division was to be called up to the Klingbach 
by way of Maxau and Gennersheini. If the Bavarian Corps 
was not yet available, support would be afforded by the IVth 
Army Corps which was now disembarking near Mannheim. 

We had found out that the formation of Douay's Corps (7th), 
collecting at Belfort, was far from complete. On the other hand 
two Divisions of McMahon's Corps (Ist) yfere near Strassburg, 
the other two being Echeloned along the railway beyond Bru- 
math, apparently in bivouac. Reports from the outposts in 
the south of the Palatinate confirmed the movements of hostile 
troops in the direction of Bitsch to Weissenburg and the Bien* 
wald as well as the occupation of Hornbach, Stlirzelbronn, and 
Schonau. One infantry regiment, two regiments of cavalry, and 
a battery were said to be in Altenstadt. The Baden outposts 
fiirther i*eported that they had remarked an advance from Stross* 
burg towards the line of the Lauter, and that Mai-shal AEacMahon 
himself had taken this direction. Finally rei)orts were brought 
in that a considerable amount of bridi'innr mattSviel was collected 
to the .south of Lauterburg. 

We might therefore expect at once, or in the course of a few 
days, either that the Ilird Army would be attacked on the left of 
the Rhine, or that the enemy would cross to the right bank and 
invade South Gennany. If the 1st and 5th French Corps united 
respectively from Strassburg and Bitsch on the lower Lauter, 
there would be 80,000 men available for such an eutei-prise. 

In point of lact, the reports received by General Count Both- 
mer led us to expect this offensive movement on the 2Gth, 
and consequently on that morning all the troops of the Xlth 
Corps who arrived by rail were at once concentrated at Landau 
by the commander of the 22nd Division, Lieutenant-General v. 
Gersdorffy and the two genei*als concerted fresh measures.- 


Towards nooHy however, the threatening reports turned out to be 
groundless, and the troops were able to occupy their cantonments. 

His Royal Highness the Crown Prince quitted Berlin on the 
26th July. He firat visited the allied princes, whose contingents 
bad been placed under liis orders, at Munich, Stuttgart, and 
Carlsruhe, and reached Speyer on the 80 th. He at once ordered 
the Baden Division to be concentrated near Carlsruhe and the 
Wurtemberg near Graben. 

In order to pacify the feai-s of the people the Wurtemberg War 
Minister, Lieutenant-General v. Suckow had, in addition, pushed 
forward a flying column consisting of the 6th Regiment, 1 depot 
squadron, and a depot battery, under the command of ^Colonel 
Seubert, by rail to Donaueschingen vid Flochingen, and from 
that place by march route or country waggons through the Black 
Forest to the valley of the Rhine. 

The Royal German head-quarters were compelled to consider 
what course should l^e adopted if the French forces, now collected 
close to the frontier, should assume the offensive in large bodies 
towards the end of the month, however unprepared they might 
be for the enterprise. 

The 1st Army which numbered about 50,000 infantiy could, 
as already mentioned, avoid an attack from superior forces in the 
mountainous ground, which was extremely favourable for the 

The Ilird Army was, it is true, not yet up to its full strength, 
and was separate<l by the Rhine. It was, however, in con- 
siderable stiength behind the line Landau-Carlsruhe, which was 
oidy 19 miles long. The Xlth and half of the Vth Army Corps, a 
Bavarian, the Wurtemberg, and the Baden Division were collected 
there — a force of about 77,000 infantry. In a few days the arrival 
of the other half of the Vth Army Corps and three Bavarian 
Divisions would luise this number to 125,000 men. 

In accordance with the orders already mentioned thelind Army 
concentrated in front of Mainz, its assembly at that point being 
rendered secure by the two flank armies and by its distance from 
the frontier. It was necessary, however, to move off the Ilnd 
Army promptly so as to make room for the troops which were 
coming up, as the transport of the Ist and YIth Array Corps 
was ordered to commence directly the railways were free. 

In this advance through the Palatinate the army had always 
to be prepared for a collision with the main body of the Fi^ench. 
It nevertheless did not appear hazardous to carry out the first 
marches as far as the line Alsenz-Griinstadt on a broad front for 
the convenience of the troops, as the enemy himself could not, 
even with extraordinary marches, arrive before this front until 
the 5th August, and the army- could be concentrated in one day, 
even on the wings. 

By that date the Ilnd Army, to which the IXth and Xllth 
Corps had been definitively assigned on the 30th July, would 
be reinforced by the 1st and by half of the Vlth Army Corps, 
by which the force at Prince Frederick Charles* disposal would 
consist of 194,000 infantry. 


The position of the Ist Army was such that the French could 
not advance into the Palatinate past it without leaying a strong 
detachment, say their 4th Corps, to oppose it Even if thev suc- 
ceeded in bringing up the 6th Corps from ChAlons they could then 
only attack the Ilnd Army with 183,000 in&ntry. Prince 
Frederick Charles could consequently meet the enemy with 
superior forces as he debouched from the mountain& 

Should the enemy continue still longer in his present state of 
inactivity the advance of the Ilnd Army towards the Saar would 
be continued, the reinforcements overtaking it by rail according 
to the progress it made. The only precaution to be taken was 
that the Ist Army Hhould not by too rtapid a rate of march come 
singly into collision with the enemy before the Ilnd Army 
reached the Saar. Its further movement must be arrested and 
meastu^d by the advance of the Ilnd Army. 

A telegram was accordingly sent to the Ist Army on* the 29th 
July to collect on the line Wadem-Losheim, and the Commander 
of the Ilnd Army was ordered to shift the cantonments of the 
Ilird and lYth Army Corps as far as the line Alsenz-Gollheim- 
Qrlinstadt, a district which, when reconnoitred on a former occasion 
by the general staffs had been found to be particularly favourable 
for defence. Advanced guards were to be pushed forward beyond 
this line, and the rayons temporarily assigned to the IXth and 
Xllth Army Corps were to be evacuated as soon as possible so na 
to make room for the Ist and Vlth Army Coi-ps. 

On the 30th the Commander of the Army was ordered to send 
forward without delav the 6th and 6th Cavalry Divisions towards 
the frontier Saarbriicken-Bitscb. 

Further, the IXth Corps was to be brought up in line with the 
IIIixl and IVth ; the remainder to close up shortly. 

As regaitls the IIIi^ Army, the opinion was held at the Royal 
Head-quarters, that it would now be well, while the Maxau bridge 
was still standing, to call up the Baden and Wttrtemberg Division 
to the left bank, and then to assume the oft'ensive in a southerly 
direction. Lieutenant-Qeneral von Blumenthal, Chief of the 
Qeneral Staff, had been already communicated with, and at 9 
on the 30th the following telegram was despatched to that effect. 
" His Majesty deems it expedient for the Ilird Army, when 

joined by the Baden and Wiirtemberg Division, to advance 

forthwith by the left bank of the Rhine in a southerly direction, 

seek out the enemy and attack him. The construction of 

bridges above Lauterburg will be thereby prevented, and South 

Germany most effectively protected. 

" (Signed) VoN Moltke." 

The Commander-in-Chief of the Ilird Army, however, con- 
sidered that he must refrain from caiiying out this operation 
forthwith, as the army wns not yet collected in its entirety, a 
considerable part of the train being still in rear, and the com- 
mencement of operations before everything was in readiness 
might entail complications which would be difficult to remedy 


The Ciown Prince reported on the Slat July that he could not 
assume the offensive at present for these reasons, and that he 
would leave the Baden and Wurtemberg Division on the right 
bank for the present. 

In any case, the Ilird Army was in sufficient force on the left 
bank of the Rhine for the defensive, and for securing the left 
flnnk of the Ilnd Army, should the latter continue its advance. 

The march of the Ilnd Ai*my was therefore not interrupted, and 
orders were issued on the 31st July that from the 2nd August 
the detachments of this army which had still to be forwarded, 
and the Corps still in rear were to follow by rail, and that their 
points of disembarkation should be advanced to Birkenfeld and 
Kaiserslautem, where they would be covered by the forward 
position which had meanwhile been gained. 

Whilst the preliminary movements of the German armies 
approached completion July slipped by without the French uti- 
lising the superiority which their taking the field in an unprepared 
state had transiently conferred upon them. 

The condition of affairs was now reversed, and it only remains 
to show what aspect the situation had assumed on the evening of 
the 31st July, 14 days after the French declaration of war, for 
which we must refer our readera to Sketch No. 1. Sketch No. i. 

In the 1st Army the Vllth Army Corps had reached the 
line F between the 24th and 2Cth July, the 1 3th Infantry Divi- 
sion and the 14th Lancers at Call, the 14th Infantiy Division 
and the 5th Lancers at Aachen and Stolberg. The Corps was 
marched from those points of disembarkation in two columns by 
Daun and Priim through the Eifel to Trier. The corps artillery, 
disembarking at Aachen and Call, as well as the first line of 
columns and trains, had joined the left wing column, and the 
principal part of the second line was in a position to follow at a 
day's march in rear. 

On the 30th July the advanced guard reached Trier through 
the Eifel by forced marches, and the Corps itself was assembled 
ready to move on the 31st July ; the van pushed forward beyond 
Saarburg and Conz. 

A day's rest had been granted the Corps on the 30th July, but 
it did not avail itself of the permission until it rcjvched Trier on 
the 1st August. 

Of the Vlllth Army Corps, the battalions of the IGth Infantry 
Division, which were at Coblenz and Simmern moved by route 
inarch vid Morbach, and reached the neighbour! lood of Wadem 
and Hermeskeil on the 31st July ; those quartered in Trier, 
Saarlouis, and Saarbriicken were left there, pending their relief 
by other troops. 

Two battalions of the 40th Regiment were pushed forward 
towards Hilschbach (one mile from Saarbriick), and the 2ud 
battalion of the 29th, 2 squadrons of the 9th Hussars, and 2 
batteries towards Lebach, on the roads leading to Saarbriick ; the 
whole under the command of Major-Qenerid Count Qneisenau. 
The other two squadrons of Hussars of the same Division 


were on the Saar in Rehlingen and Dillingen ; in Saarlouis 
meanwhile there were still 2 battalions of the 69th, and 50 of the 
7th Lancers ; the remainder of this squadron was with the fusilier 
battalion of the 69th in Yolklingen ; whilst Saarbrucken was occu- 
pied by Lieutenant-Colonel v. restel, with the 2nd battalion of 
the 40th and 3 squadrons of the Lancers. 

The 15th Infantry Division was moved from Coblenz beyond 
Morbach ; the troops in garrison on the Lower Rhine had to cross 
the Moselle by a bridge thrown near Bemcastel. The infantry 
of the Division was on the 31st July near Thalfang and Birken- 
feld, a day's march behind the 16th Division. 

The 8th Rifle Battalion had already reached Wadem, the 7th 
(King^s) Hussars, Nonnweiler. The 33rd East Prussian Fusilier 
Regiment, which hud only just completed its mobilisation, em- 
barked likewise on the 31st from Cologne for Boppard and St. 
Gear, with a view to jouiing its Division from those points. The 
batteries of the Division had only reached Bemcastel. 

Of the corps artillery, the horse artillery division had already 
reached Mettnich and the neighbourhood (cast of Wadem), the 
field division Wittlich on the left bank of the Moselle. Trains 
and columns were still one or two days' march in rear of the tail 
of the Army Corps. 

The Corps therefore required some days more before it could 
close up. In consequence of a telegram of the 3l8t July, which 
ordei^ed the advance of the army on the line Wadern-Losheim, 
General v. Steimnctz issued the necessary orders, so that both 
Corps could be concentrated there on the 3rd August, the Vllth 
Corps at the same time watching the Perl-Trier road, the Vlllth 
maintaining communications with Saarlouis. 

The 3rd Cavalry Division was not yet formed ; the regiments 
were still with their respective Corj^. 

Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia, Commander-in-Chief of 
the Ilnd Army, joined it on the 30th at Alzey, the point of dis* 
embarkation of the army having been, as already mentioned, 
transfeiTcd from the Saar and Blies. On the 31 st the Ilird Army 
Corps reached Worrstadt by way of Bingen ; its advanced guard, 
FUrfeld. The Corps was still deficient of 7 batteries, 3 pioneer 
companies, ns well as a part of the firet line of trains, which were 
not despatched till after the Xth Army Corps. 

As these detachments could be disembarked in Birkenfeld, 
there was a prospect of the coi^^s being completely collected by 
the 3rd August. The IVth Ai-my Corps was completely united, 
even to the second line of waggons and the trains. Its main 
body had arrived at DUrkheim and Hochspeyer from Mannheim 
and the advance, Kaisei'slautern. 

In rear of these two corps came the Xth Corps at Bingen, the 
Guard Corps in process of concentration between Woiins and 
Mannheim, round Frankenthal. Tiie former was still deficient 
of 6 battalions and 7 batteries, as well as a part of the first line 
of waggons, which detachments might, however, arrive by the 
2nd August. Of the Guard Corps there were still 4 battalions, 


4 squadrons, and 4 batteries in rear belonging to the Infantry 
Divisions, but these reached Mannheim on the Ist August. 

The 3rd Guard Regiment from Hanover alighted on the 31st at 
Bingerbriick and joined its corps by march route. On the other 
hand, the Cavalry Division of the Guard and the Corps Artillery 
(24 squadrons, 7 batteries), with the principal part of the^7'5^ line 
of trains, were not yet in position. They might be disembarked 
in Kaiserslautem by the 3rd August, which place the heads of 
the Guard Infantry Divisions reached on the 4th. 

Of the IX th Corps, the 18th Infantry Division was disembarked 
in Mosbach from the line B by the 29th July, whilst the 25th 
Division remained at Worms. Up to the 31st the IXth Corps 
was concentrated round Oppenheini. The greatei* part of the 
Xllth Corps, which had been collected round Mosbach and Castel 
up to the 31st, crossed the Rhine on that da}'. The advanced 
troops cantoned round Nieder 01m, in front of Mainz. 

On the 29th the Commander-in-Chief, in accordance with the 
directions given from the Royal head-quartera of the same date, 
ordered the advance of the Cavalry Divisions under the command 
of General v. Rheinbaben. The Gth Division was to take the road 
from FUrfeld by Meisscnheim to Nounkirchen. On its right and 
left in two columns by brigades came the 5 th Cavalry Division ; 
Redem's brigade moving by Sobemheim, Baumholder, on 
Vblklingen ; Bredow's Brigade by Dlirklieim and Kaiserslautern 
on Homburg. A flank detachment was to keep up communica- 
tions with the Ilird Army. 

This body of cavahy was to establish itself at a short day's 
march on this side of the frontier, and from thence carry out 
constant enterprises against the enemy with squadrons and regi- 
ments, to keep an unflagging watch on the frontier, and to 
find and keep the touch of the enemy. 

On the 31st July the right wing column was near Sobernheim, 
the centre near Meissenheim. The leading regiments had reached 
the line Martinstein (in the Nahe valley) and Lauterecken. The 
left wing, with Lieutenant-General v. Rheinbaben, was in Diirk- 
heim. The 13th Dragoons, moving on Pirmascns, reached 
Winzingcn to the east of Neustadt. Tlie frontier would probably 
be reached on the 3rd August. A Division of infantry from each 
of the Ilird and I Vth Corps was to follow as support. 

On receipt of the order from Berlin removing the point of dis- 
embarkation to Birkenfeld and Kaiserslautern, the Commander- 
in-Chief determined to order a further advance of the IlIrd 
and IVth Corps on the next day. The Ilird Corps was to reach 
the lino Birkenfeld-Cusel, with the head-quarters in Baumholder, 
on the 3rd August ; the IVth Corps as far as Eaisei-slautem and 
to the westward ; the 5th and 8th Infantiy Division on the same 
day to make an additional march forwards, covered by the 
Cavalry Divisions 

Besides the Ilird Army Corps the Xth had to follow it on tho 
bad northern road by Chisel ; the remainder by the southern line. 


The transport by rail of the Ilird Army was alao being carried 
out according to plan, but it was not yet completed. 

Between the Elingbach and Speyerbach were cantoned — the 
Xlth Corps round Germersheim, the Vth round Landau, and the 
4th Bavarian Division near Billigheim and Bergzabem. 

To the northward of these the Ist and 2nd Bavarian Divisions 
were concentrated round Speyer, the Srd at Neustadt. 

The advanced guard of the Xlth Corps — ^the 42nd infSuitry 
brigade, 3 squadrons of the 14th Hussars, and the 2nd light field 
battery — were near Bheinzabem with outposts at Langenkan- 
del, which latter maintained communication towards the left with 
the Baden outposts neai* Hagenbach. Their right touched Both- 
mei/s Bavarian division, the outposts of which covered the Lan- 
dau-Weissenburg road and were m contact with the detachments 
posted in the mountains to the westward. 

The widely-extending Bien-wald was carefully patrolled in 
front of the outposts. In oixler to secure the right flank the 
Annweiler pass was occupied by the 58th Regiment, a squadron 
of the 4th Dragoons, and 2 guns ; the whole imder the command 
of Colonel v. Rex. 

The Xlth Corps had united all its combatant troops ; head- 
quarters in Landau, staff of 22nd Division in Bellheim, that of 
21st in Enittelsheim. 

The Vth Corps was still deficient of 4 squadrons and 6 batteries, 
and the greater part of its columns and trains was not yet in 

In case of an alarm there were to be assembled on the north 
bank of the Elingbach — the Xlth Corps at Herxheimweiher 
(corps-artillery at BeUheim), the Yth Corps to the west of 
Jnsheim (19th infantry brimde as advanced guard between 
Rohrbach and Billigheim), l£e Bavarian Division on the ridge 
between Heuchelheim and KlingenmUnster. 

The 4th Cavalry Division was not yet formed, although all the 
regiments intended for it had arrived ; the Divisional staff was 
still on the way. 

The Ist Bavarian Corps round Speyer was still short of 
11 battalions, 8 squadrons and 13 batteries, as well as almost $31 
its columns and trains. 

The Ilnd Bavarian Corps round Neustadt was also deficient of 
its columns and trains, and of the following troops — 1 battalion, 
4 squadrons, 11 batteries. 

The Baden and Wurtemberg Field Divisions were concentrated 
round Carlsruhe and Qraben, with their establishments complete 
and ready to move. 

Altogether the Ilird Army, exclusive of the trains and 
columns, was still deficient of 12 battalions, 16 squadrons, and 
30 batteries. There were now 116 battalions, 86 squadronS| and 
300 guns in position, ready to oppose a hostile attack. 

After inquiries had been addressed by the Royal Head-quarters 
on the 31st to the different Commanders-in-chief as to the day 
their armies would be ready to operate, the Srd August was 


appointed the day for all the troops to be ready and formed, 
with the necessary trains and columns, and for the armies to be 
considered in a perfect condition for opeiations. 

The troops were abundantly furnished with maps of those 
districts which would probably be first affected by the war 
through the agency of the geographical-statistical division of 
the Pinissian Head-quarter Staff (Colonel v. Sydow), considerable 
assistance having been rendered by tlie topographical ofiice at 
Munich (Major Orff). About 170,000 sections of France, in- 
cluding more than 132,000 on a scale of 1 : 80,000, and about 
62,000 sections of western Germany, had been distributed up to 
the 31st July. 

The successful feeding of such considerable bodies of troops 
as were collected on the French frontier at the end of July was 
beset with great difficulties owing to the sliort time permitted 
for preparation, yet the German War Minister and the Intendant- 
General of the army, Lieutenant-General v. Stosch, overcame 
them successfully. 

Twenty field-ovens were at once constructed at each of the fol- 
lowing places : Cologne, Coblenz, Bingen, Mainz, and Saarlouis, and 
the flour stores of the nearest peace-magazines were placed .at their 
disposal. Large bakeries for the army wore set up in hoases near 
Frankfurt-a-M., and in Mannheim ; and the bakeries established 
in the larger garrisons situated on railways were enlarged and 
rendered capable not only of suppl3^ing the current wants of 
the field troops, but also of forming considerable stores of bread 
and reserve supplies of biscuit. 

In the Corps districts the Intendantur secured a six-weeks' 
supply of food, oats, and hay, which was forwarded to a point 
within the rayon of concentration of each Corps ; and a con- 
siderable part of the '' fortress supplies " from Cologne and Wesel 
was forwarded by steamer to Bingen and applied to the use of 
the field army. 

As in the first days of the transport the Army Corps could only 
forward their supply of food and forage by taking it with them 
in the railway waggons, or by attacliing separate waggons for 
the purpose, the troops were ordered to relieve the commissariat 
by supplying themselves within the rayon of their position ; 
a special 14 days' reserve of flour and oats Wtis collected 
in the large magazines on the railways, which was kept com- 
plete by filling it np after each issue. A six-weeks' supply, 
forming a reserve, of food, oats, and hay, for seven army corps, 
was accumulated in Cologne, Coblenz, Bingen, and Frankfrirt- 
a-M., whilst Baden formed magazines for the army in Heidelberg 
and Meckesheim, Bavaria in Germersheim, Ludwigshafen and 
Neustadt, and Wtirtemberg in BruchsaL 

At the end of July, when th^ greatest part of the troops had 
been moved to the front (receiving the regular ration at different 
feeding stations on the road), the Army Corps were able to beffin 
to move forward their supplies of food, so that at the end of ^s 


month and the commencement of the next about 60 through- 
provision trains were forwarded to the Rhine. 

Meanwhile the waggon parks were completed; every Army 
Corps received a park of 400 waggons, each drawn by two hones. 
The General-Etappen Inspection had altogether 3,000 waggons 
at its disposal 

Naval Preparations up to thk SIst July. 

In consequence of the great superiority of the French navy the 
North German naval forces could not compete with the enemy 
on the open sea without exposing themselves to almost certain 
annihilation, and afterwards laying their defenceless shores open 
to an invasion by the enemy ; their efforts must tend in pre- 
ference to the defence of the war harbours, the more important 
commercial ports, and the mouths of the rivers, against the 
enemy's inroads. 

Vice- Admiral Jachmann's proposal, which met with the royal 
approval, as to the duties of the navy in the impendin^Q^ -w^ar, 
very properly laid stress on this defensive role, but at the same 
time did not exclude the possibility of dealing a combined blow 
with the three iron-clad frigates, under specially favourable cir- 
cumstances, with prospect of a partial success. In the distribution 
of the naval forces {vide Appendix IV.) we were guided by 
the probable operations of the enemy and by considerations for 
those points on the coast which were either of the greatest im- 
portance or could be defended most effectively by a fleet. The 
most important object of defence was the naval establishment 
at Wilhelmshaven (at this time not quite finished) on accoimt 
of its future importance and its situation in regard to the mouthi 
of the Weser and Elbe. 

The naval forces concentrated at this point would lie on the 
flank of the enemy's fleet in the event of nis tiying to run into 
those rivers, and would be always ready to attack or cut the 
communications of an enemy operating to the eastward when a 
fiftvourable opportunity presented. 

The concentration of the tliree iron-clad frigates was therefore 
necessary both for the defence of Wilhelmshaven and for the 
possibility of an offensive blow or a successful action, whilst the 
presence of the ironclads " Aiminius " and '* Fiince Adalbert " on 
the Elbe offered the best chance of a well-timed co-operation. 

On the other hand, a proportionately weak naval rorce co-ope- 
i*ating with the harbour fortifications, the river obstructions and 
torpedoes, would suffice for the protection of the Baltic harbours 
and rivers against the enemy's inroads. The building and armsr 
ment of these fortifications was pushed forward in the most 
active manner, especially at Kiel. 

Besides those ships absolutely required for the defence of our 
coasts, the corvette " Elizabeth " alone remained for employment 
as a cruiser ; a first-class vessel of its kind, but still of little avail 


against the numerous and more foimidable ships of the enemy. 
So little expected was the sudden outbreak of war that the four 
ironclads, " Konig Wilhelm," " Friedrich Carl," " Kron Pi-inz," 
and " Prinz Adalbert," wci'e, at the time when the first diplomatic 
complications occurred, formed into a squadron under H.RH. 
Prince Adalbert of Prussia, and were cmising in the Atlantic 
Ocean. They had left Plymouth after a few necessary repairs 
on the 10th July, but in consequence of the threatening news 
brought by the ironclad " Prinz Adalbert " from Dartmouth on 
the 13th, they returned to Plymouth with a view to commencing 
their homeward journey to Wilhelmshaven, which they reached 
on the ICth ; preparations were made for an energetic defence 
against the enemy. The ironclad " Prinz Adalbert," in accord- 
ance with the plan of distribution, was moved to the mouth of 
the Elbe directly after the arrival of the ironclad squadron off 
the Jade.* 

As from the turn affaii*s had taken, all common action of the naval 
forces had to be abandoned, H.RH. Prince Adalbert of Prussia 
was recalled from his command in order to take part in the cam- 
paign of France at the head-quarters of the 1st Anny, The 
chief command of the North Sea naval force devolved upon Vice- 
Admiral Jachmann ; that of the Baltic, head-quarters Kiel, on 
Rear- Admiral Heldt. 

The organisation of the naval force kept pace with the suc- 
cessive calling-in of Reserves and Seewehr, and was finished 
before the end of the month. The ships were sent to their stations 
immediately they were ready, those intended for the North Sea 
being first despatched. 

On the loth the "Comet" was moved from Kiel, and on the 
16th the "Pfeil," from Swinemunde, to the North Sea. 

The "Vineti/' which required repairs, and the sailing ships 
"Gesion," "Niobe," and "Rover" were towed from Kiel to 
Swinemunde under the conuDand of Lieutenant Schulze of the 
Navy in order to anticipate any attempt on the pait of the 
enemy to capture or destro}*^ these sliij^s in the present incom- 
plete state of the harbour fortifications and before the bay of 
Kiel could be efTectivi^y defended. 

On the 24th July the " Cyclops," " Hay," nnd " Sperber '* lull 
Kiel under the command of Captain- Lieutenant von Rostitz for 
the North Sea, and reached the mouth of tho Elbe on the 2Sth, 
and between the 26tli and 31st July 7 gun boats of tho 2nd 

♦ The fighting powers of the iron-cla«l frigates "Kiinig Wilhchn " and ** Friedrich 
Carl," had uDforttuiatcly heen considcntbly impaired by rcccut damages, for the repair 
of "which there had been neither time iiar means. 

One of the cylinders of the " Konig AVilhelm" was damapjcd hy the heating of the 
engines daring the cruise, which prevented the full steam power being used, and the 
si)eed of the vessel was thereby reduced from 14 to 10 knots. 

The " Friedrich Carl," when passing " the Great Belt " in charge of a pilot on its 
outward voyage at the end May, had touched the ground and lost two blades of its 
screw, by which the speed was considerably lessened. 


dass, "Habicht/' ''Jiiger/' "Hyane/' •' Natter," ''Schwalbe/' 
" Wespe/' and '' Fuchs " were despatched from Sael and Stralstmd 
to the North Sea vid the Eider canal. 

On the eyening of the 27th the ^* Arminius " left Kiel for its 
place of destination, followed on the morning of the 28th by the 
" Elisabeth/' 

The arriyal of the French fleet at Skagen on the 28th put an 
end to these movements and orders of re^Jl were sent to both 
ships, but the counter-order only reached the ** Elisabeth/' The 
" Arminius '* continued on its oourse, and came in sight of the 
enemy's squadron on the 28th. 

In order to delude the enemy, the commander. Captain 
Livonius, apparently *' went about," but as soon as the enemy's 
ships were out of sight bore up for the Swedish coast, and taking 
during the night a northerly course continued his way without 
interruption and reached Cuxhaven on the 81st July. 

Although not contemplated in the original plan of defence a 
gun-boat flotilla was ordered to be formed on the 22nd July at 
Stralsund, consisting of the yacht " Grille " and the gun-boats 
" Drache/' '' Blitz," and " Salamander," under the orders of Cap- 
tain of Corvette Count von Waldersee. 

The distribution of the naval forces on the 3 1st July was 
therefore as follows : — 

A. — North Sea. 

(a) On the Jade, east (6) On the Elbe, (c) On the Heven, 
of Wangeroog. off Cuxhaven. off Ilnsom. 

« Konig WiUielm.'' 
'* Kronprins." 
** Friedrich Carl." 
M Basiliak." 
" Wolf.*' 

" Arminius." 
" Prin* Adalbert." 
*« Cyclopi." 
" Hay." 
•« Bperber." 

** Pfeil." 


!d) Under weigh 
or the North Sea, 
in the Eider 

" Habicht." 
« Xager." 
«' Hy&ne." 
" Natter." 
•* Schwalbe." 
" Weape." 
** Enohfl." 

(a) OffFriedrichaort. 

" Renown." 
« EUaabeth." 
" Preuas. Adler." 
« Camiileon." 
" Tiger." 
•' Scorpion." 

B.— Baltic. 

(() Off Stralaund. 

•« Grille." 
« Drache." 
« BliU." 
M Salamander." 

(e) New Channel, off 

« Nymphc." 

Yice- Admiral Jacbmann had taken up a defensive position wiUi 
the three iron-clad frigates at the Outer-Jade, near the Wanm- 
roog channeli as the most favonrable for awaiting an attadc; 
communication with Wilhelmshaven (four Gennan miles) was 
kept up by hired steamers. 


Meanwhile, the same evils, which had attended the French 
land forces from the premature declaration of war, were repeated 
with the navy. 

Admiral Rigault, the ^Minister, declared publicly in the Council 
that the navy was not prepared for a great war. The rapid 
commissioning of all the ships must meet with considerable 
hindrances, and, owing to the iusufliciency of the supplies in the 
arsenals, the most necessaiy stores were deficient. A com- 
paratively long time was therefore requisite to equip the fleet 
for sea. 

It was only on the afternoon of the 24th July that the iron- 
clad frigates '* Surveillante," " Gauloise," " Ouyeune," *' Flandi-e," 
" Ocean,'* " Thetis," the iron-clad corvette ** Jeanne d'Arc," and 
the despatch boat " Le Cassard '* put to sea from Cherbourg in 
presence of the Empress. 

Two days previously Vice-Admiral Count Bouet-Willaumez 
had been infoimed that he would have to take command of the 
fleets and that it would be subsequently reinforced up to a 
strength of 14 iron-clad frigates and a large number of dispatch 

Besides this, there was a prospect of a second fleet being 
equipped at an early date, under the command of Vice-Admiral 
la Biond^re le Noury, consisting of gun boats, floating batteries 
and transports, and which was intended for the embarkation 
of troops for the landing expedition. The strength and position 
of these troops has already been mentioned. 

Admiral Bouet-Willaumez's instructions were to go first to 
the Sound. He was to detach the frigate '^Thetis" to Copenhagen, 
where it appears negotiations for a coalition had been already 
mooted. The squadron itself was however to turn back at 
nightfall, in order to blockade the Fi*ussian ships in Jade Bay. 
Meanwhile reinforcements would arrive, and the Admiral was 
then to go on to the Baltic, leaving behind a division under 
Rear-Admiral Dieudonnd. 

At the same time Count Bouet-Willaumez was ordered to 
observe Russia. With a view to meeting any coui"se which this 
Power might take, the slii|)S in the Mc(li terra nean were ordered 
to unite in a squadron at Brest, where they would be in a position 
to operate either in the Baltic or in the Mediterranean. 

Count Bouet first intended to go in search of and attack the 
North German iron-clad squadron which he imagined was still off 
the English coast. He vciy soon discovered that owing to the 
timely resolve of Prince Adalbert these ships were safe, and 
he continued his course to the Baltic, not, however, without some 
loss of time. 

On the 28th July, as the fleet was rounding Cape Skagen, 
it was met by Captain de Champeaux who had been sent to 
Copenhagen. He had succeeded not only in procuring Danish 
pilots, but also in finding a suitable victudling dep6t for the navy 
in Kioge Bay on the east coast of Secland. He demanded in the 


name of the French Ambassador at the Danish Court that the 
fleet would at once enter the Baltic as Denmark was ready to 
rise up directly the first French detachment set foot on land. 

We now know that no force for a real landing was carried by 
this first squadron of the French fleet. Admiral Willaumez also 
considered himself bound by his instructions, and that he must 
therefore delay in complying with the Ambassador's views until 
the receipt of further orders. He hastened to communicate with 
his Government asking for fresh instructions. 

This despatch crossed with a telegi*am fixjm Paris, ordering the 
Danish neutrality to be respected, and at the same time com- 
manding him to select a point of observation from which the 
enemy's coast could be watched, and which would also serve as a 
dep6t of supply. 

If this was to sei-vc for the North Sea as well as the Baltic, 
it could not plainly be done by the maritime forces at the 
Admh^ars disposal Uncertain what to do he resolved to await 
an answer to his despatch. 

Thus the French naval operations came to a standstill by the 
end of July contrary to our expectations. 

Meanwhile, on the pait of the Germans, the necessary troops had 
arrived at the difierent fortresses to oppose any landing. Up to 
the 27th July the mobilised field troops of the 1st Ilnd IXth and 
Xth Anny Corps were available for the purpose. On their de- 
part\ire they were replaced by the detachments specially intended 
for coast defence. Of these, — 

The 17th Infantry Division arrived on the 2Sth of July in 
Hamburg, pushing forward large detachments to Liibeck and 
Neumiinster as posts of observation. 

The 2nd Landwehr Division assembled round Bremen by the 
Ist August, with detachments in Oldenburg and Bremerhafen. 

The Guard Landwher Division reached Hanover partly by rail 
and partly b}^ road, between the 29 th July and 3rd August, and 
was posted along the Celle-Uelzen railway. 

H.R.H. the Grand Duke of Mecklenbm-g Schwerin established 
his head-quaiiers in Uhlenhorat, near Hamburg, on the 30th 

Tlie 1st Landwehr Division would probably arrive near 
Wismar and Lubeek between the 8th and 12th Aumist. 

The different Divisions were so distributed that the rearmost 
<letachmcnts could move by rail within 12 houi*s of the receipt of 
the order. 

Besides the Divisions above mentioned, there were the foUowinjv 
(•anison and depot troops at the disjKJsal of General Vogel von 
Falkenstein the Govcmor-Geneml, 77 battalions, 5 rifle com- 
panies, 33 squadrons, 17 batteries, 48 companies of garrison and 
marine artillery, as well as 11 pioneer companies; a total of 
89,000 or 90,000 fighting men. 

Arrangements were forthwith made for employing part of them 


for defence against a hostile landing, and on the 28th Julj' an 
order was issued by the Governor- General for all the depot troops, 
not already disposed for imme<liatc defence of the coast, to hold 
from one third to one half of their foi-ce in a constant state of 
readiness for employment against the enemy. 

Thus the security of the countiy was amply provided for and 
the German aimies were ready to cany the war into the enemy's 
country as a defence against his aggression. 

The presence of the King with the anny was now nccessaiy, 
and the departure of His Majesty with the head-quartei^s from 
Berlin for Mainz took place in the afternoon of the 31st July. 

Tlie stnigglc about to commence was a ten-ible one. It called 
seriously to mind the great time of the War of Liberation, and 
earnest, though enthusiastic, was the spirit of the German people 
which now took up arms. 

With this feeling uppennost the King of Pnissia ordered the 
revival of the decoration of the " Iron Cross " for the new war 
against the old enemy, and responded to the patriotic sentiments 
which reached him from every i)rovince of Germany. The pro- 
clamation issued on the 25th July "To the German people" 
inns as follows : — 

" From all tribes of the German fatherland, from all classes 
of the Ctennan people, even fix)m across the seas, such numerous 
manifestations of devotion and self-denial for our common 
country have reached me on the occasion of the impending 
struggle for the honour and independence of Geiinany ; mani- 
festations proceeding from communities and coiporations, from 
societies and private people, that I feel impelled to testify 
publicly to the harmony of the Gennan feeling, and in ex- 
pressing my royal thanks to assure my people that time shall 
never alter the troth which we now mutually plight. Love for 
a common Fatherland, the unanimous rising of the Geimaii 
races and their princes, has healed and conciliated all differences 
and opposition, and united as never before, may Gei-many find 
the security in her unanimity as in her right, that the war will 
bring her a lasting peace, and that from the seed sown in blood 
a harvest of German freedom and unity will with God's blessing 
be reaped. 

(Signed) *' WlLUAM." 

Before leaving his residence His Majesty took leave of his 
subjects with an act of royal grace : — 

" To my people ! 

"In leaving this day for the anny to participate in the 
struggle for the honour of Germany and the presentation of 
that which we esteem most dear, I hereby grant an amnesty 

29982. F 


for political crimes and offences in I'ecognition of the unanimous 
rising of my people. I have instructed the liGnister of State 
to submit for my approval a pardon in these cases. 

'' My people know, with me, that we neither bear enmity, 
nor are we really responsible for the breach of peace. 

'' But being challenged we are resolved, like our fathers, and 
trusting firmly in Qod, to accept the struggle for the salvation 
of the Fatherland. 

(Signed) " WiLLlAM. 

Berlin 31st July 1870." 


General Description of the Ground for the First 

Period op the Campaign. 

With a view to tlio clearer comprelieiiBion of subsequent 
events, it will be well to cast a glance at the conformation of 
the thcivtre of war. This, as wo know, was ti^ansferrcd at tlio 
outset to the left bank of tlie Khine, owing to the rapid con- 
centration of the German armies and the hesitation at the 
frontier of their ill-prepared adveraary. Before long the strife 
was entirely removed to French temtor5\ 

In following the militaiy operations of the first half of the 
month of August, the groimd l>etween the Rhino and Moselle 
first attracts our attention. 

I. Country Westward of the Rhine as far as the Saar 

AND the Vosges. 

Parallel to the course of the Rhino, between Basle and 
Mninz, for some 200 miles, there extends on the west a broad 
plain vaiying in width from 14 to 23 miles. This plain is but 
imperfectly closed on the south by the hilly Sundgau and the 
spurs of the Vosges, owing to the existence of a gap some 23 
miles wide, between the latter mountains and the Jura — the 
so-called " troupe de Belfort " of the French. The latter has at 
all times formed the natural communication between Germany 
and Burgundy, and has been utilised for the construction of a 
canal and railway. It is closed by the fortress of Belfort. 

Veiy similar is the configui*ation of the ground on the right 
bank of the Rhine, the lowland being shut m on the north by 
the baiTier of the Taunus. These mountains divert the course 
of the Rhine westward, until it agaui forces its way in a 
northerly direction through the scliistose mountains of the 
Lower Khine. 

On the east, between the Taunus and the spurs of the 
Odenwald, there extends at the mouth of the Main a broad 
plain, through which pass the roads leading from the Palatinate 
to Franconia and Hesse. These approaches to the heart of 
Gei-many are guarded by Mainz. 

The West-Rhenish plain, first alluded to, has an average Watt-Blieii 
breadth in Southern Alsace of 14 miles ; it is much intersected ifitan. 
with woods, and between Thanu and Molslieim is sharply 
defined by the eastern foot of the Upper Vosges. The water- 
coiu'ses nui for the most part parallel to the Rhine, thereby 
ofiering impediments to movements of troops westward. More* 
over the defenders have points of support in the fortresses of 
Neu-Brisa,ch and Schlettstadt. 





In Northern Alsace, between the Ik'euseh and the Lunter, 
the middle and lower Vosgea recede from the Rhine to a 
diatance of .about 23 miles, but this increased intervening; space 
assumes the form of a hilly district, the eastern spurs of which 
frequently protrude to within fimr miles or so of the stream, and 
in some places are bathed by its watere. Through this tract 
of country the tributaries of the Rhine flow chiefly fi-om west 
to east. The movements of troops parallel to the Rhine arc in 
consequence repeatedly inteifered with by obstacles, the diffi- 
culties of which are increased, especially to the north of 
Haguenau, by extensive woods and hop gardens. The main 

Eoint of suppru't for the defence ot* Northern Alsace lies in 
trassburg. Weissenburg, Lauterbiu'g, and Haguenau had 
already lost their character as foi-tresses. 

Nfathward of the Lnuter, extending from Lauterburg to 
Worms, lies the plain of the Rhenisii Palatniate, some 14 miles 
broad, its western border marked by the steep and rocky 
terraces of the Haardt. Neither has the gi'oiuid here the 
character of a true plain, as the spurs of the mountain are con 
tinned in low ranges of hills, between which the ramifying 
rivulets and the frequently extensive woods afford numerous 
]>ositions. If acting on the defensive in this country, the 
Germans would be supported by Landau and Germei'slieim ; 
if on the offensive, the extensive Bienwald on the left bank of 
the Lauter would become of importance. 

Lastly, to the northward of Worms, stretches the ui)land of 
Rhenish Hesse, a gently undulating country, liigldy cultivated 
and for the most part free from forest. 

The fi^iarply defined mountains forming the boundary on the 
west — the range of the Vosges — ^inclusive of the northern part, 
the so-called Haardt, is about 150 miles long from Ronchamp to 
Gollheim, and from 18 to 22 miles wide. The range is divided 
at about the middle of its length by the deep mvine at Zabem 
(Saverne) into two portions, which exhibit remarkable dif- 
ferences in their structure. The southern Vosges form lofty 
chains of mountains, which ai'e clothed with the most lovely 
toroBt-giowths, and capped with dome-shaped summits; the 
abundance of water in the valleys enclosed by them has 
operated in developing a thriving industry. The crest is only 
pierced by a lew narrow passes. The less elevated northern 
Vosges, bomided on the west by the ccmrso of the Saar fiom 
Saarebonrg* to SSaargemiind, bears the general appearance of 
an upland })lateau, which falls gently away towards Lorraine ; 
on its eastern side the ground is cut up by naiTow gorges, and 
descends abruptly to the valley of the Rhine. In the Haardt 
the Vosges again rise and become more mountainous, but the 
table-land characteristics can still be traced. Deeply-cleft 
ravines present narrow defiles closed in by forests anil pre- 
cipitous rocks, without any gromul on the flanks accessible to 
troops. The gap at Zabern, previously alluded to as the line of 

* Beforenco u hero mado to Uppc Soarburg, in Iiomioo. 


demarcation between the Bouthern and northern Vosges, is 
impoiiant in many waj'R. Hero tlio Zorn breaks through the 
monntaiu between walls of rock 300 feet higJ), opening a path 
for the Strasflbiirg-Paris railway and the Rhine-JIanie canal; 
the road, on the other hand, shapes its courae fiu*ther north by 

In Rlienish Hesse the sharply defined boundary of the 
mountains is absent. The upland countiy merges gi-adually 
on the south-west into a mountainous district, which is much 
broken up and beara no distinctive name. 

We here enter the tract between the Haardt and the Himds- Palatinate. 
riick, about 20 miles broad, defined approximately by the two 
Hues of road : Kirclilieimbolanden-KaiserRlautern-Saarbriicken, 
and Kreuznach-Birkenfeld-Mci'zig. The landscape is partly 
made up of broadly undulating well-cultivated hills and partly 
of lofty wooded mountain spurs, ^vith here and there a steep 
peak uplifting itself, like the Donnersberg on the east. In the 
valleys, which are more numerous in the Nahe and Glan 
districts and less frequent in that of the Saar, lies a network ot 
roads. This is the Palatinate so well known in military history 
as the land of passage from Lorraine to Geiinany,* with the old 
imperial road and new railways leading from the Saar to tho 
middle Rhine. In addition to these roads, with the road- 
jimctions at Kaiserslautem and Homburg, we should not omit 
to mention those on the noith in the Hundsriick, which latter 
is shaiply defined towai'ds the west by the lower Saar. 

The distance between that portion of the Rhine from Mann- 
heim to Coblenz and the Saar, whether we pass through the 
moimtainous tract of the Palatinate or the Hundsriick, averages 
from five to seven marches, which distance had to be accom- 

{^lished in general by the troops of the 1st and Ilnd Aimies. 
n the case of the Illrd Army it was a matter of importance, 
after its first advance southwards, that the upper Saar lay con- 
siderably nearer to the Rhine than tho lower. The distance 
from Worth at the eastern foot of the Vosges to Saargemiuid 
or San-ebourg at the western is only three marches. But there 
were mountains to be crossed, and of the numerous roads tho 
two of gi'eatest moment were baned by tho fortresses of 
Bitsch and Pfalzburg. 

Thus, at the very opening of the campaign, the Vosges 
present no unimportant oDstacle to both contending Powers. 


The extensive province westward of the Saar bears the 
name " Loiraine," and includes in its whole extent the greater 
part of the departments of the Moselle, Meuse, Meurthe and 

* The district is knot«-n scieniiilcally as the Saarbrucken or Rhenish PaUitioaie 
coal-meamunes and poiphjritic rocks. In the Southern Vosgei, granite is the 
prevBiling formation; in the Northern Yosges, the now red sandstone j and in 
tiorraine, the lias and oolite. 


Vosges. The ciiistoinaiy division of Lon*aine, according to 
language, is of lesA importance in a military point of view, but 
it is necessary to dmw a distinction between Northern and 
Southern Loniiine ; the division between the two is foimed by 
the natural trough which extends from the Vosges to the 
Meuse, and along which pass the Rhine-Mai-ne canal and the 
Sti-assburg-Paris railway. 

The IdghUind of Northern Lorraine extends eastward beyond 
the Upper Saar, where it blends with the gentle western slopes 
of the Vosges. Taking its average length between the Saar 
and the Argonnos at 87 miles, and its bi*eadth between thd 
Khme-Mame canal and the northern frontier of France at 60 
miles, it includes an area of about 5,200 square miles. 

In this richly cultivated and generally open district we find 
gently undulating arable land of fertile character alternating 
with extensive tmcts of well- wooded hills, here and there vaiiea 
with rugged mountain ridges. 

On tiie east the slopes of the plateau of Northern Loiraine 
below Saarbiiicken recede to a greater distance from the left 
bank of the Saar, giving place to the coal basin which laps 
over towards the west between Saarlouis and Saarbriicken. 
About half way between Saarbiiicken and &Ietz it first lises to 
a height of 150 feet above the plain, foiming a good position 
facing the east. 

East of the Forbach railway, at St. Avoid, a spur from the 
high table land juts out towards Saarbrilcken ; it is well defined 
south of the town by the Spicheren heights, and is continued 
again on the right bank of tlie Saar, so that the river at this 
point flows in a deep valley. The steep declivities of the 
Westrich between Homburg and Landstulil may be considered 
as a continuation of the highland of Loin-aine, and this district 
again, with its unifonn plateaux, is linked with the llaardt by 
the heights of Pinnasens. 

Below Saarlouis the dintaiice i>f the French frontier from the 
valley of the Saar was only five miles ; it approached to wthin 
a mile of it near Saarbriicken, at the commanding position of 
Spicheren ; a short distance above that place it touched the 
river, and at Saargemiind crossed to the right bank. 

In consequence of the assembly of large bodies of French 
troops upon this frontier, it became nccessaiy, as wo have seen, 
to give up the lino of th(^ Saar as the point of concentiation of 
the Germans, and it nnist now bo gained and crossed in the 
course of the operations. 

In the country l)otwccn the Saar and the llosclle the folds 
of the ground lie cliielly north and smith, the Kteepur side facing 
the cast. South-east of the Saargeniihid-Nancy road the con- 
stantly recurring hillw, woods, and shoets of water impede the 
free movonicnt of large bodicH of troops. 

To the north-west of the 8anie road, and therefore on the 
shortest line of march from tlio lower Saar to the MosoUei 
deeply cut valleys, with their rivei'S, have to be crossed; for 


instance, between Baarbriickeu and Metz, the valleys of the 
French and of the German Nicd ; and between Saarloms and 
Diedenhofen (Thionyille), those of the Nied below the point of 
junction of the two rivers of that name, and the Canner. Still 
nirther south, on the ix)ad from Saarbriicken to Pont-ii-Mousson^ 
and beyond the two valleys of the Nied, lies the obstacle formed 
by the Seille. «A11 these valleys may be made use of in a 
greater or less degree to bar an enemy s progi-ess westward. 

But of still more vital importance is it to oppose his passage 
of the Moselle. This river, in conjunction with the so-called 
Mousson-Moselle hiUs, offers an extended position, which ap- 

5 roaches the line of the Saar more nearly on the north. The 
istaiice of these two positions from each other is about 50 
miles between . Sarrebourg and Nancy, and only 14 between 
Merzig and Sierk. 

In north-easteni, and even in central France, we frequentljr 
meet with rolling groimd forming natural ramparts, of a curvi* 
linear «8ection, and of considerable length and elevation. The 
western slopes fall gentlv away in the direction of Paris, but 
the eastern faces ai*e nearly always more or lees abrupt, and are 
broken up into steep and rugged mountain slopes. French 
geologists look upon these features of gromid as natural barriers 
for the protection of the capital. In approaching the ]Mosello 
from the east one of these fassurod and creviced natural ram- 
parts rises up before us. The river brcalvs through it and flows 
iJong its whole length as fur as Pi-ussian tcrritoiy. 

Above Frouard th.e Mcurthe forms a natural continuation to 
the line of the Moselle. Nancy, it is true, is deficient of 
artificial defences, but there is the double water-line of the 
river and canal to bo overcome. Still move to tlu5 rear a fresli 
obstacle is presented by the Moselle and the fortress of TduI^ 
Below Frouard, in tiie strip of ground with which we are here 
more particularly concerned — at Pont-a-Mousson, for instance-^ 
the vfilley of the MoBelle has an average breadth of 2,000 paces. 
It seldom narrows to 500 paces, and at Metz its breadth in- 
creases to 3,000 or 4,000 paces. Tlio Btcep slopes of the valley 
on both sides rise above tlio river t<> a heiglit of Honic 300 to 

500 feet. 

Some 5 to 9 miles to the east of the obstacle forined by the 
Moselle lies the already mentioned Seille, cradled in a valley 
equally deep, but not nearly so broad. The gi*ound between 
the two. rivers is overspread by a narrow mountain belt, across 
the southern part oif which he hidden in sunken defiles the 
roads from the Seille to the Moselle. On the right liand^ of the 
Moselle close to Pont-arMousson, a vine-clad hill rises in 
terraces to a height of COO feet above the level of the river, 
the Bat summit of which is crowned by the village of Mousson, 
and the old castellated ruins. This point, from the extent of 
valley which it commands, is of great importance for securing 
the passage of the river in that direction. 

At Jony. aux Arches the Moselle emerges from the high 
of the Mousson plateau, where its northern extremity on 


the right bank is terminated by the isolated conical liill 
** Chateau St. Blaise," some 400 feet high. Lower down on the 
left bank, Mont St. Quentin commands the geneml level of the 
river at Metz by some 600 feet ; whilst e.ast of the fortress the 
so-called Motz plateau, at a distance of two miles, hardly 
attains the relative altitude of 200 feet. Again, north-east of 
the depression through which nicanderH the do Vallicrcs rivnlct, 
that is to say, in fiiMit of forts liellecroix and St. Julien, the 
land riHOH Honio 100 feet higher. Tlic last-meutionud plateau 
then stretches away nortliward between the Moselle and the 
Canner, its margin generally preserving a relative distance from 
the river of 1,000 to 1,500 paces, but m some places bordering 
immediately on its banks. 

This in a military point of vicAV is of no slight importance, 
as the high sides of the valley on the left bank of the Moselle, 
with its outlying terraces so well adapted for batteries, recede 
just below Metz to a distance of 5,000 p<aces fi'om the river, 
and thus the valley, with its network of roads and buildings, 
18 commanded from the less elevated heights on the right bank. 
Even north of the mouth of the Orne the right bank of the 
Moselle has still somewhat the advantage, although the left side 
of the valley approaches nearer to the river at this point. 

The Moselle between Frouard and Diedenhofen has an 
average breadtli of from 150 to 200 paces. The fords are only 
practicable after continuous dry weatlier. There are permanent 
bridges at Frouard, Marbache, Dieulouard, Pont-i\-Mousson, 
Corny, and Ars, but farther doAvn stream there ai-e only the 
bridges within the rayon of the two fortresses. 

In conclusion, let us turn our attention to West Lorraine, 
on the left bank of the Moselle. It extends northward of Toul 
between the Moselle and Meuse as a gently undulating upland 
eovmtry of a generally uniform and feiiuo character. The 
eastern slope fooing the Moselle is high, wooded, and fissured. 
Above Metz there are no iutermediato outlying terraces, and 
the roads ascend by steep slopes or thi*ough narrow forest 
defiles. Below Metz, howe^'cr, there is ahvays a lower ten-ace, 
increasing in breadth as wo move northwards, iu fVont of the 
invariably wooded and fissured plateau. Let us remark also 
the croBS*valleys of the district t the Kupt do Mad, extending 
ftu'thest on the south, and running by Thiarcoui-t j the valley 
of the Orucj. passing by Ktain and Uonflans, on the north. 
Between the two lie the shorter valleys of Gorze, Gravelotte, 
ChAtol, and others. 

The sketch just given will permit of a general idea being 
fonnod of tjio impoi*tance of the Moselle and the Vosges as 
lines of defence. 

If the French plan of invasion and the network of railwajrs 
led to tlic assembly of their forces iu two main groups, tois 
sepai-ation could only have been remedied by an immediate 
advance. Tairying ni such a position in presence of au 
energetic foe could not fail to bo punished, for apy advance on 
his part, whether by the lower or upper Baar, would threaten 


ihe retreat of the unbeaten wing of the army based on Lorraine, 
and, as a consequence, might even entail the abandonment ot 
the line of the Sloselle. 

The Gennan annies were at the outset in close intercom- 
munication between the Nahe and Laiiter. When therefore 
they assumed the offensive, the position of the adversary com- 
pelled them to advance on divergent lines. From that moment 
the importance of the A'osges as regards ourselves became 
manifest. AVe must cross the mountains in order to reap from 
the success of one wing the fullest advantage with the other. 
But there was this gi'oat difference, that the defeat of one of 
the German annies would at the worst have thr(nvii it hack on 
the others, whereas a victory for our arms would drive the French 
aimies away fi^om one another. 

Biit at what cost it would be possible for us to cross the 
Saar on the right, Ihe Vosges on the left, and subsequently the 
Moselle, remamed at firat an open (question. The coui-se of the 
operations has given tlie solution. 

The RoTiVL Head-Quarters at Mainz. 

We have already seen tliat by the close of July the (central 
pivot of the German military forces had been transferred to the 
south-west of Mamz, and that the advanced wings were but a 
few miles distant from the French frontier. At this period of 
the concentration Mainz formed the most suitable link between 
those armies which had already moved forward, the corps 
about to follow and the resources in rear. For those reasons 
the royal head-quaitei-s were firat shifted to that place. The 
train by which His Majesty tmvelled left BerUn at 6 p.m. on 
the Slst July, and reached Mainz vift Magdeburg, Hanover and 

Cologne, early on the 2nd August.* 
Ihe rejoicingfi 

^ . ^.'8 which greeted the King at every stages of 
his journey to the Rhine,t were the sincercst pledge that he 
was leading against the foe a united people, who only awaited 
the opportunity to testify by deeds to tlieir self-sacr Hieing 
devotion. Until more serious works were demanded of theni, 
their sentiments found kindly expression in the hearty greeting 
accorded to the troops in transit, for whoso benefit an abuiuU 
ance of refreshment, in addition to the regulation ration, had 
been jprovided, and for the proper distribution of wliieh special 
committees had been organised. 

Immediately after the public notification of the declamtion 
of war, societies were formed throughout the land for volunteer 

* Tlio jouniGj was performed at a comparatively alow rate, because the six 
extra tniiua containing the hea<(-quartcr8 had to be inserted in tlie tinio tftbles 
prepared for the military tniins in such a way that no iniorfei-enoe^with the gcncml 
scheme of fornarding the troo^vs should take place. 

t The reception of the King at all tlie stations was enthusiastic beyond descrip- 
tion, and reached its climax on his arrival at Cologne on the evening of the Ist 
Aogast The cheers of the crowd which luid oollecteil liardly ceased for throe- 
quulen of an hour, and fau>Iy drowned the band of music which was playing 
clote by. 


aid to the sick in the field aud at home. Tine to their calling 
and rich in the experience of two campaigns, the knights of 
St. John forthwith commenced their labouiB. Her Majeaty the 
Queen became patroness of all volunteer ambulances and 
hospitals at home, and the Prince v. Pless received charge of 
those at the seat of war. 

When the proper time comes we shall revert to the success 
which attended tliese voluntary acts of the nation. 

On his arrival at Mainz, the King* issued the following 
order: — 

*' To the Army I 

"All Germany rises with one accord to anus against a 
neighbouring State which has unexpectedly and for no cause 
declared war against us. Tlie safety of the threatened 
Fatherland, of our hearths, and our honour is at stake. I 
assume to-day the command of the imited armies, and enter 
wth confidence on a struggle which our fathei*s of yore so 
gloricmsly sustained. 

'*The whole Fatherland, as well as myself, looks confi- 
dently to you. The Almighty will favom* our rigliteous 
cause. (Signed) WlLLlAM." 

*• Head-quarters, llainz, 

2nd August, 1870.^' 

The general instructions issued from Berlin tothe commanders 
of the different armies have been already stated.! A notification 
of the impending advance of the Hnd Army was sent by tele- 
gi*aph on the 1st August to tlie commanders of the 1st and UIrd 
Annies, dmdng the transit of the roj^al head-quartera. 

Those portions of the army wliich had been left at homo 
during the first period of concentration were now being for- 
warded to the theatn* (if war as the lines of railway became 
available. The first to nppcar were tht^. 1st Corps and the 1st 
Cavalry Division, which eoinmLiiced to arrivo in Birkenfuld and 
Kaiserslautern on the Dvd August. Althoiigli assigned to the 
Hnd Army fur (|Uartrr.s on arrival, they were subsequently 
incorporated with tlie Lst Army. Tiie A'lth Corps, which quitted 
the line of rail at Lamlau ()n auil after the Ith August, and the 
Hnd Cavalry Divi.sion in JIaiiiz, were assigned to the llird 
Army. Still further in rear came the Hnd Cor[)s, whicli was 
addcul to the Ilud Army. These definite distributions were 
made on Ihe 4th and 5th August. 

AftiT mid-day of the 2nd August tilegranhie intelligence 
was received at the royal head-quarters in Maniz, of a serious 
engagement at Saarbriieken, and subsequently of the retreat of 
oiu* trooi)s. 

* The rami Duke of lle.-sc had placet! at the King'ii diBposal the '* Deutsche 
llatifi," iiu'inorablu I'rom itd ?it nation uiid old as^ociutiona. Thu greater part of the 
head'(|uartcM*s were occoiiunodaUd in il. The olHcu of the Federal ChniiccUor was 
cstablidhod in the ** KupferbL-rg llauj*," in New Kiistrich. 

t Soo page G\) ct 8cq. 


All advanco of tlio main French force over the Saar, whicli 
might now be expected, could at first only be opposed by the 
Ist Army, the bulk of •which had, in accordance with prenous 
orders, to assemble from the northward at Losheiin and AVadern. 
But, as we know, it Avas never intended to commit this com- 

{)aratively small body of troops to single combat against superior 
lostile forces. Consequently, on the 3rd August instructions 
were issued for the march to continue on the following day 
from Losheim towards Tholey with a view to operating on the 
flank of any advance on the part of the enemy. The French, 
however, made no further endeavour to cross the frontier after 
the engagement at Saarbriicken. On the other hand, the Ilnd 
Amiy continued its advance across the Palatinate and shortly 
came up on a level with the position of the Ist Army at Tholey* 
Mention will hereafter be made of the further orders connected 
with this subject. 

From trustworthv reports which were received in Mainz up 
to the evening of the 3rd August the positions of the Froncli 
army were pictured as follows : — 

Guard at Metz ; 1st Corps south of Hagenau ; 5tli Corps at 
Bitsch ; 2nd Corps between Saarbriicken and Forbach, with a 
Brigade or Division at Saargemiind ; Srd Corps at Boulay ; 4th 
Corps at Bouzonville, with a strong advanced guard pushed 
forward towards Saarlouis. 

No precise intelligence with regard to the 6th and 7th Corps 
had been lately reported ; it was supposed that they wore still 
assembling at Chalons and in Southern Alsace respectively. 

The reported weakness of tlio garrison of the Wcissenburg 
lines rendered it doubtful on tlie Srd August whether a pai"t, if 
not the principal part, of the 1st Coi-ps had not already passed 
Zabeni fSavenie) in moving to the westward. In that case it 
was conjectured that the troops at Strassburg were either the 
rear of this or the advance of tlie 7tli Corps. 

The despatch of an expeditionary force to effect a landing 
on the German coast appeared to have been abandoned for the 
present. On the other hand, a telegram was received at Mainz 
on the evening of the 3rd from the German consul at Civita 
Vecchia, reporting that the remainder of the French troops at 
that place were to be embarked on the 5th. 

The presence of a considerable part of the French forces in 
Alsace marked out an independent mission for the Ilird Army, 
in which for the present it must not expect any assistance from 
the other two armies. This would continue so long as it had 
to confront a foe suitable to its strength. Should, on the other 
hand, the departure of McMahon's troops to join the main 
French forces receive confirmation, then it was essential tliat the 
Ilird Ai-my should be brought up to take paiij in a decisive 
battle ; its further advance would m that case be a mere blow 
in the air. It was evidently of the utmost importance to gain 
prompt information of the situation of affaira. Although the 
lllrd Army was still deficient of the Vlth Coi'ps and part of 


its tmins, the commeuceiuent of operations coula no longer be 

It was therefore decided* that the Ilird Army should cross 
the Lauter in several columns aiid drive back in the direction of 
Ha^enau smj weak detachments which might offer opposition* 
If daring tlus operation the enemy's retreat through the Vosges 
should be confirmed, it was intended to leave only one corps to 
watch Strassburg, and to move the rest along the Palatinate 
frontier towards the Saar, so as to reacli that river at Saarge- 
mlind about the 9tli AugUHt. The Vlth Coips, which was 
expected to be complete at Landau by the 7th, would then by 
advancing to Pinnasens form the link of connexion between the 
Ilnd and Ilird Armies. 

With this object in view, the iirHt offensive blow on Frencli 
soil on the part of the Germans was prepared for the 4th August. 

The King inspected the fortifications of Mainz on tlie after- 
noon of this day; about 8 p.m. the Crown Prince's report on the 
action at Weisscnburg amved. This telegram, which caused 
the whole nation to thrill with joy and hope, ran as follows: — 

"Brilliant but bloody victory ^ntncssed by me at the 
storming of Weisscnburg, and the Geissberg lying behind it, 
by regiments of the Vth and Xlth PiTissian and the Ilnd 
Bavarian Corps. French Division of Douay driven back in 
disorder, abandoning their camp equipage. General Douay 
killed. Upwards of 500 unwounded nrisonei's and one gun 
captured. On our wdc, (loniTal KirchlMich grazed by a shot. 
King's Grenadiers and TiHtli rtuffered heavy losses. 

(Signed) Frederick William, 

Ci'own Prince." 

This serious engagement at Weisscnburg was a contradic- 
tion to the rumoui-s of the enemv's withdrawal from Alsace. 
Reports which arrived from the Saar in the afternoon of the 5th 
August pouited rather to a general n\ovement to the right of 
the main French army.f 

As the Ilird Army reported the resumption of their forward 
movement, the commander of the Ilnd Army was recommended 
on the 5th to throw forward a strong force of cavalry over the 
Saargemiind-Bit«ch railway. That line was well known to l)e 
the neareHt natural communication between the two bodies of 
the foe as long as they were separated by the Vosges. 

Such, generally, were the first instructions and opinions pre- 
vailing at the royal head-quai*ter8 at Mainz, into whicli, however, 
we shall enter more closely when speaking of the diflerent 
armies. The concentration of the ainny was as good as finished, 
the firat forAvard movement in preparation.} Further plans must 
depend upon the issue of the serious events now imminent. 

• Vide further on, under '* Ilird Amiy." 
t Vide pp. 66-67. 

J The order laying down tbc manner of trunsaelin^ butinew between the toyal 
•qttartcrs and the ttnft ol llio commnndcri of tlie three annict i« giTon in 
Appendix VI. 


Movements of the Armies from 1st to 5th August. 

The events of the first days of August can bo pictured most 
clearly to the mind by following separately the movements ot 
the armies, commencing from the right wing. 

1. The First Army* 

The Ist Army, as we know, had to asscmhlo by tlio 3rd on 
the Hnc Losheim-Wadcrn.* 

On tlio Ist August, the Divisions of tlic Vllth Corps stood as 
follows : the 13th with the 7th Cavahy Brigade at Trier (Treves), 
with an advanced guard of four battalions, four squadrons, and 
two batteries at Conz and Saarburg. The general position of 
the 14th Division was still more to tlic rear, as far as Bittburg, 
on the left bank of the Moselle. 

Of the Vlllth Corps, the 15th Division reached the neigh- 
bourhood of Wadern ; the greater part of the IGth moved on to 
Nunkirchen, which lies somewhat further to the south. All 
the detachments from the latter Division which had been 
pushed forward towards the Saar were placed under the orders 
of General Count Gneisenau. Their positions on the morning of 
the 2nd of August were as foUows: — The 6th and 7th cos. of the 
2nd battn.t 40th Fusiliers occupied the drill ground at Saar- 
brticken, the Nussberg, the Winterberg and St. Arnual : the 8th co. 
at Brebach kept a look-out in the direction of Saargemihid ; the 
5th CO. held itself in re^idiness to tmn out at St. Johann. The 
other two battalions, with a squadron of the 9tli Hussars and the 
6th light battery, occupied a position in support at Raschpfuhl on 
the skirt of the forest, some 2 miles north-west of the town. 

The patrol duties at Saarbriicken were performed by two 
squadrons of the 7th Lancers, who were well acquainted with 
the district. 

The fusiHer battalion of the GOth was engaged in watching 
the Saar lower down. The lOth co. occupied Malstadt and the 
railway bridge at Burbach ; the other three cos. and ^100 lancera 
secured the passages at Volklingen and Wehrden. 

A squadron of lancers was posted at Dudweiler, while 
Rehlingen and Dillingen were eacli occupied by a squadron of 
hussars. Lastly, farther to the rear at Heusweiler on tlie Lebac^ 
road, were the 2nd battalion of the 29th, a squadron of hussars, 
and a heavy batteiy. 

Count Gneisenau was directed to retire upon Lebach if 
pressed by superior forces. 

• Vide p. 72. 

t In the Priusian B«mce the companiefl of a battalion are numbered conBeca- 
iiTely throQffhout the regiment ; thna, Coe. Nos. 1, 2, 8 and 4 belong to the let 
battalion. Coe. Nos. 5, 6, 7 and 8, to the 2nd. Cos. Nos. 9, 10, 11 and 12, to the 
Srd or Faeilier battalioui at the case may be.«-TB. 


Combat at Saahcruckex on the 2xd August. 

SUiAi 11. Since the Slst July no essential changes had taken place in 

the French posititjn.* On the 2nd Ancrnst they proceeded to 
eany ont Iho n.connaissance in force decided upon for that 


General FioKsard moved of[ towards the Saar in the forenoon 
with the view to seizing the heights on the left bank, upon which 
PniRsian outposts had been observed. DetachnientB of Bazainc's 
Corps advan(;ed in the dirertion of Volklingen ; others from 
Faiily's Corps crossed to the light Iwmk ut Saargeiuiind. 

About 10 o'cloek the Prussian patr^»l« and pic<]uets in front 
of Saarbriiijken rciported the enemy's advance, and soon after a 
telegram was received from Dlittersdorf announcing the break- 
up of th(^ French trom their camp at Saargemiind. 

Bataillo's Division ot (Seneral Frossard's (Jorps fonned the 
iirst line. On the right of the Forbaeh road Bastoul's Brigade, 
descending the Spichercn lieights, moved against the llepperts- 
berg, the Winterberg, and St. Arnual ; on the left of the road 
Pouget's Brigade moved towards the drill giound, pushing a 
battalion of the 8th Reghnent along the lino of railway. Three 
squadrons of the 5tli Chasseurs scoiucd the ground in front. 

In rear of the riglit wing, at a distance of 700 to 800 paces, 
followed Micheler's Brigade of Laveaucoupet's Division ; m rear 
of the left, Valaze's Brigade belonging to Verge's Division. The 
former supported the advance of the first line on St. Arnual with 
a battalion of the 40th and a company of engineera, at the 
same time pushing forward the 10th Rifle Battalion more to the 
south along the road from Saargennmd. Two battalions and a 
squadron of the 4th Chasseurs froiri V^alaze's Brigade, advanced 
on Gersweiler for the purpose of keeping up comnninication with 
Bazaine's Corps. 

The rcmamder of FrossanVs Coii")h followed in reserve. 

The two Prussian companies in front of Saarbriicken moved 
at once into the line of outposts. The company from St. 
Johann hurried by at the doid)le with a view to occupying the 
*' Rothe Haus." Before anything else was done. Major v. Horn 
strengthened the post on the Winterberg, which was most imme- 
diately threatened. Captain Gmnder occupied the Lowenburg, 
and moved with the remainder of the (5th co. to St. Arnual. 
(>aptain Ncydeeker's company in Brebaeh supported this last 
detachment by extending a skirmishing division along the right 
bank of the Saar. This division, and two guns In'ought up from 
llaschpfiihl under Liouteuant Meyer received the enemy, 
debouching from the Stiftswald witli a brisk fire, (leneral 
Micheler on his side also brought up a battery ; but Lieutenant 
Meyer maintained his position ui spite of the enemy's skirmishers. 

• Sec Sketch I. 
t Vide p. 33. 


We had thus been successful in offering timely opposition to 
the French at all pointa 

But it was impossible for such weak forces to resist for any 
time the enveloping attack of Bastoul*s entire brigade. After 
St. Araual had teen abandoned by the Prussians and occupied 
by the battalion of the 40th French Regiment, tlie enemy 
advanced with the 67th Regiment towards the Winterberg, and 
with the 66th towards the Rcppertsberg, and drove out tho 
weak detachments occupying those points. Captain Grundner, 
who retired from St. ArnuaT along the Saarbriicken road, was 
forced to cross the upper (old) bndge under the enemy's fire, 
but held the barricades thrown up on tho riglit bank and tho 
nearest houses in St. Johann. 

Meanwhile Captain Koscli, by a forward inovt'incnt with tho 
5th CO., somewhat relieved the pressure on this retiring move- 
ment. Lieutenant Schlesinger and his division,* which had 
already come under fire at the "Rothe Ilaus/' mounted the 
heights of the Reppertsberg in spite of the obstacles presented 
by the hedges, ana attacked the French skirmishers occupjdng 
the cornfield in front with the l)ayonet. The company tlicn 
occupied tho foremost hcclges, and brought their fire to bear on 
the detachments of the enemy ascending the Winterberg. 
Being seriously threatened by superior forces the 5th co. also 
fell b«ack over the upper bridge, covered by divisions tlu'own 
out in front, which were tlien slowly witlidrawn by Lieutenants 
Schlesinger and v. Schilgeu in the best order. 

Captain Baron v. Rosen had liastened with the 7th company 
to the assistance of his picquet on tlio drill ground. A dense 
line of the caiemy's skirmishers had already opened a brisk fire 
at a distance of 1,200 paces, and was now descending, followed 
by several companies m line, into the hollow in front of the 
drill ground. The other battalions of Pouget's Brigade were 
also following in rear ; witli their left wing they occupied the 
wood westward of the railway. Isolated detachments had 
already penetrated by Deutscbmiihle towards the scythe 
factory, where they came uiulor the file-fire of v. Ik^'herer's 
company of the 69th Regiment from the right bank of the Saar. 
Although threatened in rear, and repeatedly histructed to 
retire ** if pressed," Captain v. Rosen nevertheless allowed the 
enemy to approach to within oOO paces. The excellent efiect 
of his sharpshooters* fire at this distance caused the enemy's 
skirmishers to halt and lie down. It was only after a distinct 
order to retire that Captain v. Rosen withdrew his company 
over the lower (new) bridge. Lieutenant Goldschmidt covered 
the movement with the skirmishing division, by talcing up 
several intermediate positions, and even assumed the ofTensivo 
agamst the hotly purauing enemy. 


* Tho word *'Ziig," as applied to infuiiti-yf is translated throughout this vrork as 
division, of which there are two in each couipanj. •'* Ealb-Zug " wiU be tRinsluted 
by sttb-dirision, and " Section " by section. Thclargc unit of troops is distinguished 
by an initial capital letter— DiTision.*-Tu. 


General Count Gueisenau had watched the coui-se o( tho 
combat from the dnll-ground, and had made timely preparations 
to give support. So early as 11 o'clock ho had ordered the 
3rd battahon of the 40th Regiment at Raschpfuhl and the four 

guns still there to advance towards St. Johann. Major v. 
[olieben firet occupied the i-ailway station and the new bridge 
with tho leading half-battalion. Advancing subsequently vntli 
the 11th cotnnany as far as the western issue from Saarbrii(;ken, 
he niaintiiiiiCMi the (i^ht then; until noon, by which time all tho 
detachinontH hud juissod the river. The retreat in fiice of the 
enemy's supijrior force was defiMTod to tho latest possible 
moment, an<l was then carried out with the greatest order, and 
with comparatively slight Ions. Hoth of the town bridges as 
well as tho railway bridge remained in our pOHHL»ssion. The 
French did not press closely after us. 

Tho tiring on both sides had almost ceased when at about 
12.15 p.m. one of the enemy's batteries appeared on the 
Reppertsberg ; soon aifter a second crime in sight on tho drill- 
ground, followed later by a 12-pr. battery from the reserve. 
Captain v. llelden led oft' the artillery fight from the heights at 
Malstatt with his four guns at a range of 2,200 paces, and 
carried it on for a considerable time, making several changes in 
his position. 

An attempt on the part of some hostile detachments to cross 
the Saar at Gersweiler Avas defeated by non-commissioned 
oilieia-s* patrols sent to the spot. 

Opposite ViUkUngen also, at about 1 p.m., some battalions of 
Bazaine's Corps with foia* guns advancecl towards the AVehrden 
bridge, then occupied by the 12th co. of the GDth Regiment. 
After the enemy had kept up an ineffective fire of shell and 
shrapnel, ho withdrew his artillery; no seritms attack was 

Nothing further had been heard of the advance of the enemy 
from Saargemiind, as reported fi'om Blittei-sdorf. 

Towards 2 p.m. General Count Gneisenau ordered the troops 
to retire from Saarbriicken upon Raschpiiihl. 

Major V. Horn marched his companies as they came out of 
action past the railway station to the Kollcrthal forest ; Major 
V. Holleben occupied the border of the wood south of Russhiitte ; 
his 10th company, which only moved off about 3 o'clock, 
retired on Raschpfuhl. The four guns from Malstatt and the 
lOth CO. of the r»Oth Regiment from Burbach also made for this 

The enemy's artillery commanded tho wholo gi'ound over 
which the retreat was made. The mitrailleuse battery on the 
Reppertsberg in particular swept the viaduct near the grinding 
mill. The mass of stiaw collected at tho railway briugo was 
set on fire from the drill-ground. 

General Count Gneisenau awaited tho further measures of 
tho enemy in this new position. But as tho latter did not cross 
tho Saar, a tletnchment was despatched to St. Johann to bring 
in the wounded, it was not until G p.m. that a patrol came 


across the enemy in Saarbiiicken. The report which readied 
General Count Gneisenau of the advance of strong hostile 
columns upon Geraweiler decided Iiiin to evacuate tlie position 
in front of the long defile of the Kollerthal forest between 5 and 

6 o'clock, and to bivouac in rear of it at Ililschbach. 

The troops from Volkliiigen and the squadron of lancers 
posted at Dudweiler were now brought up to the Hame place 
The detachment at Brebach marched back via Dudweihir about 

7 o'clock, as soon as they heard of the evacuation of Saarbriickeu 
and St. Johann. but were only able to reach the bivouac at 
Hilschbach on the following morning. 

The 2nd Battn. of the 29th Regiment, the squadron and the 
battery at Ileusweiler had also received orders at noon to 
advance. They met the retiring troops in the Kollerthal forest,, 
and were now directed to take up a supporthig i)08ition at 
Guichenbach. The battalion remained hero on outpost duty, 
the squadion and the battery marched into the lUlsclibacli 

For nearly 14 days the weak detachments under Lieutenant- 
Colonel V. restel had been in immediate contac^t with tho 
enemy's army. The determination witli which they maintained 
tlieir position to the last in the combat at Saarbriickeu Avas a 
worthy sequel to their dogged persistence. 

One of the prisoners stated that the Emperor and Prince 
Imperial had been spectators of this unequal fight. 

The following were the losses of the small band : — 

Killed - - — officers 8 men. 

Wounded . 4 „ 04 „ 

Missing. - — „ 7 „ 

Total - 4 oflicei-8* 79 men. 

the greater part belonged to the 2nd battaUon of the 40th 

The colour of the 1st Battn. of this regiment had been hit * 
by a splinter of shell. 

The enemy's loss amounted to G officers and 80 men. 

While these events were taking place at Saarbriickeu, the 
V^IIth Army Corps continued its march on Losheim. The 13tli 
Division from Irier and Conz reached the neighboin-hood of 
Saarburg ; an advanced guard moved along the Thionville road 
as far as Trassem, and thrcAV out cavahy to watch the French 
frontier on this side of Sierk. A battalion remained in occupa- 
tion of the bridge at Conz. The 14th Division (juitted its 
quarters south of Bittburg, left two battalions to garnson Trier, 
and reached Zerf and its neighbourhood late in tho evening, 
The troops, in part at least, had marched 27 miles under a 

* Captain t. Helden-Sarnowski, commander of the 6th liglifc battf^r^ ; Ist Licet. 
T. Schilgen, 2nd Lieuts. v. Borrics and t. Kouarski, of the 40th Regiment. 


burning sun. In rear of the two Divisions, the corps artillery 
reached Pcllingcn ; the 7th Cavalry Brigade advanced to within 
5 miles south of Trier ; the trains still remained at Schweich, on 
the left bank of the ilosellc. 

Of the Vlllth Array Corps, the greater part of the 15th 
Division reached the neighbourhood of Wadem ; Colonel v. Loe 
with the rifle battalion and tlu'oe squadi'ons of hussars moved to 
Rehlingen and Dillingon for the pui-pose of watching the French 
frontier, relieving the two scjuadrons of the 9th Hussarn, which 
rejoined the 16th Division. 

The movements of the 16th Division wore influenced even 
on the 2nd August by the combat at Saarbriicken. We know 
tliat General Count Gueisenaii at the finish of the aniiir took up 
a position at Hilschbach and Guichenbach with about 4 
battalions, 6 squadrons, and 2 batteries. The remainder of the 
Division advanced this day from Nunkirchen as far as the 
neighbourhood of Lebach. When General Cotnit Gncisenau'a 
report of his intended withdrawal behind the Kcillerthal forest 
reached Lebach in the nftenioon, the Commander of the Divi- 
sion, Licutenant-Gcneral v. Barnekow, held the troops whicli 
had amved at Lebach in readiness if necessary to move on^ward 
to Heusweiler. The General himself rode on to Hilschbach, 
took the neccssaiy stops to regidn the touch of the enemy, and 
the same evening sent forward detachments from Lebach to 
Landsweiler and Eppelbom. 

The general commanding the Vlllth Army Corps, General 
of Inftintry v. Goeben, had arrived from Coblentss on the Ist 
August at Wadern, where, at 2 p.m., he received the report of 
the combat and of the withdrawal of his troops from Saar* 
briicken. It was his wish also to see the contiict -with the 
enemy regained, and with this object in view In? ordered a 
forward movement of the advanced parties to Dadweiler, 
Saarbriicken and Volklingen for the following day. To support 
these movements, he resolved to move his whole army corps 
more to the south. He intended to advance the lath Division 
to L'^biich, from wliiith place it could be most easily employed 
in any direction. He reported this intention to the head- 
quarter staft' of the army, whicli had anived at Trior on the 
2nd August. General v. Steinmetz confirmed General v. 
Goeben's dispositions. 

In consequencM^ of this the Int Aimy, on the 3rd August, 
instead of assembling at Wadem and Losheim, took up a some- 
what more s(mtherly position. 

Nearest to the enemy stood the 16th Division. Its advanced 
guard under Gcnieral Count Gneisenau (still consisting of 4 
battalions, 3 squadrons, and 1 battery) bivouacked between 
HilKcliliadj and DiJKburg, witli its advanced parties in tho 
Kolkrthal forest. The latter patrolled towards V<ilklingen and 
St. Johami. The remahuUr of the Division (exclusive of the 
two battalions of the 61)th Regiment at Saarlouis) stood to the 
north of Heusweiler, at which place, however, General v, 
Redern's Cavalry Brigade of the Ilnd Arniy airived this day. 


The ISfli Division and Corps Artiileiy were quorfered in the 
neighbourhood of Lebach; the trains came as £bu: as Wadem. 
'On the Saajr below Saarlonis there was still left as a temporary 
measure a small detachment of Loe's troops, which, however, 
was relieved soon after by the 13th Division, The 33rd Regi- 
ment of the 15th Division, coming from St Gear and Boppard, 
had accomplished a march of 69 miles over mountainous 
•country in three days, and also reached the neighbourhood of 
Wadem this day. 

The 13th Division advanced from Saarburg and Trassem 
towards the south. The detachments marching at first along 
the left bank of the Saar crossed to the right at Mettlach ; the 
bridge which was thrown over the river at this point was then 
removed. The main body of the Division reached Merzig, the 
advanced guard Harliugen; a battaUon on the left bank of 
the Saar covered the right flank; some divisions *(Z(lge) of 
hussars watched the frontier between Saarburff and Sierk. 
Another detachment relieved, as already mentioned, that of the 
loth Division at Rehlingen in the com-se of the afternoon. The 
batallion at Conz was drawn forward to Saarburg. 

The l^th Division marched southward to beyond Losheim 
and drew in the two battalions from Trier ; its right wing was 
at Broddorf, to the noi-tli-cast of Merzig. The corps artiileiy 
reached Losheim. The trains were still in rear as far as 

On the 3rd August, by drawing in the 7th Lancere and the 
8th Cuirassiers, the formation of the 3rd Cavaby Division was 
also completed ; it took up its quartei-s between Losheim and 
Lebach, consequently between the 14th and 15th Divisions. 

The head-quarter staff of the army moved from Trier to 

According to the repoi-ts received on the 2nd and 3rd 
August from the troops pushed forward to the frontier it might 
with certainty be assumed, that the hostile forces in front of tho 
1st Anny had been moving southwards since the 1st August. 
Although during the last days of July Trier seemed j;o be 
threatened from the direction of Sierk, ftiid even on the 1st 
August hostile troops had been observed between Waldwisso 
and Filstroff, the patrols had come across no large bodies of 
troops north of the Saarlouis-Bouzonville road since the 2nd 
August, "with the exception of some 30 French chasseurs, with 
whom there was a skirmish on the 3rd at Heyning. On the 
other hand the commandant of the fortress of Saarlouis and the 
Srdvanced pai-ties of the Vlllth Army Corps reported the 
presence of considerable bodies of troops in the frontier district 
<tbove that fortress ; it was said that 40,000 men under Marshal 
Bazaine were assembled round Boulay, and that there were 
large forces at Saarbriicken. The enemy, however, did not 

* In the Prussian aerTioe the squadron of caralrj is divided into 4 Zi^fe^ which 
is here &r.d throughout this work translated as dirieion. Each Zu^ contists of 
about 80 Fabres. The large body of cavalrj attached to the Armies is diB^^ingnishcd 
by an initial capital letter — DivUion. — Tb. 

B 2 


orofis the river even at this point, but entrenched himself on the 
heights of the left bank. Even the telegraphic communication 
between St. Johann and the Oerman stations in rear could be 
carried on without interruption during the following days in a 
most unaccountable manner, and from that place we received 
uninterrupted intelligence of the enemy's attitude at Saar- 
brCLcken. On the whole he showed himself careless in outpost 
duties and little eager for enterprise ; he patrolled only in sti'ong 

The commander of the 1st Army deduced from these repoiis 
that the enemy's main forces were about to move towards the 
Palatinate, consequently against the line of advance of the Ilnd 
Army. General v. Steinmetz therefore hoped by an advance on 
his part to draw as large a force as possible of the enemy upon 
himself, and thus facilitate the concentration of the Ilnd Army 
on the Saar. With this in view he puiposed advancing on the 
4th August into the line Saarlouis-HcUeuhausen, and from 
thence despatching strong reconnaissances on the 5th from the 
Cavalry Division and the Vllth Anny Corps towards the 
Bouzonville, Boulay and St. Avoid roads. When on the point 
of ordering these movements on the afternoon of the 3rd, 
General v. Steinmetz received at Losheim the following tele- 
gram from the royal head-quarters : — 

'* Wavering advance of the French leads us to anticipate 
that the Ilnd Anny can be assembled on the 6th inst in 
fr'ont of the belt of forest at Kaiserslautem. If rapid 
advance of the enemy cannot be checked, concentration of 
the Ilnd Army behind the Lauter.* Co-operation of both 
armies in battle purposed, Ist Army from St Wendel or 
Baumholder. His Majesty commands the Ist Army to con- 
centrate towards Tlioley on tlie 4tli. IlIrd Army crosses 
the frontier to-morrow at Weissenburg. A general offensive 
is proposed." 

In consequence of this instruction General v. Steinmetz at 
once issued flie following ai-my order : — 

** The Ist Anny commences its advance to-moiTow in the 
direction of Tholey. The Vlltli Army Coi-ps concentrates 
at Lebach; the Vlllth Corps, with its 16th Division at 
Ottweiler, 15th at Tholey. The 3rd Cavahy Division 
between Tholey and St Wendel, northward of the Tholey- 
St Wendel road ; line of demarcation between the rayons 
of the Vllth and Vlllth Amiy Corps is defined by the 
Miihlfeld as far as the confluence of the Theelbach and 
Dirraingerbach. Head-quarters of the Ist Army — Tlioley." 

These orders were communicated to the Ilnd Ai-my and re- 
ported to the royal head-quarters at Mainz. 

In compliance with the foregoing army order, the following 
movements took place on the 4th August : — 

• Bcferencc is here made to the Lauter, flowing by Kaiserslautem to Glan. 


The staff of the Vlllth Corps moved to Ottweilor. The 
advauced guard of the 16th Division, iiiider (jeiieral Count 
Gnciseuau, marched from Hilschbach to SchiS'wciler ; the main 
body, uuder Colonel v. Rex, from Heiisweiler to Stennweiller. 
Generally speakinff the Division occupied wide cantonments 
around and especially to the southward of Ottweiler. The 15th 
Division occupied quai'ters between Tholey, Mainzweiler and 
Aschbach ; the corps artillery on the Dmniugerbach at Eppel- 
born and Dirmingen. 

The staff of the Vllth Army Coi-ps moved to Lebach. The 
14th Division advanced from Losheim to Lebach; its advanced 
guard, under General v. Francois, took up a position two or 
three miles further south, North-west of the 14th tlie mahi 
body of the 13th Division advanced fi'om Merzig to Bettingen 
and the advanced guard under Major-General v. d. Goltz, to 
the neighbourhood of Hiitteredoif. The post which had been 
hitheilo on the left bank of the Saar was withdrawn via Merzig 
to Oppen ; the battalion in Saarburg followed to Zerf on the 
4th, and to Neunku'chen on the 5th ; the corps artillery moved 
to Nemiku'chen; the trains reached Wadern. 

The outposts of the two aimy corps formed one continuous 
line from the railway west of Neunldrchen as far as Bettstadt 
on the Prims. Since the 3rd of August, however, as we have 
before mentioned, there had been in front of the centre of this 
line of outposts, at Heusweiler, Redern's Cavalry Brigade of the 
Ilnd Army, its advanced troops watching Saarbriicken. There 
were also some troops of the Ilnd Army at Neunkirchen on the 

The 3rd Cavahy Division moved to the neighbourhood of 
St- AVeudel and north of the town ; it tliere also came into 
immediate contact with the Ilnd Amiy. 

The head-quarters of the Ist Army wore removed on the 4th 
to Tholey, where they were joined on this day by 1LR.1I. Prince 
Adalbert of Prussia. 

A telegram from General v. Moltke at Mainz expressed his 
concuiTence with the position taken up this day, but at the 
same time ordered that the troops were to remain in it until 
further notice. 

In accordance therewith, the army retained on the 5th 
August the same general position which it had taken up on the 
4th. The two battalions of the ()9th Regiment, left hitherto at 
Saarlouis, which had become superfluous owing to the arrival of 
the gaiTison battalions, alone moved on the afternoon of the 5th 
to Heusweiler, so as to join their own — the Kith — Division on 
the next day at Ottweiler. 

Of greater consequence was tlie impeudiiig reinforcement 
from the rear of the 1st Army, by the assignment to it of the 
1st Cavalry Division on the 4th August, and wliich was further 
supplemented by that of the Ist Anny Corps on tlie 5th. 

The Ist Cavahy Division, consisting of six regiments (Pome* 
ranian and East Prussian), had been assembled since the 2nd 


AiigUHt at Berlin, from which iilacc thoy began to move by rail 
on the 3rd, part bjing sent by the Nahe line to Birkenfcld, and 
part by thu Palatinate lino to llomburg. On the evening of 
the 5th Augnist the 3rd (/uiraswiers and 12th Lancers readied 

The 1st Army Corps, also transported by the same two hues, 
was, after disembarking at Birkenfeld and Kaiserslautcni, to- 
assemble, in accordance with previous orders* in the triangle 
Tholey-St. Weiidel-Tiirkismiihlo. By the evening of the 5th 
the ti-oops had arrived as follows: — At Birkenfeld, the 1st 
Infantry Division; its foremost troops had already advanced 
five miles to the north of St. AVendel; one battalion and 
one batteiy were still wanting. In the neighbourhood of 
Kaiserslantern stood the 2nd Infant ly Division, almost comphite; 
only the 44th Regiment passed thnmgh to Ncunkirchen, owing 
to the change in the point of disembarkation. The coiw 
artillery was still deficient of three l)atteries. Nearly the whole 
of the coii)s had therefore aiiived, but several days were still 
necessaiy to bring those poi-tions at Kaiserslanteni into the 
rayon of the Tst Ai-my. 

Since the latter had withdrawn from the Saar, the enemy 
seemed to bestir himself again in the abandoned frontier district 
below Saarlouis. Reports were received at 'J'holey on the 4th 
and 5th from Perl, Sivarlonis, Trier and from the outposts of the 
Vllth Army Corps, that fresh concentrations of troops had 
taken place towards Sierk, and that the frontier northwurd of 
the Bouzon\'ille road was once more strongly occupied. As a 
French movement to the right in a southerly direction could no 
longer be questioned, General v. Stcinmetz behoved that the 
above demonstrations probably proceeded from Diedenhofen 
and were intended to veil other designs. In any case, however, 
it was necessaiy to secure the lower Saar, and especially the 
important point of Trier, ^vith its stores, against passing attacks. 
In order not to weaken the field army proper for this purpose, 
the Commander-in-Chief had during his sojourn in Coblenz 
held a conference with the Governor-General at tliat place, at 
which it was suggested that troops belonging to the latter 
should be first concentrated at Wittlich. We now heard that 
with this object troops of this Crovernmcnt, to the number of 5 
battalions, 1 squadron and 1 batteiy, were to reach Wittlich on 
the 8th August. General v. Stcinmetz determined therefore to 
draw forward these troops towards Trier, with a view to taking 
in hand the securitv of the lower Saar in conjunction with the 
fortress of Saarlouis. In this sense provisional communications 
were made on the 5th August to the Govenior-General of 
Coblenz and the commandant of Saarlouis. 

The intelligence received from St. J(»hann showed no essen- 
tial change in the situation of aflairs at Saarbmcken on the 4th 
and 5th August. On the preceding night the enemy's artillery* 

* Vrom the oommander of tko Ilnd Aimj. 


had set fire to the railway st4itiou buildingp. Li the course of 
the 5th his forces appeared to have diimnishcd at that place; 
giiiis were withdi-awn. This was connected "\^^th tlie victoiy of 
the Crown Priiice yesterday at AVoissenburg, a report of whicli 
had already arrived in Tholey from the royal hcad-qiiartei-B. 

As the position of the 1st Army at Tholey extended sonth- 
wards beyond Ottweiler, its quarters partly treiiched upon the 
lines of march of the Ilnd Army, ana had, as previously men- 
tioned, been travensed by detachments of the latter. The 
Cavalry Divisions of tliis army had reached the frontier several 
daj's since, and extended their right as far as Bouss (between 
Saarbriicken and Saarlouis). General v. (loebcn also reported 
on the 4th from Ottweiler the passage of troop.s of the 5th 
Division towards Nemikirchen. 

As confirmatory of tliis, the conmiander of the Ilnd Arniy 
made the following communication on the 4th by telegraph : — 

"The Ilnd Anny an-ives to-moirow with its Icarling corps 
atSt. AVendel and llomburg, on the (Itli at Ncunkirchcn and 
Zweibriicken. A movement to the right this day cm the 
part of the Ist Army would be desirable in order to avoid 

General v. Steinmetz had, up to the afternoon of the 4th 
received no other instructions from the royal head-quarters th?ui 
that orderin;^' him to remain in his }>reseut position until further 

The General thought, therefore, that he could Hf)t forthwith 
agiec to the request made by the Ilnd Army ; he, however, at 
once reported the present state of aftiiirs by telegraph to Mainz. 
While asking for further instrnciions ho brouglit to notice that 
should the advance of the Ilnd Army be continued, its front 
would overlap that of the 1st Army, if the latter remained any 
longer in its position. 

Meanwhile, the ccmnnander of the Ilnd Army had also 
requested a decision from the royal head-quarters upon the 
pomt at issue, in answer to which the following telegram from 
General v. Moltke reached Tholey on the r)th: — 

"The road St. Wendel-Ottweiler-Neunkirehen, is to be 
evacuated to-morrow by the 1st Army."' 

The telegram also notified the assignment, as already men- 
tioned, of the 1st Army Coii)s to tlic 1st Army. 

In order, however, to carry out the orders received, General 
v. Steinmetz could not confine himself alone to the evacuation 
of the road in question, because the troops which were to bo 
shifted Avestward would bo thrown on quarter which were 
othei^wise occupied. Moreover, there was also the question of 
gaining space for quartering the troops of the 1st Army Corps 
and of the Ist Cavalry Division, which might bo expected 
chiefly from the direction of Birkenfeld. General Stemmetz 
therefore resolved to take in handon the 6th a general forward 
shifting of the quarters of the Yllth and Vlllth Army Corpse 


and of the Srd Cavalry Division, in a south-westerly direction 
by which the army would be again brought within a march of 
the Saar» and at the same time sufficient space be given to allow 
of perfect freedom of movement for the right wing of the Ilnd 
Army. The General had before him a copy of the order issued 
by tne commander of the Ilnd Anny, by which it appeared that 
the Ilird Amiy Corps was to assemble at Neunkirchen on 
the 6th, and to push forward an advanced guard to Sulzbach 
c«i the 7th. From this it would seem that in general the Rhine- 
Nahe railway would be the best line of demarcation botween 
the two armies. 

Accordingly General v. Steinmetz issued the following army 
cixloi' on the evening of the 6th August :— 

" The army commences to-moiTow its advance towards 
the Suar. The Vllth Anny Corps from Lebach, with its 
head reaching as far as Guichenbach, and its advanced 
guards pushed forward towards Volklingcn and Saarbriicken. 
The head of the Vlllth Army Corps reaches Fishbacli, 
westward of Sulzbach, echclouncd to the rear through 
Quierscheidt as far as Mergweilor. The Ilird Army Coips 
of the Ilnd Army, from information received, reaches the 
neighbourhood of Bildstock to-moiTow. The 8rd Cavalry 
Division moves on Lebach, five miles south-west of Lebach, 
and covera the right flank of the anny. The head-quarter 
staff of the anny moves to-mon-ow to Hellenhausen. The 
Nahe railway forms the line of demarcation between the 
Vlllth and Illrd Anny Corps as far as Landsweiler, and 
afterwards the line Landswciier-Mainzweiler ; that between 
the Vlllth and Vllth is formed by the line Russhutte- 
Wiesbach-Eppelborn ; that between the Vllth Corps and 
the 3rd Cavalry Division is the line Sprengen - Lebach. 
The Int Anny Corps and the Ist Cavalry Division are 
assigned permanently to the 1st Anny." 

These ordeitj were reported by telegraph to lilainz tliat 
evening, and were connnunicated to the commander of the 
Ilnd Army, and as special information to the Ilird Corps. 

The result of these movements of the 1st Anny was, as wo 
know, an engagement on the (Jth August. That this was not 
contemplated by General v. IStcinmetz hardly requires any 
explanation. Tlio foregoing order merely regulatetl tlie areas 
to be oeenpied in th(i positionH, and drew tlie lines of demarca- 
tion between tlie Corps now in cloiic contact, as is the custom, 
and also pri'Stiribed the ontpost dnticK in front. The pushing 
forward of advanctMl guards towards tlie Saar M'as merely 
intended as a nioasuie of saftty against tluj enemy, who was 
natiu'ally supposed to be in considerable strength behind the 

But iMdi'pc-ndcnlly <»f thi«, it was unmistakable that there 
was a considLrablo diflVrcnee in the opinions and in the first 
intentions prevailing at the royal liead-(puirters and at the head- 
quartei'fi of the Lst Anny re.spi'clively. The correspondenco of 


Generals v. Moltke and v. Steinmctz, subsequent to the 3rcl 
Au&^ist, gives the following particulars of the leading ideas on 
both sides. 

The 1st Army was assembled before either of the other two. 
It was nearest to the enemy, and formed an ofTonsive flank for 
the Ilnd Anny, at all events until the latter arrived on the 
same front with it. (jonoral v. Steinmotz thoreforo endeavoured 
from the commencement to draw the enemy's forces upon him- 
self just as he had done with success at the l)ogiiiniiig of the 
campaign of 18(56. It is evident that he had this object lu 
view when he contemplated a forward blow from the line 
Saarlouis-Hcllenhausen, on btnng informed of the movement of 
the French main force iu a south-easterly direction after the 
combat at S«iarbrUcken. When the position at Tholoy was 
suljsequently taken up in virtue of superior orders, and troops 
of the Unci Army already extended westward beyond the 
quartet's of the Ist Army, General v. Steinmotz had cause for 
apprehension that any longer delay on his part in the 
Hundsriick might throw him completely into second line in the 
event of the Coi^ps of Priiuie Frederick (yharles reaching the 
frontier before him. The General started with tlu^ supposition 
that the Ilnd Annv, while retaining its present direction of 
march, was intended to operate against Nancy. In this case 
there was still a field of operations for the Ist Army s(mth of 
the Moselle fin-tresses, upon which gi-eater scope for independent 
action presented itself to the connnander-in-chief. But up to 
this time General v, Steinmetz had only received delaying or 
hampering instructions from the royal head-quarters. He tliere- 
fore wished to have m(n*o comi)rehonsive directions* extcniding 
over a longer period, during which \w ronld preserve llie de- 
sired freedc nn for his own resolutions. 

On the other hand, the opinion was held at the royal head- 

Saarteitj that neither the Ilnd, nuu^i less the wc^aker 1st Army, 
lould be exposed singly to a colliKion with the French main 

• Contrary to expectation, the enemy had liitherto remained 
inactive, but it was always possible th*at the Ilnd Army, if 
attacked on emerging from the Avooded zone of the Palatinate, 
might stand in need of support. But as the advance of the 
main German Army coidd not be hastened more than it had 
been, the only wav in which such an eventuality could be met, 
was by drawing the Ist Army nearer to the Ilnd, in such wise 
that during the gi-adual advance of the latter, whether at 
Baumholdcr, or later on at St. Wendel, iho former might give it 
a hand. But this obviously would not be possible if tlie Ist 
Army advanced dose to or ov(;r the Saar. It eonsequentl}" 
appeared essential to halt it foj* a time at Tholey. 

As a matter of fact, the Ilnd Army reacln^d the line Neun- 

* Directions (Direviiven)^ nrc com iiniiiicat ions from a higher to an inferior 
oflScial, which are not so much put forth as definite orders for liis iomicdiatc line of 
action, but rather as leading ideas. Thcj thus serro as a guide in the othe]*wiso 
independent formation of t)io resolutions. 


kirchcii-Zwcibrikkuii on the (Jtii August, but the complete con- 
centration could not take place at that point before the 7th. It 
was then intended to give it a day's rest on the 8th after the ex- 
treniely fatiguing inarch over the mountainH, eo that the frontier 
might be croased by both Armies simultaneously on the 9th. A 
continuation of the march of the llnd Army upon Nancy formed 
no part of the plan at the royal head-quart on* ; this line of 
operation wfis from the first intended for the Ilird Ai-my. 

It Wii.s expected at the royal heud-ciuarters that the Fi'cnch 
army would bo found, if not earlier, at any rate in pobition 
behuid the Alosello with its llanlcn resting on Diedenhofen and 
Metz. In this event the 1st Anny was to engage the cnemv 
in front, while the Ilnd was to attaek him dircetlv in flank 
from the southward. During the wheel of one-eighth of a 
circle to the right, which this operation rendered necessary, the 
1st Army having the shortest line to traveree formed the pivot ; 
it ought to leave the roads by which the right wing of the Ilnd 
Armv marched perfectly free. 

As oveiy day might usher in some gi'cat deciHive result, the 
royal head-quai-ters tliought that it could not give any direc- 
tions cxtendmg beyond the immediate events. It Avas, mtlier^ 
considered pennissiblo and necessary on this and subsequent 
critical occasions to control the movements of the large units 
by definite ordeiti from the royal head-quarters, hoM'ever nmch 
that arrangement might provisionally limit the independence of 
the commanders of aimiea 

Especial stress must therefore bo laid upon the i'aet tliat 
when General v. Steinmetz issued orders on tlie ev<.*ning of the 
5th for a forward movement to the Saar he was not cognisant 
of those future plans of the royal head-qua rtei*H, because they 
were liable to be niodificid by the coui-se of events. They only 
became known to him after the buttle of JSpicheren had become 
an accomplished fact, which had then to be brought into the 
calculation for our future line of action. 

2, The Second A nmf. 

On the 29th July the Ilnd Army had received orders to 
advance to the line Alsenz-Oollheim-Orllnstadt.* 

From that position the eastern issues of the llaardt moun- 
tains, which the enemy must trav(»v80 in his advance, were 
commanded; the cantonments in rear, which were the points of 
assembly lor those parts of tlm army still in process of trans- 
port, W( ro at the same time protected. In accordance with a 
special onler, the 5th and (ith Cavalry Divisions were to push 
foi*ward to tiio frontier' without delay, toUowod by a Division 
of infantry from each wing of the anny, 

1'ho following, therefore, were the positions of the Ilnd 
Anny on the lot August : — 

On tlie right, the Ilird Army Cojps at WBUsteiu, with the 5th 
Infantry Division at JleiseiJieim ; ou the left the IVth Army 

• Vide p. 70. 


Corps in the country west of Griiiistadt and Durklicim, with tho 
8th Infantry Division at KaiBcrBlautern. 

In rear of the centre of this foremost line came the IXtli 
Coi'ps in its old position at Oppenheim and Worms, also intended 
to move np into the first line. Behind the right Aving was the 
Xth Coi-ps engaged in disemharking at Bingcn ; its foremost 
troops (IJJth Division) wore at Kreiiznach. In rear of the left 
wing was tho Guard Corps, westward of Mannheim ; its trans- 
port by rail was as yet incomplete. Between the IXth and Xth 
came tho Xllth (Koyal Saxon) Army Corps ; it had reached the 
neighbourhood of Nieder-Olm and Ingellieim, on the left bank 
of the Rhine, and was complete. 

The head-quarters of the Ilnd Army remained at Alzey on 
the Ist of August. 

Li front of the IlIrd and IVth Army Coi-ps, the licht wing 
of tho 5th CavaliT Division, Redern's and Barby's brigades, 
extended to Reichenbaoh and Baumholder; the left wing, 
Bredow's brigade, to Kaiserslautern. The 13th Dragoons, 
detached from the latter brigade to keep up communication 
with the IlIrd Army, reached Annweiler. The 6th Cavalry 
Division, pushing forward between Barbj-'s and Bredow's 
brigades, arrived at Altenglan. 

We are already acquainted with the reasons which led to the 
temporary suspension of the transport by rail at the Rhine, and 
also that the subsequent prospect of an unmolested advance of 
the anny enabled us to move the point of disemlxirkation 
further fonvard on the other bank. In the night of 31st July- 
Ist August instnictions were received by the commander of the 
Ilnd Army, from the royal head-quarters, to the effect that the 
disembarkation of troops was on and after the 2nd Augtist to 
take place at Birkenfekt and Kaiserslautern. 

Both points lay in advance of the front at that time. They 
were already protected in some measure by the cavalry and tho 
position of the Ist Army, l)ut in order to ensure their complete 
safety, the (commander of the Ilnd Army decided to push 
forward the llird Army Corps to Baumholder and the IV th to 
Kaiserslautern. Both coips received orders on the 1st August 
to reach the specified places with tlieir main forces on the 3rd. 
On aiTival one of their first duties was to provide temporary 
quarters for the detachments of the Xth and Guard Corps, 
which were shortly expected. 

The IXth Amiy Coi-ps had received orders to follow into the 
lino Alsenz-Diirkheim ; the remainder were to extend their 
quai-ters westward so as to gain space for the Vlth and Ist 
Corps. No altemtions were made in the fiuictions of tlio two 
Cavahy Divisions. 

On the evening of the 2nd August tho positions were as 
follows : the IlIrd Army Coi-ps at IMesenheim, "with the 5th 
Division as far as Offenbach ; the IVth Amiy Corps between 
Griinstadt and Kaiserslautern, the whole of the 8th Division 
being at the latter place. The IXth Anny Corps reached the 
ueignbourhood east of Kircliheimbolanden. The Ath and Guard 


(yorps still continued iu ninch the Hamo poBitious at Krciiznach 
and Mannheim; the cavalry of the Guard commenced dis- 
embarking at Kaiscralautern. The Xllth Army Corps advanced 
as far as Worretadt. 

Tlie two Cavalry Divisions moved hito the line Tholey-St. 
Wendel-Schoenenbcrg-MUhlbach. In front they were in com- 
munication with tlie 5th Dragoons at Einod and Bliescastel, on 
the right with the Vlllth Army Corps of the 1st Army. 

The 13th Dragoons were at Piiinasens in immediate contact 
with the Ilird Army. 

The hcad-quartere of the Ilnd Army, which remained at Alzey 
on the 2iid, r(ip(»rt(.'d to Mainz llie onlers respecting the pro- 
tection of the new points of disenjbiirkation. In consequence 
of this further directions* were sent from the royal head-quartei-s 
the same evening to the effect that in the event of the enemy 
haviiuj ah-eady advanced by Saarbrik'ken and Saargemiind, tlie 
Ilird Army Corps was to remain in its present quarters, and 
that the IVth was not to advance beyond Kaiserslautern. If, 
on the other hand, the enemy made no attempt to push forward, 
then tlie intended position of the Ilird Corps at Baumholder, on 
the 3rd August, was to hold good ; in this case the principal 

Eart of the IVth Corps was also to be moved forward as far as 
landstuhl. No further advance beyond the line Baumholder- 
Landstuhl was to tiike place until the remaining corps had 
closed up to within half a day's march. The Ilnd Army was at 
the same time charged with making such arrangements that 
the 1st Corps, on its reaching Birkenfeld and Kaiserslautern, 
might bo conooutrated at an early date towards the right 

From reports received at Alzoy \ip to the 2iul August it 
was evident that of late the outposts on both sides had bee& in 
lively proximity t(j one another. There were no apparent 
indications of a definite advance on the enemy's part ; at the 
same time nothing was as yet known of the attack upon Siwir- 
brilcken. In conformity with the instnictions from llamz, oi*ders 
were issued, under these circumstances, for the Ilird Corps to 
continue its march to Baumholder on the 8rd August, and for 
the principal part of the IVtli to advance as far as Landstuhl on 
the 4th, at which points both corps were then to remain until 
the main body of the army could come up. 

Accordingly, the following pofiitions were taken un on the 
8rd August: In fir^t line, tlie Titli Infantry Division at Konken ; 
behind it, tlic (Hh at Biiumlu)lder ; the 8th at Bruchmlihlbach ; 
the 7th at Kaiserslautern. The head-quarters of the Ilird and 
IVth Army Corps were at liaumholder and Kaiserslautern. In 
second line came the Xth Army Coips to the south of and 
beyond Kreuznach as far as Furfeld ; the Xllth advanced as far 
as Alzey ; the IXth had extended its cantonments from Ku'ch- 
heimboLanden to the left as far as Griinstadt ; the infantry of the 

* Vide foot notCi p. 105. 


Onard were in the neiglihourhood of Diirkheini ; the cavahy of 
the Guard and the corps artillery to the north of Kaiserslaiitem, 

The 5th and 6th Cavalry DiviBions drew near to the Saar 
and Blies this day and Bent forward parties towards both rivers. 
On the right Redern's and Darby's Brigades took up positions 
at Eiweilcr and Guichcnbach in front of the riglit wing of the 
1st Army. On the left IhTdow's Hrigade reached llomburg, 
and sent forwai'd detachments to Einod and Blicscastcl. The 
13th Dragoons, which had been detached to PirinaRcns, remained 
at that place. The Gth Cavalry Division during its advance 
gained intelligence of the events of the preceding day at Saar- 
brlicken ; in consequence thereof it at once halted at Klein 
Ottweiler, between llomburg and Neunkirchen, and sent 
forward four squadrons along different rocads leading to the 
frontier to accpiiro information as to the enemy's intentions. 

The lioad-quarter staff move<l to Kircliheimbolandcn on the 
morning of the 3rd, shortly after the first reports of the fight at 
Saarbriicken were received. 

A telegram dated in the evening of the 2nd August from the 
royal hcad-cpiarters referred to the intelligence of the enemy's 
advance at Saarbriicken and Saargemiind, and at the same 
time communicated the concentration that day of the Ilird 
Army in bivouacs to the north of the Klingbach. 

A reply was sent that in the event of the news behig con- 
fumed Pi'ince Frederick Clunles proposed a concentration of the 
Ilnd Army on this side of the mountains. 

During the 3rd August, however, it became evident that 
the French attack on Saarbriicken was not followed up. 
General v. llheinbaben also sent in a report from the left flaiik 
of the Cavalry Divisions that " a detichmcnt of the eiunny, 
** consisting of all arms, had in the afternoon of the 2nd August 
** advanced as far as Rubenheim (five or six miles south of 
" Bliescastel), and kept up an effective fire upon detachments of 
" the 5th Dragoons, but had again retired in the evening over 
" the frontier.*'* Both of these enterprises on the part of the 
enemy bore the outward appearance of mere reconnaissjinces. 
This view was confirmed uy the reports which the head- 
quarter st^ff received in the course of the following day from 
tlie Gth Cavalry Division. 

A squadron of the fith Cuirassiers, belonging to that 
Division, under Captain Count Monts, had advanced towards 
St. Johann. That officer gathered that the enemy had been 
seen at Saarbriicken, but had not actually occupied the ]:)lace. 
Another squadron of the 3rd Lancci's, under Captain Bothe, 
also moved via Brebach upon St. Johann, and by its appear- 
ance caused the enemy to get under arms. In the course of 
the day a division of the squadron, under Lieut. Lange, forced 
its way into St. Johann and brought away under the enemy's 

* These were obTiouslj the troopSi ^liicli, in the forenoon of the 2nd, were 
reported to SaarbrQcken as harine broken up from Snargcmund, and which Iind not 
ag^in been seen m the course of the day. Compare ** Combat at Saarbruckcn/' 


fire seven French infantry Bolilierci as prisoners. Lastly, on the 
left flank Captain v. Grimm's squadron of the 3rd Hussars and 
Oaptain v. Kosenberg's of the 15th Lancers moved in the 
direction of the lower Blies, and wei-e not fired upon until they 
came to the callages of Bliesbolgen, Habkirchen, and Frauen- 
berg, some 4 miles this side of Saargomiind. 

On the whole wc might conclude that there was a consider- 
able French fcn*ce on the Saar and Blies, but that the entire 
intervening country as far as those rivers was clear of the 
enemy, and that tlioro was no sign as yet of his undertaking 
more koiious oflbnsivc movemcntH. Tliis conviction was also 
expressed in tlio following- toli^gnim received in the afternoon 
of Ihc ih'd from Iho royal liead-(|uartci'H : — 

** Wavering advance of the French leads us to anticipate 
that the ITml Army can he deployed on the iUh in>stnnt in advance 
of the belt of forest at Kaisei'slauiern,** 

"Ist Army is dra^vn forward to-morrow upon Tholey, 
Both Annies should aim at a joint co-operation in battle." 

" If rapid advance of the enemy cannot be checked, con- 
centration of the Ilnd Army behind the Lauter, the 1st 
Army upon Baumholder." 

" Ilird Army crosses the frontier to-moirow at Weissen- 

**-! tjeneral ojfemice is projyosed.^** 

'Die combatant forces proper and the principal j^art of the 
trains of the Ilnd Army were comi)letely assembled on the 
theatre of Avar by the 3rd August. The Illrd, IVth, Xth, and 
Guard Corps were still deficient of their second line'* of hainf 
and waggon parks, which, OAnng to changes in the railway 
transport arrangements, were only to be disembarked further 
to the rear at ^losbach during the next few days, and were to 
follow the army by degrees. Until their arrival the troops 
were directed to obtain waggons by requisition as a provisional 
measm-e. From the 4th August, however, the Ilnd Army was 
completely ready to commence operations. 

As the general offensive movement, which the royal head- 
quaiiers had from the outset contemplated, was now about to 
commence, and to that end more particularly the deplojnuent 
of the Ilnd Army *' in advance of the belt of forest at Kaisera- 
lautern " was awaited, the chief matter now was the advance 
and concentration of this army. Should the enemy, mean- 
while, make a forward movement from the Saar, he mtist be 
held in check in the mountain passes by small detachments until 
the two leading army coi'ps could take up a suitable position. 

It was known that the right flank of such a movement was 
directly protected by the Ist Army, whilst the Ilird Army con- 
centrated behind the Klingbach, was to assume the offensive 

* Similar telegraphic instructions xvcrc, as wo liaTO seen, scut at tho same timo 
to tho let Anny. 

t Tlio second line of trains (streife stajfet) consist of tho remainder of tho 
proTision colnmni, flelil ho9])italSf field bokery and ammunition columns which are 
not immediately required >vith the troops. — Tb. 


on the 4th August. There appeared, therefore, no cause for 
apprehension in continuing our advance through the Haardt. 

As a matter of fact, tuo troops had aheady evinced p*eat 
marching powers; thus the 5th Infantry Division, under a 
glaring sun and over unfavourable ground, had made marches 
of over 14 miles on four consecutive days. The situation also 
of the main army had been at first somewhat embarrassing, as 
the wjiolc force was compelled to pass through the mountains, 
and several of its army corps wore limited to a singlii road. 
Moreover, the quartering of the Ist Army Corps had to bo 
thought of, while at the same time the close contact commencing 
'W'lth the Ist Army began to bo M{, 

Taking these matters into consideration, the commander of 
the Ilnd army made his further dispositions. The orders issued 
on the 2nd August to the Ilird and I Vth Corps wore still to hold 
good. In accordance with these, the latter was to reach Land- 
stuhl, the 8th Division pushing on beyond that place ; the former 
was to remain in general about Baumholder, the 5th Di^^sion 
being scMit on as far as was necessary for the suppm't of the 
cavalry. For all the other coips one march forward was ordered. 
In conformity ^with these orders the following were tho 
positio?)S on the 4th August: The two Divisions of the infantiT 
of the Gtiard reached Frankenstein and Ramsen on the roacfs 
from Diirkheim and Oriinstadt to Kaiserslautern. Tho IX th 
Anny Corps touched it on the right at Miiuchweiler and Koeken- 
hausen, while further on was the Xth at LautcrcckiMi and 
Meisenheim. The Xllth Army Corps advanced to tlie neigh- 
bom-hood of Gollheim. 

In first line the lYth Army C'orns moved Ixij'ond Landstulil, 
with its 7th Divi8i(m as far as Miililbach and tho 8th as far as 
Konigsbruchhof. An advanced guard of the latter Division 
occupied Homburg. The gcnoral commanding the IlIrd Corps 
now deemed it advisable to advance in stronger force into the 
same front with tho neighbouring Corps, so as to be nearer at 
hand for giving aid to the advanced Cavalry Divisions. Ho 
therefore, on the 4tli August, ordered the 5th Infantry Division 
to move its 9th Brigade to Neunkirclien and the 10th Brigade to 
Waldmohr. Further to the north at Cusel was the Gth Infantry 
Division. The head-quarters of the Ilird Army Corps wore 
removed to St. Wendel ; the hoad-(iuaii;or8 of the Ilnd Army to 
Winnweiler, half way between Kircheimbolandon and Kaisers- 

Both Cavalry Divisitms, the fith more particularly from its 
position at Klein Ottweilc i\ had boon ordered to move f(»rward 
their main bodies. In accordance therewith the latter Division 
took up a position with its two brigades at Rohrbach and Neu- 
haiisel, eastward of St. Ingbert. On theii* left Ihedow's brigade 
of the 5th Cavalry Division was at Zweibriickon ; the 5th Dra- 
goons wore attached to it as a temporary measure.* On the 

* This regiment remiMned attached to tho brigade uiittl the 11th August, after 
which date it joined the Ilird Armj, to which it properly belonged. 


right Barby's and Kcdeni's brigades still remained in the iieii^h- 
bourhood of Hcusweilcr ; the 11th and 17th HussatB l)elonging 
to the latter brigade were pushed forward towards Volklingen 
and Saarbriickcn. The line of cavalnr outposts ran from Hilscli- 
bach past Dudweiler, Enshcini, Bel)eljsheim to Neu-Hombach on 
the frontier south of Zwcibriicken. The 13th Dingoons were 
still at Pirmasens, making daily reconnaissHnces in the direction 
of Bitsch,* in which they were joined by small detachments of 
Bavarian riflemen transported on waggons. 

From this position the cavalry now commenced further 
entei-prises. In conformity with instructions received from 
General v. Bredow, the frontier between Suargemund and 
Pirmasens was crosdcd by five dcUichmcntH, each consisting of 
several squadrons, s(mic of which penetmted eight or nine mile« 
into French temtory. Wherever the enemy was met with, he 
retired, 8ueh wiis the case at Bliesbriickcn and Schwoigcn ; 
nay, even at Ilnspelscheidt and Breidunbach, close to Bitsch. 
The 13th Dragoons asceitained the presence of a large hostile 
camp at this place. Wo now had certain intelligence of the 
enemy's presence between Suargemihid and Bitsch, in addition 
to the information which we had gathered from previous 
repoi-ts as to his camps and positions l>ehind the Saar oetween 
Saarbriickcn and Saargsmilnd. Some small reconnaissances 
made from the outposts by the rtth Cavalry Division on the 4th 
August showed that no essential change had taken place in the 
position of affairs on the Saar. Caj)tain v. Knoolauch, 6th 
Cuirassiers, found St. Johann unoccupied, but was fired upon . 
from the bridge leading to Saarbriickcn. 

On the extreme right flank, Genei-al v. Redeni sent forward 
detachments via Volknngen to Ludweiler. There was no show 
of resistance in this direction, and Captain v. KnobelsdorfT, 1 1th 
Hussars, succeeded in penetrating impcrceived through Rosseln, 
as fiir as Emmersweiler, where he found himself almost in rear 
of the enemy's position. From his point of ol^ei-vation he 
descried the enemy's infantry and baggage on the march to 
Rosbrlick, and also leanit that since 9 a.m. troops had been 
retuing in this direction. The reconnaissance therefore infonned 
us that the left fljuik of the French position behind the Saar 
only extended as far as Smirbrucken. These observations made 
at Emmersweiler appear further to have fii-st originated the 
opinion, which rapully gained ground, that the enemy was 
retuing, and that there would be no combat on the Saar. The 
French cavalry continued, in fact, without enterprise, and made 
no attempt to move beyond the myon of their own positions. 
The movements towards Rosbrlick, which had been obsen-ed, 
pointed, however, merely to slight changes within the position 
of Frossard's Corps. 

This much, however, was gathered from the reports which 
reached the head-quarters in Kirchcinibolanden up to the 4th 
August, that an attack on the part of the enemy oecame more 

* Pinnusciiii to BitMrh — 15 miles appros. — Tb. 


and more improbable eveiy day. At the same time the pros- 
pect increasea of carrying out our own plans nnthwarted. 
buch being the case the first consideration was how to bring 
the llnd Ai*my as quickly as possible through the mountainous 
country so unfavourable to its deployment. But this being 
accomplished, it appeared most in accord with the leading idea 
of the royal head-quarters to remain in an attitude of expecta- 
tion, and to hold fast the French Army on the Saar until the 
advance of the Ilird Army could produce its effect. In tlio 
event of a decisive battle on the French frontier, the 1st and 
Ilnd Armies would thus attack in front, while the Ilird would 
probably come up and attack in flank from the direction of the 
Upper Saar. 

These considerations formed the basis of the army order of AoDendix 
the 4th August, in which the head-quarter staff ordered the"^^^* 
further advance and deployment into fine of the Ilnd Army in 
the course of the next few days. On the completion of the 
movement the following were to be the positions on the 7th 
August : 

Ilird Army Corps, Neunkirchen, advanced guard Sulzbacli. 
Xth Aiiny Corps, Bexbach, advanced guard St. Ingbert. 
Guard Corps, Homburg. 

IVth Army Corps, Zweibriicken, advanced guard Neu- 
In rear : 

IX th Army Corps with its head at Waldmohr. 
Xllth Army Coi-ps with its head at Muhlbach. 

The intention was therefore to deploy the army on its issue 
from the mountain defiles on such a breadth of front that it 
would be available either for a further advance, or for battle. 
In this contemplated vast position of readiness there would be 
in first line an army corps on each of the four roads leading 
from the line Neuntarchen-Zweibriicken to the Saar and Blies. 
Tlie IXth and Xllth Aimy Corps were to form the genei-al 
reserve in rear, and the two Cavalry Divisions thrown out in 
front of the Army were to veil our own movements and 
reconnoitre those of the enemy. The army order at the same 
time did not lose sight of the imavoidable difiiculties caused bv 
several army corps (the IVth, Guard, IXth and Xllth) with all 
their trains moving firom Kaiserslautem through the same defile 
some 23 miles long. It was therefore ordered that the second 
Knea of trains* and the heavy baggage were to remain behind 
for the present, and on the 7th August were to pass the town 
of Kaiserslautem by coi-ps in the order named. The communi- 
cation of this army order to the royal head-guartera at Mainz 
crossed Avith a dispatch from thence, fi'om which it was evident 
that the orders which had been issued were in accordance with 
His Majesty's views. 

Meanwhile the Ist Army had completed its movement upon 
Tholey, but in doing so its quartera extended across the road 

• Tide note to p. 110. 


St. Wendel-Neunkiichen which formed the luie of march of the 
right wing of the Ilnd Army. This led to a diBcnaaion between 
the two commanders, one of whom considered the marches of 
his troops intertercd with, and the other did not beUeve him* 
self justified in making any change without the consent of 
higher authority, when once the position was taken up. The 
question at issue was settled, as has been ahready mentioned, by 
tne royal head-quarters. 

In other respects the movements contemplated in the army 
order were duly carried out on the 5th August. 

The Illrd Army Corps concentrated as follows: — The whole 
of the 5th Infantry Division at Neunkirchen ; the 6th, with the 
head-quarters of the Coips, at St. Wendel. The IVth Army 
Coi-ps threw forward the 8th Division to Zweibriicken; the 
head-quarters and the 7th Division moved to Homburg. In 
second line the Divisions of the Xth Anny Corps reached the 
neighbourhood of Cusel and Altenglan. The Guard stood west- 
ward of Kaisei-slautern and extended beyond Landstuhl. In 
third lino the IXth Army Corps was at Otterberg; the Xllth at 
Miinchweiler and Enkenbach. The head-quarters of the Army 
were transfei-red to Kaiserslautem. 

The Cavaliy DivihionH remained in their old positions and 
continued their raidH on the 5th August. On the rigiit bank 
Major V. (uirnicr, llth Hussars, made a fresh reconnaissance by 
Voiklingeu and Ludweiler towards Forbach. He alaimed a 
hostile camp ; ho also observed French troops moving partly by 
road and pai-tly by rail towards St. Avoid, and believed that he 
saw divers other indications of a diminution of the enemy's 
forces. The Brunswick Hussars which were pushed forward on 
the Lebach-Saarbrucken road also remarked a decrease in the 
camp on the other side of Saarbriicken. Lieutenant v. Konig 
with two men rode into the town and under the enemy's fire 
brought oiF two men as prisonei's. In corroboration of these 
observations other private infoimation pointed to rearward 
movements of the enemy, to which the burning of the Saar* 
brucken railway stiition was probably the prelude. General v. 
Rheinbaben communicated a summary of the observations made 
by his Division to the head-quarters staff of the Army. 

Reports were sent in from the 6th Cavalry Division that the 
village of Ilabkirchen on the Blies, hitherto never left un- 
occupied by the enemy, was evacuated ; that the camp at St* 
Amual was desci-ted, and that the other camps on the Saar and 
Blies were also breaking up. It was said that there was con* 
siderable traffic upon the line of railway between Saargemiind 
and Bitsch ; it was thereupon b]X)ken up in several places on the 
following night by the German cavalry. 

All these reports strengthened the view held at the head- 
(piartei*s of the Ilnd Anny, that the enemy was making a move- 
ment to the rear. Thev were expressed in the following 
telegram to the royal head-quarters : — 


** According to reporto fi*om the cavab'y the enemy is 
breaking up his camp on the Saar and Blies and is in retreat. 
Habkirchen no longer occupied. Cavahy will follow up 
closely towards Bitsch and Rohrbach." 

It was considered^ however, that the situation of affaii-s was 
not yet sufficiently clear, and the existing orders were to be valid 
for the Qtli Auatist. 

Accordingly the following were the positions to be taken up 
on this day — 

nird Army Corps : Neunkii'cheji, an advanced guard pushed 

forward towards SaarbrUcken. 
I V th Army Corps : Zweibi*ucken, advanced guard at Neu* 

Xth Anny Corps : Waldmohr. 
Guard Coips : Uomburg. 
IXth Army Corps : Landstuhl. 
Xllth Army Corps : Kaiserslautem. 

A telegram had been received from the Ist Army that its 
two foremost army corps would amve at Fischbach and 
Quichenbach on the 6th August, consequently that they would 
also be still about seven miles on this side of the Saar. The 
victory gained by the Illrd Army at Weissenburg was kuown, 
and we nad also a communication from tliat army as to its 
farther plans. 

In the evening a telegi*am from the royal head-quarters 
reached Kaiserslautem, containing the instructions, already 
adverted to, for a forward raid by a large body of cavalry upon 
the Saargemund- Bitsch railway. In accorcmnce with thesQ 
orders both Cavalry Divisions were directed to remain in close 
proximity with the enemy on the night of the 5th- 6th, to 
capture prisoners, and to report frequently as to the probably 
direction of the French retreat. They were more especially to 
be on the alert in the direction of Rohrbach. 

Having thus pointed out the prevailing views and measures 
for the following day, we will now leave the two German 
armies, moving towai'ds the Saai*, in then* positions on the 
evening of the 5th August.* In order to throw light upoa 
subsequent events, it should be noticed that both commanders of 
Armies had ordered an ailvanced guard to push forward towards 
SaarbrUcken on the 6th August, that moreover tlie opinion of d 
retreat of Hie enemy* s armv having commenced had taken firm hold^ 
and that it received further confirmation on the morning of the 
6ih August. We must now therefore bring up the events on 
the theatre of war in Alsace. 

8. The Third Army. 

Towards the end of the month of July the Ilird Army waf 
«t]ll engaged in its deployment ; this, however, was now nearly 

• Tid« Skoleh Ut 



completed. The number of troops pushed foi*ward to the left 
bank of the Rhine by the 1st August was very insignificant. 
Hie lifle battalion and a squadi'on of the Vth Army Corps 
were despatched at the suggestion of the Bavarian Greneral, 
Count Bothmer, to Wilgartsweisen and Hinter-Weidenthal, for 
the purpose of supporting the Bavarian detachments in the 
moimtains. On the right bank of the Rhine, the Baden 
Division was closely cantoned between Carlsnihe and the river, 
being protected on the south by Rastatt. The ganisou of this 
fortress watched the river between the mouths of the Lauter 
and Murg. Two squadrons left at Oos and Sandweier recon- 
noiterod towards Kehl. The Baden detachment at Hagcnlmch, 
on tlio left bank of the Rhino,* was relieved by the advanced 
guard of the Xlth Army Corps, and was then bi-ought up to 

Minor enterprises were earned out from both -wings of the 
line of outposts on the Franco-Palatinate frontier. The village 
of Scheibenhardt, lying to the west of Lauterburg, was oc- 
cupied by a detachment of infantiy ; subsequently half of the 
2na sauadrou of the 14th Ilussais crossed the lower Lauter. 
This latter force came across an advanced picquet of the 
enemy's cavaliy in the neighbomhood of SeJz, but finding 
itself threatened in flank by other troops, it subsequently Avith- 
di'cw skirmishing. The intelligence had, however, been gained 
of thu presonco of two hostile squadrons at Solz. On the other 
wing u baud of some 50 horsemen made a bold raid into French 
teiTitory over the mountains; half of them were Bavarian 
Chevauxlegers under Major v. Egloffstein, the other half were 
Prussian Hussarsf under Major v. Parry. Through tlic naiTow 
mountain defiles they ascended the heights southward of 
Eppenbninn, and struck the main road from Bitsch to Weissen- 
burg in the neighbourhood of Stiirzelbronn. Hei'e they came 
across some French infantry, who fled to the hills on their 
approach. The German horsemen continued on their way at a 
ffallop, encountering a biisk musketry fire fi'om both sides of 
flie road, and dashed to the other side of Sturzelbronn, whence 
they returned homewards by another mountain path. Only a 
few hornes were wounded. 

The head-quarter staff of the llird Army learnt from other 
sources that the railway south of Weisseiiburg had been made 
impassable by the French, and that they were also prepaiin^ 
emplacements for guns and rifie trenches at Ober-Steinbach and 
Lembach (westward of Weissenburg). Extensive entrench- 
ments were also reported at Strassburg and Breisach. The 
impression conveyed by all these proceedings and reports on 
the 1st Aug\ist was that the enemy, feeliug his own unreadiness 
and how mueh ho luid been <)utstripi>ed by the German prepara- 
tions, had renounced all idefis of the oflenHive, and now 
intended to receive battle behind the Saar. 

• Vido p. 64. 

t Part of tho 12th Hiii»an belonging to tho 8rh Infant rr DiTlilon, the Snd 
iquadron of wliioh wat at thmt time puthod forward towards PlrmaMiit. 


This view of the state of afTairs was altered, in soino 
respects, on the 2nd August. Scarcely any change, indeed, hfiid 
taken place in the situation on the lower Lanter. A squadron 
accompanied by a division (Zug) of infantry, transpoi-ted on 
waggons, had again been sent foi-ward from the advanced guai*d 
of tlie Xlth Army Coips towards Selz, where they on this day 
came across considerable bodies of French infantiy and cavalrj^ 
The small Prussian detachment, however, effected its retreat 
immolested. French Lancers were observed at Ober-»Scel>ach. 
AVeissenburg on the mornhig of the 2ud August wns found 
unoccupied, the gates alone were closed ; the line of telegraph 
between Weissenburg nnd Lauterburg was destroyed by tlio 
enemy. On the other hand the oiitponU in the mountmns reported 
the advance of the memyn vatroU through Hobenthal and Noith- 
weiler towards Vorder- Weidenthal ; lastly, a telegram was 
received from Pirmasens that sUvng bodies of French trere on Hie 
march from BiUch to Pirmasetie. In consequence of this, (leneral 
Count Bothmer despatched reinforcements to Dahn ; the 5th 
Prussian Rifle Battalion, which had just arrived at Wilgarts- 
weisen and Hinteiv Weidenthal, was concentrated at the last- 
named village. Towards noon the enemy again retired ; Ids 
movement at Bitsch was pronounced to be merely a change in 
position of the troops along the frontier. The reinforcements 
despatched to the hills could again be withdrawn. 

Although no especial importance was therefore attached on 
the 2nd Aumst to these proceedings, vet they became more 
simificant when the news arrived on tho following day from 
)£iinz that the enemy had occupied Saarbriicken and crossed 
the frontier at Saargemiind. Ihe possibility of an offensive 
movement on the part of the French against the centre of the 
position of the German Armies again presented itself, and was 
not lost rifjht of by tlie head-auarters staff of the Ilird Ai-my. 
A communication was received from the head-quarters of Prince 
Frederick Charles that in such aneventualitv thelind Army would 
slowly withdraw the troops pushed forward into the Haardt, and 
accept battle in a selected position at Kirchheimbolanden. 

In general, we were still uncertain as to the real state of 
affairs, for on the morning of the 3rd August the Baden cavalry 
patrols discovered the enemy still in the neighbourhood of Selz ; 
and moreover, reports were now received of the appearance of 
lar^e bodies of troops near Weissenburg. We also heard that 
civil labourers were busily engaged in throwng up entrench- 
ments at that place. 

With a view to prepaiing tho offensive movement towards 
Alsace, previously* counselled by the roval head-quarters, 
orders were sent from the head-quarters staff of the Ilird Army 
to the different Corps in the forenoon of the 2nd to the effect 
that they were at once to concentrate in bivouacs. On the arrival 

• Piige 70. 


of the tmiiiB, which were Btill deficient, a forward movement of 
the whole army was intended. The troops began to move on 
ilie same daj. 

Towards evening Lieut-Colonel v. Verdy, who had been 
despatched from Mamz to attend a verbal conference upon the 
militaiy Bituatioti, airivcd at the nnny hend-quartors at Speyer* 
The opinion was held, as we know, at the royal head-quarters, 
that, with a view to the subBcquent co-operation of the entire 
Gerninn forces against the lino of the Saar, the army on the left 
flank should bo at once set in motion. 

In consequence of this, the Ch'OA^ai Prince resolved not to 
await the arrival of the trains, but to cross the frontier as early 
as the 4th August. This resolution was reported to Mainz 
during the niglit. 

The anny reached the following position on the 3rd August: 
On the Landau-Weissenburg road, pushed forward to Berg- 
zabem, was Bothmer's Division of the Ilnd Bavarian Corps. 
About two miles in rear were the Vth and Xlth Army Corps, 
bivoiiacked close together at BilHghcim and Uohrbach respec- 
tively ; still more to the rear at Walabeim, north of Landau, was 
the remainder of tho Ilnd Bavarian Corps ; the 1st Bavarian 
Corps was westward of Gerniemheim. The 4th Cavahy Division^ 
which was assembled as micli on the 1st August, occupied can- 
tonments round Offenbach, eastward of Landau. The Baden 
and Wdrttemborg Divisions, provisionally united into one Coi'ps 
under the command of Geniral v. Worder, formed the left flank 
of the army, which was separated from tho rest of tho position 
by tho Gruat Bionwald. Tlie Badenoi-s wore at Pfortz and 
Hagenbach, tho Wih'ttcmborgors were still on the right bank of 
the Rhine at Knielingen. Tho Divisions wore sepai-atcd by the 
bridge at Maxau, which was occupied by a battalion. 

The detachments pushed forward into the mountains from 
the right flank of the anny were in Aciy much the same posi- 
tions as heretofore ; the detachment of the Vth Anny Corps was 
alone drawn in from Hintcr-Weidenthal ; that at Anweiler was 
reduced to a battalion of the 58th Regiment and a division of 
dragoons. The 5th Bavarian Rifle Battalion and the two 
squadrons of the 5th (Jhevauxlegers were directed to eficct an 
early jiuiction with their Corps toAvards the front. The 5th 
Dragoons at Zweibrlickcn, which liad already made themselves 
well acquaintud with that neighbourhood, remained there to 
assiist in tho reconnaissanccH of the 5th Cavalry Division, 
and, a« already nicntioned, «ubscquently accompanied its 

General Douiit liol Inner pUKluid a battalion from Bergzaberu 
to Birkenhordt for the immediate protection of his flank. 
Two other battalions and two squadrons were at Ober and 
Nieder-Ottcrbach, with a chain of outposts extending from 
Sohweigon to Schaidt. At Otterbach the chahi was continued 
bj' tho outposts of the Xlth Army Corps, of which the 42nd 
IJiigadc was posted at Winden and Minfeld as advanced guards 


and afberwards by the Baden outposts from Biicbelberg to 
Nenberg on the Rhine. The Wiirttembergers were engaged in 
-watching the right bank of the Kliine. 

The combatant forces of the Ilird Army, -which were ready 
for an immediate advance, numbered on the evening of the Srd 
August, 128 battaUons, 102 squadrons and 80 batteries. Fiuther 
reinforcements were on their way by the assignment of the 
Vlth Anny Corps and the 2nd Cavahy Division. I^ut as the 
leading detachments of these troops could not arrive before the 
4th August in 'Landau, Mainz, and Bingen respectively, their 
co-operation could not be counted upon in the first engage* 

Action at Weissenburg on the 4Tn August. 

At 4 p.m. on the Srd August, the following diRpositioii was PUir 1- 
issued by the Commander-in-Chief of the Ilird Array : 

" Head-quarters, Landau, Srd Augusts 

" It is my intention to advance to-monow with the army as 
far as the Lauter, and to throw vanguards across it. 

** With this object the Bienwald will be traversed on four 
roads. The enemy is to be driven back wherever he 
is foimd. The separate columns will march afl follows: 

(1.) Bothmer s Bavarian Division will continue as advanced 
guard, move on Weissenburg, and endeavour to gain 
possession of the town. It will guard its rigiit mink 
by moving a suitable detachment vift Bollenbom to 
Bobenthal; it will break up from its bivouac at 6 a.m. 

(2.) The remainder of Hartmann s Corps, inclusive of Wal- 
ther's Division, will quit its bivouac at 4 A.m^, and 
move, avoiding Landiau, vift Impflingen and Beiig- 
zabem upon Ober-Otterbach. 

(Dhe trains of the Corps will be moved forward as 
far .as Appenhofen in the course of the forenoon. 

(3.) The 4th Cavahy Division will concentrate to the south 
of Morlheim at 6 a.m., and march vi& Insheim, Rohr- 
bach, Billigheim, Barbelroth, Capellen, as far as the 
Otterbach, 4,000 paces eastward of Ober-Otterbacli. 

(4.) The Vth Corps will start from its bivouac in Billigheim 
at 4 a.m. and march vi& Barbelroth and Nieder-Otter- 
bach to Gross -Steiuf eld and Kapsweyer. It will 
form its own advanced guard, which will cross the 
Lauter at St. Beiliy and Sie Wooghaiisem, and iplaoe 
outposts on the heights on the far side, li^ains 
remain at Billigheim. 
(5.) The Xlth (Corps will start from Rohrbach at 4 a.m., and 
move vift Steinweiler, Wmden, Schaidt, across the 
Bienwald to the Bienwald hut. It will form its own 
advanced guard, wliich will press foi*ward over the 


Lauter, and place outposts upon the heights on the 
further bank. Trains at Bohrbach. 

(6.) Werder's Corps will march along the main road to Lau- 
terburg, and endeavour to gain possession of that 
town and place outposts on the far bank. Trains at 
Hagenbach. ^ 

(7.) Von d. Taun*8 Corps will break up from its bivouac at y 
4 a.m., and move along the mam road vi& Rulzheim toV 
Langenkandel, to the westward of which village it 
will oivouac. Trains remain at Rheinzabern. Head- 
quaiicrs of the Corps at Langenkandel. 

(8.) My position in the forenoon will be on the heights 
between Kapsweycr and Schweigen, and as far as I 
can foresee, my head-quarters will be ti-ansferred to 

(Signed) Frederick William, 

Crown Prince/* 

As from reports received on tlie 3rd about the enemy there 

seemed a possibility of a serious collision as early as tiie 4th 

August, a verbal communication from the Commander-in-Chief 

accompanied the issue of the orders to the effect that in such an 

event all the columns were to afford each other mutual support. 

Tn/ptMiorj In accordance with the disposition the various columns were 

MfnmmiM to in motion on the morning of the 4th August. The rain, which 

11 %m. f^Yl during the night, had made the roads heavy with mire, 

particularly in the Bienwald, and the weather continued very 

overcast in the early morning. 

The 4th Bavarian Division, Count Bothmer, was the first to 
move off, with onl^^ 8 battalions, 4 batteries, 8^ squadrons, and 
1 company of engineers.* The outposts, consistmg of 2 bat- 
talions of the 9th Regiment, were not to be withdrawn until 
the advanced ffuard had passed their position. The flanking 
detachment, the 3rd battalion of the same regiment was 
directed to march from Vorder-Weidenthal and Birkenhordt vift 
Bollenborn, with a view to protecting the right flank of the 
Division in its advance. It was then to advance vift Geimanshof 
and Weiler upon Weissenbuvg. Two squadrons of the 5th 
CSievauxlegers and the 5th Rifle battalion, the left wing of 
which occupied Bundenthal and Bobenthal, were left behind to 
furnish the posts of observation in the mountains as far as 
Zweibriicken. Lastly, the 3rd battalion of the Ist Regiment 
was still in rear, and only reached Walsheim on the preceding 


The 3rd squadron of the 2nd Chevauxlogers, which led the 
Division, came across the first hostile outposts about 8 a.m. 
which then retired upon Woissenbur^. The gates of the town 
were closed, the ramparts and the Geissberg, which lies further 
to the south, were apparently occupied bp the enemy's infantry. 

* Tbo special order of march of all the columna if giren in Appendix YIII. 


On seeing this, the advanced guard of the Division was de- 
ployed for battle. . . . • 

Weissenburg forms the point of intensection of the roads 
from Landan, Bitsch, and Strassbnrg. Since 1867 the place has 
ceased to be a fortress, but its ramparta foiTO a continuous 
enceinte which cannot be carried by assualt; it is surrounded by 
ditches from 20 to 30 feet broad, which can bo filled with water 
to a depth of 6 feet. On tlie north front the rampart risos to a 
height of 30 feet above the bottom of tlic ditch. Tho Ila^enau 
and Landau gates are vaulted; the Bit«ch gate is a mere 
opening in the rampart. In the front of the two latter gates 
are small lunettes with crenelated walls. From both sides of 
the town extend the earthworks so well known in former wars 
as the " Weissenburg Lines." 

The Lauter, whicli flows through the town, and which in its 
immediate vicinity is not easily passable, forms in conscquenco 
an obstacle capable of a powerful defence, the strength of which 
is considerably enhanced by the commanding heights on the 
right bank. For instance, while the last spurs of the Vosgcs on 
the left bank extend only to Weissenberg, those on the right 
bank extend for more than a mile eastward of the town, and 
only terminate with the hill, so diflicult of ascent, on which tho 
Ch&teau Geissberg is situated. 

The entire locality thus presents a defensive position com- 
manding the ground to the north for a considerable distance, 
and capable of being maintained for some time wth small forces. 
A turning movement to the left is rendered difficult by tho 
mountains, to the right bv the Bienwald. 

Some days previously Marshal Le Boeuf had informed 
Marahal MacMahon of the assembly of considerable bodies of 
the enemy in the Palatinate, and requested him to concentrate 
the troops under his orders on the roads leading from Lower 
Alsace to Bitsch. 

The combatant forces at first available occupied the following 
positions on the morning of the 4th August : — 

Abel Douay's Division with Septeuirs Cavahy Brigade at 

Ducrot's Division, which had been for several days at 

Reichshofien, on the march to Lembach. 
Baoult's Division at Reichshofien. 
Head-quartera of the Corps and Lartigue's Division at 

Nansouty's Cavalry Brigade occupied Selz, on the Rhino ; 

Bonnemain's Cavalry Division and MiclicFs Cuirassier 

Brigade were in rear at Brumath. 
Conseil Dumesnil's Division of the 7th Corps was still at 


• We rannoi giither for oertain from the Fivnoh aooountt of the Action wbelher 
llie whole of Sc^teaU't Brigade was with Douay'i DiTiaion from the commencemeiit 
or whether its main bodj onlj arrired later in the cngagemcDt. 


The situation of Dotiay's Division was, in point of fact, very- 
dangerous. He had, moreover, only 8 battahona, 18 guns, and 
8 squadrons present ; the Rifle Battalion and one battalion of 
the 50th Regiment were attached to Naneouty's Cavalry Brigade 
at Selz, and the 78th Regiment was marched towards Climbach 
on the moniing of tlie 4th for the purpose of relieving the 96th 
Regiment belonging to Ducrot's Division. Consequently the 
only support, whicli mxder the most advantageous cii'cumstances 
could be reckoned upon in the course of the forenoon, was that 
of the two last named regiments ; all the other troops of the 
1st Coi'ps were a day's march or more to the rear. 

The Marshal had, it is true, placed Douay's Di\nBion under 
General Ducrot's ordere, with a view to securing unity of com- 
mand over those paiis of his Coi-ps which were nearest to the 
enemy; but on receiving the intelhgence at "Wortli, on the 
evening of the 3rd, of the advance of strong columns of the 
enemy s troops from the direction of Landau, General Ducrot 
not only ordered Douay to remain with his Division at Weissen* 
bm*g, but also to accept battle if necessaiy. 

General Douay occupied the town with a battalion of the 
74th Regiment, whilst tlie other det4ichments of his Division 
encamped on the heights lying to the south. AHenstadt, dose 
by, was left unoccupied, although the advance of the adversary 
over the Lauter at this point and below the tovm must threaten 
all the communications of the position with the south, and it 
was natural to expect that the enemy, in all probability 
advancing upon a broad front, would not fail to turn this 
circumstance to account. The immerical weakness of his Divi- 
sion may have forced Crcneral Douay to make this omission. 

At 5.30 a.m. on the 4th August, a French reconnoitring 
detachment was sent forward. It retui-ned without having dis- 
covered any sign whatever of the adveraaiy's advance. A short 
time after, as tne French ti^oops were busy, some with cooking, 
others with procuring necessaries for the bivouac, a Bavarian 
battery suddenly came into action on the hei^its south of 
Schweigen, about 8.30 a.m., and opened fire upon Weissenburg.. 

General Douay at once orderea General PelW to occupy the 
mil way station on the south-east of the town with tne Ist 
Algerian Rifle Regiment and a battery. Under cover of the 
infantiy the battery unlimbered about 200 paces in fiont of the 
building; a battalion was posted at the Hagenau gate by the 
special ordor of the commander of the Division, whilst the 
remainder of the regiment prepared the station buildings and 


When Bothiner's Division deployed into line of battle in front 
of Weissenburg, about 8.30 a.m., the advanced guard of theTth 
Prussian Coi*ps had only reached Klein-Steinfeld, the main 
body being at Obcrhausen, where it made a short halt. The 
advanced guard of the Xlth Army Corps reached the Lauter^ 


6pit^ of the bad Bhite of the roads as early as 7 o'clock. The 
bridges at tlie Bienwald mill and the Bienwald hut were found 
to be intact ; three additional bridges were foiihwith thrown 
over the river, and the roads leading to them were marked out for 
the columns. Southward of the nver some pei-sons in peasants' 
costume fired upon our troops, wounding three hussars; the 
enemy's troops were nowhere to be seen. After emerging from 
the Bienwald the advanced guard deployed, occupied Schleithal 
and sent a battalion to the heights lymg fui'ther to the south. 

Up to this time,, therefore, Bothmer's DiAnsion had alone been 
immediately opposed to the enemy. It sent forward towards 
Weissenburg tne 10th Rifle Battalion witli Bauer's batteiy. 
The latter brought his guns into action GOO paces southward of 
Schwei^en ; somewhat later Wuim's battery joined him. The 
companies of the battalion, at open intervals, got under cover 
on either side of the guns. Subsequently the 3rd battalion of 
the 5th Regiment, 'with the exception of one company retained 
for the occupation of Schweigcn, deployed on their left. 

A brisk fire now gradually arose against the hostile troops 
ported in the vineyards and on the rampaiis. 

Two French battalions were seen to advance* along the 
heights in rear of the town in a north-westerly direction, 
apparently with the intention of turning the right ilank of the 
Bavarians. In order to oppose this, General Mailliuger ordered 
a battalion from the main body of his brigade, now forming 
behind Rechteul>acli, to take up a position to the west of 
Schweigcn. As a further protection to the right flunk. General 
Count liothmer detached unotlior battalion and a half from the 
7th Brigade at Ober-Otterbach to Dorreubach and towards the 
Guttenburg, and left the two outpost coinpani(*H in their prusent 
position at llechtenbach and Schweigen. 

The remainder of this brigade, which, until the arrival of 
the 2nd Battahon of the i»th Regiment, only consisted of 2 
battalions and 2 batteries, now advanced to Rechtenbach. The 
2nd Chevauxlegers also formed up to the east of this callage, 
and souglit to keep up the communication with the Vth 
Prussian Corps on the left. 

The around was decidedly unfavourable for the twa 
Bavarian oatteries in action before Weissenburg ; the vineyards 
obstructed the view and impeded the movements. Their fire 
was directed against the ramparts, the two gates which were 
visible and the town itaelf. Some of the houses were very 
shortly in flames. Most of the projectiles from the French guns 
in front of the railway station ourst 300 paces in rear of our 
position and could therefore be disregarded ; a forward rush 
made by a skirmishing division under 1st Lieut, v. Massenbach, 

• It i» conjectured tlint tliwo were port of tlio rc^iinoiit!i irlio wore cither at 
Cliubach or moving to that place (the 78th and 96tli Kcgimeiit«), and that thcj 
were odrancuig to the scene of tlio stntgglc. At nnr rate men of lK>th regiments 
ircre among I he prisoners siibsequentlj captured by tlie Vth Army Corps. 


moreover compelled the battery to ttike up a position more to 
the rear. Ou the other hand the Bavarian artillery remained all 
the time in action within range of the French akirmishers. 

The infantry, in spite of the latter, succeeded in gaining 
some gi'ound ; another French batteiy, however, appeared on 
the heights south of the town, and bj' the effective Dursting of 
its shells ch'ew the fire of Baiim's and Wurm's batteries (m itselC 
The latter were on their side supported by Kirchhoffer's bat- 
ter}', which came into action noithward of Windhof and took 
part in the fight at a long range. 

Meanwhile the Bavarian infantry had not remained inactive, 
and had endeavoured to penetitite nito Weissenburg. Thus on 
the extreme ii^ht flank, Ist Lieut. Emmeiich with a division of 
the 4th Rifle Cbmpany liad approached close to the Bitsch gate. 
All ftirther advance had, however, to be given up as the leader 
was wounded, and half the men had fallen in the boggy 
ditch of the town. The remainder of the little band took up a 
covered position opposite the gate. 

With Kirchhoflfer's battery the 6th Rifle Battalion had also 
moved off to the left flank, and, shortly before, the Ist Bat- 
talion of the 5th Regiment had been despatched to occup}- the 
Ch&teau St. Paul. The whole of the 7th Brigade was therefore 
deployed, and the two battalions of Maillinger's Brigade, winch 
were still at disposal, formed the last reserve of the Division. 
They were moved forward to the point where the road issues 
from Schweigen on the south. 

The flanking-detachment on the i-ight reached the Lautur by 
diflicult forest tracks about 9.30 a.m., and took up a position 
westward of Germanshof. As the pati-ols despatched from 
this place found the valley of the Lauter, which was siipposed 
to be entrenched, porfeclly free, Major v. Ebner moved off about 
11 a.m. towards Weissenburg. 

The 3rd Bavarian Infantry Di\'i8ion, which had bivouacked 
9 miles in rear of the 4th, had started some 2 hours before the 
latter, but was still a considemble distance behind. When 
south of Bergzabern it received orders to advance 'without any 
delay vi& Ober-Otterbach upon Weissenburg. It was, however, 
at tliis time still four miles from the field of battle. 

Consequently Count Bothmer had to look for his immediate 
support to the Vth Pi-ussian Corps, which marched close to him 
on his left. He determined to occupy the enemy until the 
arrival of this Corps. 

The Crown Prince of Prussia had been on the heights east- 
ward of Schweigen since 9.15 a.m. On being informed of the 
situation of affairs at Weissenburg by the officers of the general 
staff sent forward to the advanced g^ard, he approved of this 
resolution. Orders were sent to the Vth and Xlth Anny Corps 
to hasten their march. About 10.30 a.m. Count Bothmer 
received the intelligence that the former was coming up. At 
the same instant the artillery of the latter Corps came into 
action further to the eastwai*d. The Bavarian Division forthwith 


took a vigorous oflTensive against the front of the enemy's 
position, Avhich was at this time seriously tlu*eatenecl in flank. 

Major-General Maillinger dashed forward with his two batta- 
lions still held in I'eserve to the east of Bchweigon. He reinforced 
the skirmishing line with three companies of the 3rd Battalion 
of the 11th Regiment, and by the skirmishing divisions of the 
3rd Battalion of the 14th Regiment, the mam body of which 
advanced in close order. 

Tliis line, now consisting of 14 companies, was joined by the 
2nd Battalion of the 9th Regiment from the direction of Windhof, 
which had moved forward from the position it had occupied on 
outpost duty upon the arrival of the Vtli Corps. 

Further in rear followed the 6th Rifle Battalion. Delayed in 
its march by vineyards and defiles, it had to avoid the line of 
fire of the Prussian ai'tillery which had just come into action. 

Herold's battery had joined Kirchhoffer's battery to the north 
of Windhof. Somewhat later both advanced 800 paces, so as 
to engage more effectively the enemy's artillery. Bauer's and 
Wunn's batteiy, which were much exposed to musketry fire, 
retired behind Schweigen. 

The Bavarian infantiy made a convergent attack upon the 
Landau gate. They drove in the Turcos who were outside the 
place, reached the countei*scai-p, got under cover there, and 
kept up a brisk fire upon the defendei's of the ramparts. Major 
Baron v. Feilitzsch, with the 11th and 12th cos. of the 5th 
Regiment, advanced twice to stoim the place. The 3rd batta- 
lion of the 14th Regiment also approached to within a few 
hundred paces of the Landau gate. The drawbridges beinff 
raised and the entrances banicadcd, all these attempts failed 
under the defendei's' heavy fire. 

But at this moment the booming of the guns of the Xlth 
Corps on the left and the deployment of the detachments of the 
Vth Corps at Altenstadt comd be clearly recognised. We will 
now follow the advance of these two portions of the army. 

The advanced guard of the Vth Army corps, on its arrival 
at Klcin-Steinfeld at 8.30 a.m., was formed into two columns. 
That on the left, under Colonel v. Bothmer, consisting of the 
59th Regiment, the 4th co. of the 5th Rifle Battalion, and 
Haupt's 2nd Light Battery, besides a squadron of the 4th 
Dragoons and the pioneer company, advanced upon the Woog- 
Iiaiisor. That on tlie right, luider Colonel v. Rex, composed of 
both battalions of the 58th Regiment, the other three companies 
of the lifle battalion, MichaeUs' 1st Light Battery, and three 
squadrons of the 4th Dragoons, pressed forward to the bridge at 
St. Remy. 

The 1st squadron, which had hastened on in advance of the 
other troops, had crossed the Lauter by 6.30 a.m., and pushed 
forward patrols some distance to the south. Colonel v. Rex 
reached the river at 9 o'clock, and shortly after met Avith some 
troops of the Xlth Army Corps who were coming up from the 


•eastward; the boomiug of the guns iu the directiou of Weiuseii* 
biirg was audible. 

The last-mentioned Coi^ps bad fiilfiUed the task assigned to it 
in the day's disposition by its occupation of Schleithal and the 
heights to the south of it, and reported to that effect to the 
Commander-in-Chief at 8.30 a.m. Immediately afterwards the 
noise of the cannonado was also heard at that place. Although 
the distance to Weissenbm-g was still 4^ miles, and the vth 
Corps might shortly be expected to paiiicipate in a combat at 
that place, Lieut.-General v. Bose resolved to march the main 
body of the 21st Infantry Division in a westerly direction^ 
leaving the advanced guard at Schleithal. Of this main body, 
the squadron of the 14th Hussars, followed by the 11th Bino 
Battauon, had at this period of the day — 8.45 a.m. — crossed the 
Lauter. Both detachments were at once directed upon Weis- 
senburg. The hussars took the main road ; the rifles, which had 
ffone foi'ward to occupy the southern skirt of the forest, moved 
by forest titicks. The fusilier battalion of the 87th Regiment 
led the column in their place. 

This was the column witli which the advanced giuird of the 
Vth Corps came in contact. Lieut.-General v. Bose agreed ^vith 
Major-General v. Sandrart that the latter should attack the 
Geissberg in front with his Division, while the troops of the 
Xlth Corps should join him on the left and outflank the hill 
from the south-east In accordance with this aii-angemeuti 
Rex's detachment continued to follow the main road, whilst the 
21st Infantry Division moved awa^ to tlie left of it. General 
v. Sandrart reported liis proceedmgs to his superior officer, 
Oeneral v. Kircnbach. 

The latter hud by this time reached Uross-Steinfeld with the 
head of his main body, and while there also heard the caimonade. 
He at ou(,'c despatched (Japtain Alaiitey of the (Jeiieral Staff to 
the Bavarian Division, to liud out the stut(j of affairs, to report 
the advance of the Vth Corps, and to ask in which direction he 
could give tlie most effective Kupport. 

Lieut.-Cceneral Count Bothmer sent a reply that he was 
making a vigorous attack in front, but considered his right 
flank threatened ; a pressure on the enemy's right flank would 
therefore be desirable. 

In consequence of this, the main body of the Vth Army (Jorps 
was at once munched upon Altenstadt, to the eastward of which 
the detachment under Colonel v. Kex had already deployed for 
battle. General v. Sandrart sent forward 2 cos. of the 5th 
Rifle Battalion and the 1st Battalion of the 58th Uegiment in 
the direction of the railway station and the suburb of Wcissen* 
burg. These detachments were received by a heavy tire in 
front, flank, and rear from the enemy, who was posted behind 
the old ramparts of the Weissenburg Lines and in the meadows^ 
and had to wago a protracted struggle, during which they 
suffered heavily. 

The fusilier battalion 58th Regiment and a company of rifles 


were employed in covering the left flank on the railway em- 
bankment, at which place the Ist Light l^attery also came into 
action. The guns directed their fire chiefly upon the enemy's 
mitrailleuse battery on tlie Geissberg, and were shortly after 
reinforced by two batteries of the Xlth Army Corps, which had 
been in action since 10.30 a.m. at the skiii; oi the forest opposite 
Gutleithof. Colonel v. Bothmer's column was now gradually 
cominff up, havhig forded the Lauter close below Wooghauser 
about naif-past 10 o'clock. The attempt to make use of another 
bridge lower do^vn had been abandoned in consequence of their 
having come across the columns of the Xlth Army Corps 
moving in that direction. The 2nd Light Battery pressed 
forwwd at a i-apid pace along the Lauterberg road and came 
into action close to the Ist. 

The 4l8t Brigade of the Xlth Army Corps kid, on quitting 
the Lauterburg road, taken the direction of the Geissberg ana 
Biedseltz. During tiieir advance the enemy kept up a very 
heavy artillery and musketry flre. A ceaseless muslcetiy flare 
was also maintained from the plantations on the slopes of the 
Geissberg. On the other liana the effect of the four Prussian 
batteries, which directed a concentrated fire upon the French 
artilleiy on the heights, soon began to tell in spite of the long 
avenige range. 

After a few rounds the mitrailleuse batteiy had to abandon 
its position, apparently in consequence of one of the pieces 
being dismounted and the explosion of two of the limbers. The 
other French batteries made frequent changes of position; 
their fire also became ffradually Aveaker. The 41st Brigade 
was directed to occupy the enemy pending the amval of the 
large reinforcements which might soon be expected. 

In point of fact the main body of the Vth Army Corps was 
now at Altenstadt preparing to deploy ui the direction of the 
Geissberg ; the advanced guard of the Xlth Coi*ps (42nd 
Brigade), which had already reached Schlcithal, received orders 
to join the left flank of the 41st. 

Lieut.-6eneral v. Bose had also ordered up the 22nd Division 
tlien marching through the Beinwald, and tlie corps artillery. 
Lieut.-General v. Kirchbach, who had been watching the pro- 
gi'css of the fight of his advanced guard from the frontier house 
at Windhof, ordered both heavy batteries of the 9th Division 
and the whole of the corps artillery to go rapidly to the front. 
Colonel Gaede, commanding tlie artillery of the Vth Army 
Corps, ordered five batteries to take up a position to the soutli 
of windhof; three others had to remain m rear for want of 
spaoe for then* deployment. Before 11 o'clock 30 guns opened 
me from this point upon Weissenburg and the neighbouring 
heights. At this time the 18th Infantry Brigade was formed in 
close order immediately to the north of Altenstadt ; the 19th 
and 20th Brigades deployed to the north of Schweighofen. 

Thus by 11 o'clock in the forenoon very superior forces were 
deployed against the front and right flank of the isolated 
French Division, while other large bodies of troops were at the 


same time approaching', The mere appcaruuce of the Prussiaa 
cohunns ou the Lauterberg roud compelled the euemy to throw 
back his right flank and show front to the east. 

General Douay, justly appreciating his position, had already 
made up his mind to retreat soon after 10 o'clock. In a 
southerly direction this was, however, already impracticable ; in 
addition to this the right wing nnist at all hazards maintain its 
position until the troops fighting in and around Weissenburg 
had ettected their withdrawal, whieh wjis by no means so easy 
owing to the serious nature of the engagement. 

Storming of dencral Pelle had already been obliged to draw for\vard the 

the railway 2nd HattaHou of the Rifle Regiment from the Hagenau gate to 
to^n^amUho *'^^' ^"^i^^^^^Y station, and to reinforce his skirmishers. By order 
Goissberff; <>f the Divisional Commander he made all the preparations to 
11 to lialf-past retire slowly. Soon afterwards his adjutant, who had gone to 
2 o clock. fetch up reinforcements and ammunition, brought him the news 
tint (ieneral Douay was killed. It appeal's that the bmve com- 
mander had lost his life at the explosion m the mitniilleuso 
battery to which we previously alluded. 

Lieut.-CJeneral v. Kirchbach had ridden forward with his 
staff along the Scliwcighofen road to within a short distance of 
Weissenburg. In the line of skirmishere, under fire fi'om the 
ramparts, ho made himsi;lf pei-sonally acquainted with the pro- 
gress of the engagement. His presence and encouragement 
were ample proof to the Bavarians, Avho were endeavouring to 
press forward through the vineyards, that they would be 
strongly supported. 

The General subsequently moved away to the 18tli Infantry 
Brigade at Altenstadt. This village was occupied by three 
fusilier conqiauies of the ITth Regiment; the remainder of the 
regiment advanced across the meadows on the banks of the 
Lauter towards Weissenburg, with the object of affording 
immediate help botli to tlie Bavarians .and to Colonel v. Rex. 

On tlie approach of these reinforcements Colonel v. Rex 
passed from his delaying musketry a(;tion to the assault of the 
railway station. This oceurred shortly after noon. 

The advance of the 1st Battalion 58th Regiment along the 
straight avenue of poplars brought them to a piece of ground 
enclosiid by a wall (\ feet high. Two companies occui^ied the 
side towards the foe, the skinnishing divisicms finding some 
slight cover in the ditches alongside tlie road; the 1st and 3rd 
companies, however, found no protection against the enemy's 
heavy fire. The losses increased with every pace they ad- 
vanced. Shortly before, the commander, Major v. Gronefeld, 
fell, while in the act of leading forward his battalion on horse- 
back along the road ; Lieutenant Neumann was also killed, and 
Captain v. Kittlitz mortally wounded. Captain v. Sebottendorf 
assumed the command ; but when he was wounded and most of 
the senior officers were disabled, it passed into the hands of 
Lieutenant Spaugenberg. In spite of the loosened oi*der, caused 



by the companies being mixed np through heavy losses, this 
officer aiid tlie few others who snr^'ived succeeded in leading on 
the men to a fresh attack. Lieutenant Baron, though himself 
wounded, seized the colour from the hands of its sorely wounded 
bearer, and dashed forward, followed by his men with loud 
cheers. The stonnere caiight the Turcos in their hurried retreat 
at the railway station and in the suburb. The bamcaded 
houses had to be broken into luider a hot fire from all direc- 
tions, and in places had to be wrested from the enemy at the 
point of the bayonet. 

This attack had been powerfully supported by the 2nd co, 
f)th Rifle Battalion, which, after checking a fonvard advance of 
the enemy, moved simultaneously towards the thicket on the 
Imnks of the Lauter and against the other paiis of thr* Weis- 
senbm'g Lines, Captain v. Strantz led his nflemen with fixed 
bayonets up to the houses of the suburb ; Lieutenant v. Bissing 
took an outlying entrenchment by storm. 

The 47th, joined by the 3rd Rifle Company, advanciMl along 
both sides of the main road. Those troops also pressed tor ward- 
fighting their way into the suburb. 

The object was gained ; but when the 1st Battalion 58th 
Regiment assembled at the railway station, it had lost 1 2 officers 
and 1G5 men. The commander of the rifle battalion, Major (yoiuit 
Waldei-sce, was mortally wounded before the real attack com- 
menced. General v. Sandrart had a hoi-so killed under liiin. 

Simultaneously with this attack on the railway station, the 
Bavarians had also made a fresh assault upon the town. 

When the 3rd Division nValther) reached Sc^hwcigcn, at 
about half-past 12 o'clock, tlierc had been some intention to 
employ the 5th Brigade on tlic right flank, but the slopes of the 
AVurmberg were so thickly covered with vineyards as to prevent 
any further extension of the force, and consequently Colonel 
Bosmiller with the Gth Regiment advanced alone in tliat direc- 
tion ; the other battalions were directed towards the left flank 
of Bothmer s Division, but took no part in the action. 

At the Landau gate the first thuig obviously to be done was 
to open a practicable entrance into the town. A request for some 
guns to batter the gate had been made to the Prussian batterie* 
at Windhof, and a division of the 3rd Heavy Battery of the 5th 
Regiment, under Lieutenant v. Berge, was told off to this duty. 

At this time the order arrived from the CommandtT-in-(Jhief 
to capture the town without delay. 

Lieutenant v. Berge very soon succeeded (1.30 p.m.) in knock- 
ing down the pillara of the gateway. Two more guns of 
Kirchlioffer's Bavarian battery, arriving shortly after under the 
command of Lieutenant Jamin, unlimbered close to the edge of 
the ditch and brought a fire upon the interior of the j>lace just 
within the gate. Some men of the lOtli Bavarian Rifle I^attalion 
and of the 3rd Battalion 11th Regiment then scrambled over the 
piers of the bridge and brought down the drawbridge with their 


batohets, in Avhich service Private Schroll, of the last-mentioned 
re^^iment distinguished himself. When the bridge was re-esta- 
bbahed both battalions with detachments of the 3rd battalions of 
the 5th and 14th Regiments penetrated into tlie town. General 
Mlaillinger ordered the Gtli Rifle Battalion to follow as an addi* 
tional support. As the gaiiison had meanwhile withdrawn 
from this quarter of the town, the Bavarians advanced with- 
out impecument along the main and by-streets as far as the 
market-place. The Maiiie was occupied ; the other parts of the 
toSvn were searched. Sounds of fighting were alone heard in 
the direction of the Bitsch gate, towards wliich three divisions 
of the 8rd co. 10th Rifle Battalion now pressed forward. 

The fighting at the houses nearest to the railway station had 
meanwhile brought the 1st Battalion 5th Regiment to the 
Hagenau o;nte. It was found opened and the drawbridge 
lowered ; the place seemed deserted, and the men were resting 
in front of it, when a shot was suddenly fired from the town 
wluch wounded one of them. In consequence of this, two non- 
commissioned officers and 10 volunteera were sent into the 
town; tliey came across the enemy in overwhelming force, 
Sergeant-Mnjor Kassner, who had already distiuRuished himself 
i 1 the prcceciin^ fight, and Lanco-C!orpoi-al Spuler alone suc- 
ceeded in cnttmg their way through ; immediately after they 
had passed, the chuwbridge was raised. The battalion was now 
exposed to a heavy fii'e at close range from the rampaiis and 
loopholes, whereby Lieutenant Spangenber^ was badly wounded. 
It became necessary to withdi*aw to the railway station. 

Soon after some detachments of the 47th Regiment, finding 
the gate once more unoccupied, let down the diuwhridge and 
penetrated into the town. As there seemed no probability of 
any further serious fighting inside, while outside, on the heights 
south of the railway statitm the stniggle was raging with 
greater violence, they moved oft' Khortly after to the railway 
station, where the greater part of the .regiment was at this time 
assembled. A\nien later on sonic other detachments of Prussians 
moved forward once more against the gate, the bridge had been 
again di'awii up. 

This re-occupatitni of the Hagenau gate, to which little 
attention had been paid at first by the French, is peifectly 
explained by tlio situation in which the gaiiison of Weissenburg 
had meanwhile been placed. 

In front of the westem (Bitsch) gate 1st Lieut. Emmerich's 
division of the 10th Bavarian Rifle Batttilion had firmly main- 
tained its po«ition until Major v. Ebner came up with tlie right 
flanking-detachment, and deprived the enemy of eveiy means 
of egress in that (lircclion. SubHcqueutly the Gth Regiment 
oame up from the AVunnberg. Moreover, as we have seen, some 
Bavarian detachmuuts had aheady moved from the Landau gate 
through the town to the weateni poiut of exit. 

The only courno still open to tlie defenders of Weissenburg 
was therefore to cut their way through the weak detachments 


'which had been Been as jet at the Hagenaii gate. But iu the 
meantime a much desired reinforcement had arrived in the 

Serson of Major v. Mittelstacdt Trith the 8th co. of the 47th 
Regiment, by which we were now in a position to repulse any 

Under these circumstances the Fi'ench officera entered into 
negociations, by vii-tue of Avhicli some 500 men of the 74th 
Regiment laid aown their arms (1.30 p.m.). 

The Bavarian troops, as well as the 1st and 2nd Battalions 
of the 47th Regiment, commenced to occupy the ramparts. 
Whilst in this manner the enemy had been deprived of the 

Kint of support to his left wing, the attack upon his right wing 
d also made further progi^ess. 

The 41st Brigade of the Xlth Army Corps, after forming up, 
moved forward in two colnniBS. That on the left, under 
Colonel Grolman, consisting of the 2nd Battns. of tlie 87th and 
80th Regiments, reached the deep railway cutting ; that on the 
right, iinder Colonel v. Colomb, comjposed of the fusilier battn. of 
the 87th and the 1st Battn. 80th Regmient, drove the enemy from 
the hop-gardens west of the railway and occupied GutleiUiof. 

Tlie noiihem slope of the Geissberg was flanked from the 
heights south-west of the railway station by a French battery, 
probably the one which had retired from the railway station. 
The fire from the direction of Windhof soon compelled it, how- 
ever, to evacuate its position, leaving a sun behind. Some of 
▼. Rex's detachment belonging to tne Vth Army Coips, two 
fusilier companies of the 58th Regiment and the 1st Rifle 
Company had moved forward in that direction from Altenstadt. 
In order to prevent the rifle company from capturing the gun^ 
half a French company opened a brisk fire, whilst the artillery- 
men humed up with six fresh horses to save it. Sergeant-Major 
Meyer, however, succeeded in bringing his men close up and 
opening a sudden fire on the enemy's flank. The riflemen then 
dashed forward with flxed bayonets, and took possession of the 
gun, in which Corporal Hausknecht and Private Leuschner 
especially distinguished themselves. The near approach of sup- 
port from the company rendered all attempts to recapture it futile. 

Meanwhile the rest of the 9th Division had passed through 
Altenstadt and reached the railway. General v. Kirchbach now 
directed the 18th Infantry Brigade and v. Bothmer's detach- 
ment to cany the heights in front. 

The 7th Eiiig^s Grenadier Itegiment formed the centre of 
the attacking line, preceded on the Altenstadt road by the lOih 
Company of the 47th. On the right the fusiliere of the 59th 
Regiment ascended the slopes, accompanied and followed by 
the troops of v. Rex's detachment previously alluded to. On 
the left the 9th and 12th cos. of the 58th Regiment took part in 
the movement from the direction of Gutleithof; the Ist Bat- 
iahon 59th Regiment followed the right whig. 

Whilst ihefi(& 6^ battalions of the Vth Army Corps w&t^ 
Advancing between the railway station and the last-named 



faiin, General v. Bose also ordered the 4l8t Brigade to open the- 
attack from the south ^vith coloure fl}ang and drums beating. 
The two battalions under Colonel v. Colomb took the direction 
of the Chateau Geissberg, which the 2nd Battn. 80th Regiment 
endeavoured to turn on the south side. The two musketeer 
battns. 87th Regiment moved towards the Riedseltz road. The 
3rd Battn. 80th Regiment and the 11th Rifle Battalion, which 
the brigade commander had lield in reserve during the first 
advance of the brigade, now crossed the railway close to 
Riedseltz, forming the extreme left wing. 

At tliis time the 42nd Brigade came into line on the western 
edge of the Niederwald; the 10th and 22nd Divisions, with 
the coips artillery of the Xlth Army Coips, were likewise 
i4;)proaching the field of battle. 

To meet tliis enveloping attack, Montmarie*s Brigade Iiad 
occupied the edge of the hei£;hts and extended its right flank 
along the road leading to Riedseltz. SepteuiPs Cavalry Brigade, 
3rd Hussars and 11th Chasseui-s, took post near the latter village. 

The strongly built Cli&teau of the Geissberg foniicd the 
most impoilant point of suppoit for the defence. It consists of 
a mass of solid buildings provided with an inner and outer 
court, suiTounded by a wall 15 feet in height. Before the 
eastern face is a vegetable garden, which rises in teiraces 
above the ground in front. The only entrances are on the 
uoiili and soiith sides, and thev are completely commanded 
fi'om the inner buildings ; the deience is, moreover, favoured by 
small windows and openings made in the walls up to a con- 
siderable height. Anop-tield extends about 200 paces north-^ 
ward of the Ch4teau along both sides of the road to Altenstadt. 

The 10th CO. 47th Regiment moving along this road had 
driven the enemy from the adjacent heights, but had then to 
await the arrival of the King's Grenadier Regiment, now ad- 
vancing vnth. drums beating. Its fusilier battalion went past 
on the right, the 2nd Battahon on the left of the 47th, the 1st 
Battiilion moving towards the heights of the three poplare. 

After a brief struggle, in which Major v. Winterfield, 47th 
Regiment, wuh killed, the oiiuniy was driven from the weakly 
occupied liop-field. But us soon as the skinnishoi'S endeavoured 
to press forward towards tlie Chriteau, they found themselves 
exposed in the oi)en to a most severe firu from the entire build- 
ing, which was occupiiMl from tlu* gi'ound to the roof. The 
detachmonlH of tlu; HrKt Hue. \vlii<:h Avere now joined by the 4th 
CO. 5tli Rifle Battalion, ensconced themselves on the edge of the 
plantations, in the nearest hollow roads and folds of the gi'ound^ 
and kept up a fire upon the adversary who was under cover, 
Major V. KaiHCiiberg now lod forward the JUh and 12th cos. of 
the King B Grenadier Regiment to the assault. Ho was joined 
by the greater part of the 11th company. Regardless of the 
accurate and heavy fire of the French ponring upon them at a 
short range, the fusiliers witlumt firing a shot followed their 
commander, who was Inmying in advance of them. But 

the loflses augmented at eveiy step ; tlie bmve band was sooi^ 
deprived of most of its leaders who had led tlieni on the dan- 
gerous road. Twice was the coloui* shot away, and its bearer 
placed liors de cofnbat. M«jor v. Kaiscnberg seized the upper 
part of the standard, and pressed onward, but fell soon after 
mortally wounded in throe i)laceB. The some fate bcfel the 
leader of the l»th company, Ist Lieutenant Sienion, wlicu ho 
agsiin took up the cohmr, which was tlien scizud by a non- 
commissioned officer. In addition to the foregoing, Captain 
Batscli, the commander of the 11th company, Ist Lieutenant 
Scholtz, the leader of the 12th, Ensign v. Glodcn and Vice- 
Sergcant-Major Schai'fF uIho fell at this spot ; Lieutenant Baron 
V. Ijiittwitz was mortally wounded. Nearly all the oilicei*8 of 
the thi-ee companies were now disabled ; but neither these nor 
5th and 8th companies of the regiment, which were brought up 
by Major Schaumann to make an enveloping attack, nor the 
other detachments of troops were able to make any head against 
the building, which was perfectly secure from assault. 

Part of the 8th company peneti*ated from the south side into 
the outer Coui-t of the Cliateau, where some skirmishei's of the 
9th CO. 87th Regiment established themselves ; but on the 
northern main front all the bravery displayed was of no avail 
against the insurmountable walls and a well-barricaded and 
lofty gate. As any retreat would only entail fresh saciifices, 
the men sought protection at the dead angle close under the 
walls. Some of the skirmishers brought a fire upon the windows, 
others placed straw under the loopholes and set light to it 

At the special order of Lieut.-General v.Kirchbach, who was 
present at tue combat which we have just described, Lieutenant 
V. Kreckwitz led several divisions in a body round by the 
western side of the Ch&teau for the pui-posc of bringing a fire 
upon it from a more elevated position ; but he only succeeded 
in subduing the enemy^s fire to a limited extent. 

It was evident that no favoumble result could be obtained at 
this point ^vithout the co-operation of the artillery. General v, 
Kirchbach had already ordered Haupt's battery, now coming up, 
to form a breach; but -it requu'ed ti*emendous efFoi-ts to bring 
the guns over ploughed fields saturated vnth rain up the steep 
northern slopes of the heights. xVs the horses were tired, tlic 
battery coula only proceed at a walk, and a short flank move- 
ment being necessary to reach the chosen position, it was 
exposed to the enemy's skirmishei's at a short range as it moved 
along in column of subdivisions. Only three guns at fii-st 
succeeded in coming into action; but the remainder of the 
battery followed soon after, and it was told off by divisions to 
shell the different stories of the building. 

The appearance of tlie battery naturally compelled the meji 
who had penetrated into the court, and the detachments under 
the walls, to evacuate their positions and retire to some distance. 

Major Kipping had sent the 1st Light Battery to the heiglits 
Boon after No. 2, and this battery opened fire at a range of 


800 paces* On itw left came tip somewhat later the 3rd Heavy 
Batteiy, which the commander of the Corps Artillery, Lieut.- 
Colonel Kohler, brought up vi& Gutleithof. 

About this time (jeneml v. Kirchbach was wounded in the 
neck by a chassepot bullet not far from the hop-garden, and was 
comj)elled in consequence to go to the dressing station at 
AltciiBtadt. The chief of the general staff, Colonel v. d. Esch, 
conducted the further course of the engagement until the com- 
mander of the 10th Division, Lieut.-General v. Schmidt, could 
come up from Alteustadt and assume the command. 

Meanwhile tlie 1st Battn. King's Grenadiera and the fusilier 
battn. 59th Regiment, strongly supported by the other troops of 
the right wing, had driven the enemy from the "poplar" heights. 
This movement had now rendered it possible to place artilleiy 
on the heights for caimonading the Cnaiteau, and the 2nd field- 
division Avas brought foi*w'ard for the purpose. 

The defenders of the Cliatcau fimnd tliemsehos closely 
hemmed in on all nides, an<l moreover threatened by a numerous 
artillery. The other French battalions were now in full retreat 
before tlie advance of the Xlth Corps; they no longer could 
hope for support. Tlie gtiirison, therefore, now accepted (2 p.m.) 
the previously rejected capituUition ; some 200 men and several 
officers were made prisonei-s. 

With the fall of the Chateau disappeared the lawt support for 
the adversary's lU^fonce ; but its possession had been bought at 
n gi-ievous sacrifice. The fuHiHcr battalion of the King's 
Grenadiers had alone lost II officers and ensigns doing duty 
as such, 9 non-commissioned officere, and 157 men killed and 

The enemy offered no further serious resistance in tlic open 
field to the ti'oops of the Xlth Army Coi-ps; he only onco 
endeavoured to check their advance in and around the Sehaf- 
busch farm with a view to gaining time for the retreat. To this 
point, however, portions of all the regiments which had been in 
action now rallied, and the farm buildings were taken with the 
first rush. 

The left wing (»f the 4lHt Brigade cri)s.sed the Reltzbaeh not 
far from Deiitsclienof, occupied the heights to the westAvard 
and fired at the French detachments, who were tiying to gtiin 
the cover afforded by the forest (^lose by. The battei'ies assigned 
to the 4lst Brigade had followi^d the infantry, and supported its 
advance from several positions. At this moment the horso 
artillery division of the coi-ps artilh^ry arrived at a trot on the 
left fiank, came into action in the line ot skirmishers, and 
followed up the retreating enemy with its fire. 

The Crown Prince liad reached Schalbusch soon after 2 o'clock, 
and congratulated the troops upon their ifirst victoiy on French 
soil. They responded with hearty cheers. 

The 10th and 42nd Infantry Brigades had just followed to 
the Geissberg heights, and the Ilnd Bavarian Army Coips was 
ordered to the same place, when, at 2.30 pjn., the Couunander- 


in-Gbief ordered that all fnrther pnrBnit by the iufimtiy wa4?i to 
be discontinued. 

^ An order had been sent at 11 o'clock to the 4th Cavahy 
Division, instnicfing it to advance as far as the Wachholderberg; 
near Altenstadt; the oflScei* sent on this duty, however, found 
that the Division had not yet reached the rendezvous appointed 
in the disposition*^ ^^^^g to an hour's detention at Billigheinci, 
where the lOIJi Division was breaking up from its bivouac, it cBd 
not reach Ober-Otterbach until 1.30 p.m., where it heard tKe 
first tidings of the action then taking place from Major V. 
Grodzki. , 

In consequence of this, the Divisional cavalry was alone 
present on the battle field, and available for immediate pursuit. 

Of this the 4th Dragoons, of which Major Senffl v. Pilsac^h 
had received a mortal wound, was in the neighbourhood 6f 
Schafbusch. It was sent forward on the road to Sulz. 

The Ist Battn. 88th Regiment, which h«ad been moved on 
Riedseltz, was fired upon from this village by some disperscfd 
hostile troops, after two companies of the 11th Rifle Battalion 
had previously made prisoners 20 French chasseui-s. The vilkj^o 
was now searched for the second time and then poiinanentiy 

About 3.30 pjn. orders were issued at Schafbusch to form 
bivouacs, which were aiTan^ed as follows : 

The infantry of the Ilnd Bavarian Corps encamped in front 
of Weissenburg and west of the Sulz road ; the cavalry and 
corps artillery on the left bank of the Lauter, to the north and 
east of the town. In the latter were tlie 3rd Battn. 5th Regi- 
ment^ and the 10th Rifle Battalion, the latter of which had 
sustained the severest part of the fighting and had lost 115 men. 

Two battalions were told oif to secure the Bitsch road, l^heir 
outposts extended from Rott to beyond Weiler, and opened 
communication with the detachment in the mountains &t 
BobenthaL Continuous skirmishing until the morning of tfa^e 
^th August was kept up along this Tine with the French troO;^8 
in the forest. 

Th^ee more battalions and a squadron continued the line 6t 
outposts alon^ the Seltzbach from Rott to the Hagenaii road. . 

The Vth Army Corps concentrated to the south of AUeii- 
stadt, the corps artillery in rear of the village. The 19th Brigade 
remained with two squadi'ons 14th Di-agoons, and a battefy 
pushed forward to the ^* poplar" heights as advanced guard; 
the outposts were on both sides of the Hagenau road. 

The 21st Division of the Xlth Corps bivouacked on th^ 
Geissbei-g, the 22nd between the railway and the Niederwald; 
Outposts towards Riedseltz, Ober-Seebach and Sclileithal. A 
flanldng detachmeiit was at Nieder-Lauterbach. 

Of mose troops which liad not taken part in the action, 
Werder's Corps had reached Lauterburg and placed outposts dm 
-the line Ober liOuterbach-Mothem. The main nody of the Badea 
^I^vision was eabfoned at Lauterbure; the Wiirttemberg Divi- 
sion was in bivouacs to the northward. 


The Ifit Bavarian Corps eucamped between Langenkandel, 
Minfeld, and Minderslachen. 

Two battnfl. of the 24th Infantry Bri^de of the VI th Anuy 
Coi-ps, now arriving at Landau, relieved the 2nd Battn. 58th 
Regiment left behind at Annweilen 

Towards evening Colonel v. Schenk reported that his 
dragoons had found Sulz occupied by the enemy, and had come 
across masses of infantry on the neighbouring heights. None 
of Douay's Division had retired by this road. The debris of that 
Division hud moved in a south-westerly direction. 

The losses of the French in killed and wounded must have 
been considerable, although tliey cannot be determined with 
accuracy. The corpse of their deceased commander, Geneml 
Abel Douay, and some 1,000 unwounded prisoners, fell into the 
hands of the Germans; one gun, the whole of the camp 
equipage, and an abandoned provision column were captured. 

Ihe total loss on the German side amounted to 91 officers 
and 1,460 men.* 

The infantiy who took part in the storming of the strong 
localities suffered very heavy loss, especially m officers ; the 
King^s Grenadier Regiment occupies the first place, with a loss 

10 officers, 80 men killed, 
13 „ 249 „ wounded, 

Total 23 officers, 329 men. 

On the evening of the 4th August all contact with the foe 
defeated at Weissenburg was lost. The only information we 
gathered from the reports of the 4th Dragoons was that he had 
not taken the great Hagenau road. He tiierefore might either 
have turned off at the eastern foot of the Hochwald towards 
Worth, or have gained the Bitsch road by using the cross roads 
over that mountain ridge. 

Had the direction of the retreat of General Douay's Division 
been one of its own choice, it might have been possible to 
conjecture therefrom approximately where MacMahon's main 
force would be foimd. But, as is well known, a retreat on 
Hagenau had been as good as rendered impossible by the enve- 
loping attack upon the Weissenburg position. The reported 
presence of hostile infantry at Sulz merely increased the doubt 
as to tlie present position of the enemy. 

Under these circumstances the head-quarter staff resolved to 
throw light upon the situation by a reconnaissance on a large 
■cale. At the same time the army, while drawing in its left 
wing, was to advance on the 5th August in such a manner 

* Tlie details of the louet are giYcn in Appendix IX., *' Bttiun of catualtiet in 
Uie action at Weiaaenbnrg." 


that it could be concenh*ated either in a southerly or westerly 
direction, according as circumstances demanded. 

The dispositionfor the 5th Atigust charged the 4th Cavalry j^pp^uciix X. 
Division with a reconnaissance towards Ilagenau and towarote 
Rcichshoifen. To guard the i-i^ht flank the Ilnd Bavarian 
Corps was to advance on the JBitsch road to Lcmbach, tho 
Vth Army Corps to Preuschdorf, so as to form the advanced 
gaard in the event of the operations being continued to the 
westward. The Xlth Coi-ps was to take up a position at Suiz, 
Werder's Corps at Aschbuch, both facing the south. Tho Ist 
Bavarian Corps was to fonn the general reserve at lugolsheim. 
Sulz was expected to be the army head-quai-terR. 

At 5 a.m. the Cavalry Division moved off in the direction of 
Sulz. Bemhardi's Lancer Brigade and the 2nd Body Guard 
Hussara went on ahead to make the reconnaissance ; the former 
along the Hagenau high road with a squadron of hussars as 
advanced guaxd, another squadron on tho lefb moving in the 
direction of the Rhine upon Roppenheim, the two remaining 
squadrons, imder Colonel v. Schauroth, on the right towards the 
upper Saar, with a view to canying out the reconnaissance upon 
Reichshoffen, which had been especially ordered by the head- 
quarter staff 

Exceptincr a few shots fired from the ho\ises at Sulz, no 
indications of the enemy were found this side of the Hagenau 
forest. General v. Bernhnrdi had further secured his flanks by 
detaching two squadrons of lancers ; he pressed forward with 
the main body oi his brigade along the high road as far as the 
southern issue from the forest ; but on reaching this point, close 
to Hagenau, a bridge was found broken up and occupied by 
hostile infantry, upon whom the fire from the hussai-s' carbines 
made no impression. As it was impossible for the lancera to 
deploy in tne forest, the brigade withdrew, the enemy's skir- 
mishers following and keeping up a continuous fire upon them 
from both sides of the roacL The frequent whistling of engines 
and rumbline of carriages led to the inference that troops were 
being moved on the Hagenau railway. The squadron of lancers 
sent towards the left flank found the northern edge of the Hage- 
nau forest at Ober-Betschdorf foimed into abatis, so that their 
fm'ther progress was impossible. The hussars which had been 
sent still further eastward by Roppenheim only came across 
some marauders at first, and not before Sufielnheim did they 
encounter a detachment of hostile infantry, which had retired 
before the Baden Division. We learnt that the enemy was 
assembling troops at Hagenau. 

The detachments sent in a westerly direction brought more 
important intelligence. Tho squadi-on of lancei-s covering 
General v. Bernhardi*s right flank discovered traces of the 
retreat of the preceding day along the road skii-tins^ the eastern 
foot of the Hochwald. It afterwards crossed the Sauer at 
Gunstett and observed a hostile camp upon tiie heights on the 
further bank ; in front of it were some French lancers, which 
were at once attacked. The hostile cavalry withdrew before 


the athiek; and onr lancers, finding themselves exposed to 
infantry fire from a ditch, retired upon Gunstett with slight loss.^ 
The two squadrons of hnssars under Colonel v. Schauroth pur- 
sued their allotted coui-se towards Reichsho£Een, but found tl^e 
bridge over the Sauer at Worth broken away. Two divisions 
of hussars, which advanced nearer the villaget, were fired upon 
from the houses by infantrr, and afterwards by artillery from 
the heiglits on the right bank, where large bodies of tix>ops 
were seen in movement. According to the statements of tbe 
inhubitantH the 18th and 45th llegimcntHt wore collected tlicrcv 
and 3,000 more troops wore siiid to be at Laugensulzbach. 

On the whole the observations of the Cavalry Division esta- 
blished the presence of French troops in considerable force 
behind the Sauer at Woi-th. The situation was not quite clear 
at Hagenau, because the cavalry had been unable to penetrate 
as far as that place ; nevertheless it seemed probable that the 
troops posted there were merely intended to protect the railway. 

The intelligence received from the other parts of the army 
tended to confirm these impressions. 

The Ilnd Bavarian Coips fii-st found traces of the retreat of 
Douay's Division on tlio Lembach road, such as 100 womided 
left behind at Climl)ach, and signs of recent bivouacs in the 
neighbourhood. The unanimous reports of the pati'ols that the 
enemy on leavinf^- Lembach liad taken the road to Laugensulz- 
bach, wer(; coufirined by the fact of the outposts, which wen* 
thrown out towards Mattstall, being involved in constant 

The 10th Division of the Vtli Anny Conis advanced beyond 
Bremmolbach and Lobsami by the road at tixe foot of tlio llocli* 
wald, of wliich we have already made mention ; on its left the 
9th Division and the corps artillery along the Sulz high roud. 
As the greater part of the Xlth Army Coips marched in front of 
them and the road bv which the other cohunu moved was 
inconvenient, the march of the coips proceeded at a very slow 
pace and was fatiguing for the troops. At Preuschdorf General 
V. Kirchbach leanit that AVoith and the right bank of the Sauer 
Wore strongly occupied by the enemy. Owing to the foregoing 
caiises the coips would not be able before the evening to 
support effectively the forward movement of the advanced 
troops towards Reic;hshoffen, as ordered by the head-quarter 
stafi*; the outposts were in consequence onlv thrown out 
towards Worth. The patrols sent out towards this village were 
fired upon from it ; extensive bivouacs could be distinctly seen 
in rear at Elsasshauseu and Froschwiller. 

Oil the left Aviiig of the anny Werdcr's Corps was only tcm* 

1)orarily in contact with the enemy. A Baden advanced guard 
lad been puslied forwanl upon Nieder-Rodern and Selz, \nth 
tlie obj(;et of protecting tlie flank movement to the right from 
Lauterburg to Aschbach. A flankhig-detachment on the left 

• Ono man and two horsoa killod s six bonet wounded, 
f Belonging to Ducrot*s Diriiion. 


fo>m the flame Corpf^ conaistiiig of the 2nd Battalion Body 
iSuard Grenadiers (Lieut.-<)olotiel Hofmann) and a squadron of 
dragoons, met %yitli some hostile picquets at Miinchhausen on 
the Rhine, which together with their snpportR were forced back 
through the Selzwald ns far as Selz. The enemy evacuated 
this village ^vithout fighting ; about noon it was occupied by 
the Baden advanced ^ard, which had had only five men 
wounded in the skirmish. The Ist Battalion 2nd Grenadier 
Regiment and a squadron reached Nieder-Rodeni without meet- 
ing the enemy, and subsequently sent out patrolR toAvards 
Roppenheim, fi'om which place the French had meanwhile with- 
drawn towards Suffclheim. The maui body of the Baden 
Division had by this time fonned up at the Eherhof, between 
Winzenbach and Nieder-Rodeni. The Wiiiiteraberg Division, 
after crossing the Lauter above Lauterburg, had stnick the 
main road from Weissenburg to Fort Louis at Keidenburg. On 
hearing that some hostile troops were seen in the Ilagenau 
forest a brigade was pushed foi-wards Obcr-Rodcrn. From 
these temporaiy positions both Divisions proceeded on their 
inarch to Aschbacn in the afternoon. 

Of the Xlth Army Coi'ps the infantiy of the 22nd Division had 
advanced along the railway embankment, the remainder along 
the main road to Sulz ; they bivouacked southward of this town. 

The Ist Bavarian Coi-ps, which had been considerably de- 
tained by other troops on its march from Langenkandel, did not 
reach Ingolsheim with its advanced troops imtil G p.m., and it 
Was nearly midnight before tlie last detachmentK arrived. 

The 4th Cavalry Division bivouacked to the soutli (»f 
Iliindsbach between the last two corps. 

Tlic line of outposts of the Illrd Anny extended, roughly 
speaking, along the Saner and the northern edge of the 
Hagenau forest. The outposts of the Ilnd Bavarian Corps ran 
from HinBchthal (on the Palatinate frontier) tlirftugh Alattstall 
to Liebfrauburg. The advanced guard of the VI h Army Corps 
occupied Gorsdorff, Dieffenbach, and Gunstett. Of the Xlth 
Army Corps, advanced troops of the 21st Division were at 
Surburg, those of the 22nd at Ober-Betschdorf and Nioder- 
Betschdorf. The Wurttembergere watched the countiy at 
Ober-Rodem towards Rittershoffen and Hatten. Furthest of all 
to the eastward were the Baden outposts, from Biihl to Nieder- 
Rodern. Only along the h'ne from MattRtall to Gunstett was 
the enemy immediately in fi-ont. 

From the occuiTences which had taken place during the day, 
the head-quarters of the llird Army at Sulz were convinced that 
the main forces of the enemy must bo sought in a we^terhj 
direction behind the Saner. The Crown Prince resolved to con- 
oentrato his army more towards the right wing on the Gth 
August, but in other respects to give them a day's rest. Part 
were still to remain temiKH-arily fronting the south. An anny 
order to this effect was JHSiied on the evemngof the 5tli August. 


,«.In conclusion we will now alludo to ceiiain events on the 
Upper Rhine, which were not >vithout influence on the adver* 
saiy's proceedings at this period. 

Seubcrt's detachment* pushed fonvard at the cud of July 
from Ulm into tlie passes of the Black Forest, was posted on the 
evening of the 1st August at Neustadt and St. Blasien, in the 
countiy between Freiburg and Schaff hausen ; two companies 
and a division of cavalry were further north on the Kniobis 
roads and in the valley of the Kinzig. 

With a view to attracting the attention of the enemy's troops 
in Lower Alsace, Colonel v. Seubert ordered a general advance 
towards the Rhine from the line occupied by lus troops. The 
right flank detachment moved upon Oppenau and Bicberach 
in the valley of the Kinzig, and sent fonvard patrols towards 
Eehl and Lain*. A company mounted upon waggons and 
escoi*ted by a division of cavahy passed through the UoUenthal 
to Freiburg, and from thence made demonstmtions on that part 
of tlie Rhine between Breisach and Neueubm*g. On the extreme 
left flank. Colonel v. Seubert moved forward with two companies 
to Waldslmt, took rail thence to Rheinfelden, and occupied at 
nightfall a camp previously prepared by the inhabitants in the 
neighbourhood of Loeri'ach. In order to deceive the enemy 
into the belief that large bodies of troops were assembHng 
at Loeri'ach, nimierous watch fires were lit, torches canied 
about and drums beaten. No sign of the enemy's troops 
could be seen, although repoits were cun-ent in Loerrach that 
the 4th French regiments of hussai-s, forming the advanced 
^ard of Douay's Corps, amved at Huningen. On the 3rd 
August Colonel v. Seubert retired into nearly his old position, 
so as not to betray the weakness of his force. 

On the 5th, two companies and the battery moved forward 
through the UoUenthal with the intention of destroying the 
enemy's reported entrenchments at Breisach. As credible 
repoi-ts reacned the detachment in the afternoon of the 6tb that 
Douay's Coips was at that time assembled at Miihlhausen, and 
that it purposed crossing the Rhine, Colonel v. Seubert ordered 
a speedy concentration of all his troops at Schliengen. On the 
7th, however, there were no traces of the enemy to oe foimd ; at 
the same time intelligence was received of the events at Worth, 
which we are now going to describe. The colonel now resolved 
to cross the Rhine at Kirchen and Rheinweiler, and intercept the 
comnmuication between Strassburg and Southern France. His 
preparations were completed on the evening of the 7th, when 
orders were received from Ciu'lsruhe that the idea was to be 
abandoned, and that part of his force was to take in hand the 
occupation of the Maxau bridge. A few days later the small 
band was recalled to WUrttemberg. 

• Tide p. 6e. 


The Movements op the French Army from 2nd to 5th 


The reconnaissance nndoi'taken in great force on the 2nd 
August by General Frossard had produced no other effect than 
that of causing a few weak detachments of Piiissian troops to 
retire from the Saar into the Kollerthal forest, wliere they dis- 
appeared from the view of the French. The stime state of 
imceiiainty with regard to the niilitaiy situation prevailed in 
the enemy s camp as heretofore. Forward movements with 
small forces had certainly appeared inadequate to throw light 
upon the state of aifairs. For an immediate advance on a large 
scale, however, the co-operation of Marshal MacMahon was 
requisite, and the formation of his army had not so far pro- 
gressed that he coiild take the offensive from Lower Alsace 
simultaneously with the army on the Saar. 

Under these circumstances thev remained in an expectant- 
attitude facing the Saar, and on the 3rd August were in very 
much their old positions. 

Generally speaking, the intention of bringing up the 3rd, 4th, 
and Guard Corps nearer to the 2nd and 5th inav be assumed. 
Should it then, on a consideration of their strength relatively to 
that of the antagonist, not appear desirable to advance offen- 
sively over the Saar, it would be possible to occupy a defensive 
position at Calenbronn, between Forbach and Saar^emiind, 
wliich position had already been selected in Marshal Neil's time, 
and at the same time to call up the Corps of MaiBhals MacMahon 
and Canrobert from Alsace and Ch&lons. 

At all events they had not as yet made up their minds 
whether their measm-es should bo of an offensive or defensive 
character. Owing to tlio obscurity in which the position and 
intentions of the German annies remained enveloped, every fresh 
report on the situation of the adversaiy led to orders which had 
to be soon after rescinded. 

On the arrival of a report from the Upper Rhine that hostile 
troops had been seen at LoiTach,* the Emperor gave orders that 
the 7th Corps was not to join Alarahal MacMahon, as originally 
intended, but was to remain for the protection of Upper Alsace* 
Again, when the police commissary at Diedenhofen reported on 
the eve of the 4tli August that 40,000 Pnissianst had passed 
Trier, and were marching upon Saarlouis or Diedenhofen, pre- 
parations were at once made for a concentration of the army 
towards the left wing. 

Marahal Bazaine, who was to assume the command in that 
direction, joined the 4th Coiys at Boulay ; the reconnaissance by 
it on a large scale ordered for the 4th was countermanded. In 
order to have liis own Corps (3rd) nearer at hand, he drew 

* This was the weak detachment of Colonel Seubert. 

t The yilth Prossian Corps which was passing Trier on the 2nd August. 


forward to St Avoid Montaudon's DivisioDy which was still in 
support of the 2ud Corps at Forbach. General Frossard was 
also to retire to the same place if the enemy showed in greater 
force than had been hitherto anticipated. Seveiul contradictoiy 
iusti-uctioiis were sent to the Guaro, one of which ordered them 
to advance to Volmerauges westward of Boulay. 

The anticipation, nay the hope, that the enemy would throw 
forward an isolated fraction of hiu force into French tenitory 
lay at the bottom of these orders. " The affair at Saarbnicken 
*' and the reconnaissance towards Saarlouis/' writes the chief of 
the staff, Lo Boeuf, to General Frossard, "have apparently 
" evoked an offensive movement on the part of the enemy witn 
'* a view to protecting the last-named foitress. It would be an 
** extremely fortunate occurrence were we to be offered battle 
** with 40,000 men at the place where, without your Corps, we 
•* ah-eady have 70,000." 

Yet before the day Avas over another view appears to have 

Sined ground at the head-quarters in Metz. A document from 
e Emperor, bearing date the 4th Aueust, starts with the 
supposition that General v. Steiimietz Avas oetween Saarbiiicken 
and Zweibriicken, that one of Prince Frederick Charles' Corps 
was supporting him in rear, and tliat he was keeping up 
communication on the left with the Crown Prince ; *' Their inten- 
tion is Raid to be, to marcli on Nancy." 

In tin's belief the following orders were issued : — The 4th 
Corps wa8 to remain concentrated at Boulay and Teterchen, the 
8rd prmcipally at St. Avoid and llarienthaf. A Division of the 
latter was to move on Puttelange ^vith a view to covering the 
road Saargcniiind-Nancy. General Failly was to hold Saarge- 
mund with only one Division, while the principal paii of liis 
Corps (oth) was to aHsomble at Bitsch. Aa resei-ves, the Guard 
was to take up a position near ('ourcelK'S-Chaussy, and the 8rd 
Reserve Cavnliy Division ta advance from Pont-a-Mousson to 

They had already reached the stage that their own actions 
wvYQ re^ulat(Ml J)y thoHe of tluj enemy, when the news of the 
defuat at Wi'iHHcnbtirg of a Fniirli DiviHion arrived in the after- 
noon of the 4th August. 

The conclusion wliich thoy should have drawn from the 
vigorous advance of the (lerman left Aving was that the adversary 
had completed his concentration, that they were now thrown 
entirely upon the defeuHive, and that their measures must bo 
regulated in accordance with this circumstance. 

The fii-st result was a telegiaphic message to General de 
Failly, ordering hhn to concentrate nis whole corps at Bitsch. Hq 
would be relieved at Saargemiind by a part of the 3rd Corps. 
Then the Emperor resolved upon a step which had hitherto 
been avoided — the fonnation of two sepamte annies corre- 
spending to the local separation of the entire force. On the 
5th August Marshal lilacMahon received the chief command 
of the 1st, Sth and 7th Corps, and Marshal Bazaine of the 
2nd, 3rd and 4th Corps. The Guards and the army reserves 


remained under the special ordcra of the Emperor. The 6th 
Coi-pa, expected at Nancy, was not at fii-Rt aseigiie:! to eitlier of 
the two armies. 

This arrangement bore on the whole the character of a pro- 
visional measure. They were only independent authorities " in 
respect to military operations," a term vagne enough to give 
rise to any amount of misunderstimding. No special staffs were 
formed, and both mai*shals continued to retnin command of their 
own Corps as hitherto. As, moreover, no systematic instmictions 
were issued to the commandci-s of the annies from the Imperial 
head-quarters, this organization exorcised no influence at first 
on the course of events. 

At all events they now had to make up their miuds to the 
advance of the enemy over the Saar. 

In reply to an inquiry of the chief of the sbifF, Geneml 
Frossard reported on the mornuig of the 5th tliat the night had 
passed in peace, but he considered his position in front of Saar- 
oriicken somewhat cndangertMl, and that it w(mld be dcsimblo 
to withdraw to the heights between FiU-bach and Saargemund. 
The Imperial head-quarters acceded to this proi>o8ition and sent 
an answer that the U eneral might cany (mt his intention on the 
following morning; the possibility of a further retreat to St. 
Avoid was also indicated. 

General Frossard, however, considered that the movement 
of his Corps should not bo deferred so long, as in all probability 
the advanced troops of the enemy, which were dra^^'lng nearer 
and nearer, would disturb his retreat. He therefore took up his 
intended position as early as the evening of the ftth. Laveau- 
cpupet's Division pitched their camp on the Siucheren heiglits, 
occupied a spur of the hill projecting towards the north, upon 
which they threw up shelter-trenches, and kept a look out in the 
direction of St. Aruual. One brigade of Verge's Division was 
posted to the north-east of Stirling; the other renmined to the 
west of Forbach, to which place it had advanced on the 4th f(u* 
the protection of the stores accumulated at the niilway station. 
Tempomiy entrenchments w^ere thrown up at that point also. 
BataiUe's Division moved to Oettingen ; the cavahy and the 
artiUeiy reserve were at Forbach. 

In rear of the 2nd came the 3rd Coii>h, spread over a con- 
siderable interval; the head-quartei's, Decaen's Division and 
the resei-ves at St, Avoid; Motmau's Division at Mari(Mithal, 
Castagny's at Puttelange. Montaudon's Division had been sent 
to reheve the 5th Corps at Saargemund, but only reached tliat 
place on the mon)ing of the (Jth August. 

The 4tli Corps remained at Teterclicn with Cissey s Divinion. 
As no German troops were to be seen on the Simr during the 
morning of the 5th, Lorenccz' Division was pushed forward 
closer to tlic 3rd Corps, so as to reach Boucheponi early on 
the 6th. The remainder of the Corps stood fast in and around 

In rear of this position of Marehal Bazaine s army were the 



Ouards and the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Division at Courcelles- 
Cliaiissy and Faulqueniont. The extent of front from Boulay 
to Saargeiniind was about 28 miles, and about the same in 
depth from Spicheren to Courcelles. 

General Failly had marched on the morning of the 5th to 
Bitsch and Rohrbach in accordance Avith his ordera. Lapasset's 
brigade, with the 3rd Lancei-s and a batteiy, remained behind 
near Saargemund to protect a large convoy of waggons. They 
were there to await their relief by the 3rd Corps. 

Meanwhile Marahal MacMahon had made liis preparations to 
meet the Gennan army which had penetrated into Alsace. So 
early as the evening of the 4th, the 1st Corps was concentmted 
as the main body in a chosen position behind the Saner at 
Froschwiller ; Bonnemain's 2nd Rcsei've Cavahy Division also 
advanced to that point. 

The infantry of (yonseil Dumcsnirs Division of the 7th Coi-ps 
had been transported on the 4th August from Colmar to Milhl- 
hausen, where Genei'al Douay contemplated the concentration of 
his Coips. It had just reached the place when an order an-ived 
fram MacMahon recalling it to the north with a view to joining 
him. The Division was in consequence re-embarked at once 
and reached Hagenau on the morning of the 5th. The Divisional 
artillery, Avhich had received the amended order while on the 
march between Cohnar and Miihlhausen, followed the same 
evening from Colmar. Early on the morning of the ()th the 
entire Division was concentrated on MacMahon s right ^ving. 

It appears that on the 4tli the Mai-shal had still the intention 
of striking a blow on the enemy's flank from his position, in 
the event of the latter continuing his movement southwards. 
But the French soon limited themselves to purely defensive 
mcaHuroH. Lartigui^'H Division, wliich was still on the (lunstett 
heights eastward of the Sauor, was withch'awn to the right 
bank on the moniing of the 5th. Raoult's Division occupied the 
centre of tlie position between Frosclnnller and Elsasshausen, 
Ducrot's Division fomiing the loft Aving. The remainder of the 
army was in socond line. 

As early as t\\o. afternoon oF thii 5th August, the German 
outposts ftmnd tlienisolves in close proximity to the front of the 
anny. The Mai-shal had ordered the bridges over the Sauer to 
be broken up, and issued insti-uctions for tne impending stnigglo 
against **(aionnous forces and a f(»rmidable artillery.'* A report 
was sent to tlie Emperor that tlic troops were concentrated and 
that they held a good position on the enemy's flank. 

Thus the ilarshal made serious preparation to meet a hostile 
attack, but he does not appear to have expected this so early as 
the following day. This is evident from his coiTespondence 
with General Failly, an epitome of wliich we give here on the 
authority of the latter : 

On receipt of the connnunicati<in with regard to the recent 
changes in tlie command, the Marshal at once ordered General 
Failly to join him as soon as possible. In a second telegram, 


however, he weakened tliis iiiRtmctioii by uskiiig on what day 
ami in which dii'ection tlio appearance of the 5th Coips might be 
expected. General Failly could not have collected two Divisions 
at Bitsch before the morning of the Gth ; he considered tliat ho 
ought not entii'ely to lay bare the road-juuction at this point, so 
vital in respect to the communication of the two armies, as the 
enemy was ah*eady reported to be at Pirmasens and Zweibriicken. 
He therefore replied, " At present there is only Lcspai-t's Divi- 
•* sion at Bitsch, which will march to join the Ist 0011)8 on tiio 
** morning of the Gth ; the other Divisions will follow as they 
" anive at BitscL*' 

The Marshal assented to this, and at the same time, in antici- 
pation of the impending reuiforcement, again fixed his attention 
upon offensive measure& An officer was sent to Bitsch with a 
letter on the morning of the Gth, in which the Marahal ordered 
a general forward movement for the 7th August. The 5th Corps 
was destined in this movement (presumably by Lembach) to 
operate against the enemy's flank. The document ended as 
follows : " Tlierefore send a Division to Pliilippsburg (between 
*' Bitsch and Reichshoffen) as early as possibie, and hold the 
** other in readiness to march." 

As the German head-quarters likewise did not intend to give 
battle before the 7th, as already mentioned, both sides would ou 
this day have met one another on the offensive. The armies 
were, however, so close together on the evening of the 5th that 
the outposts were constant^ involved in small skirmishes. Owing 
to the onward pressure of the troops on both sides, the intentions 
of the leaders of the armies were anticipated. 

The positions of the German and French ainiies on the 5th BkMk UL 
Aug^t, the eve of tlie battles at Worth and Spicheren, are 
shown on Sketch No. III. Up to this date the communications 
of the German armies with their own temtory had been aiTanged 
as follows : — 

The 1st Army had for its line of Etappen^ the railway 
MOnster-Oohi-Oall (line F), thence the Eifel road to Trier; 
secondly, the main road from Ooblenz across the Hundsriick to 
Hermeskeil ; the General Inspection of JStappen was at Wadern ; 
5 battalions,* 4 reserve squaarons, and a battery were placed at 
its disposal, and were to be assembled at Wittlich by the 8th 

The Ilnd Army had, in addition to the two lines (A and C) 
leading from Berlin to the Saar by way of Ooln-Bingerbruck 
and by way of Halle-Oassel-Mannheim, the line Uarburg- 
Kreiensen-Mosbach (B) and that from Leipsig-Fulda to Oastel 
near Mainz (D). The latter line was shared in common with 
the Ilird Army. The General Inspection of Etappen of the Ilnd 
Army had been at Eaiserslautem smce the 2nd August, at which 
place, as also at Birkenfeld and Neunkirehen, the Intendant- 

* Indading 8 line battalions from tho OobleiuB and CMn garrisons. 



General of the Amr^ foimed large magaziiies. For the protec- 
tion of itB line of Mai>pen^ the llnd Simj was at firrt aaaigned 
the 3rd Landwehr Division under Major-Geneoral Schuler ▼• 
Senden, and this was drawn forward to Mainz. On the 6th 
Angust this Division received another destination, and passed^ 
together with two line regiments of the Mainz ^;arrison, some 
regiments of reserve cavalry and reserve battenes, under the 
command of Licut-Qcneral v. Eummer. In place of it^ 8 Land- 
wehr battalions and one re^ment of reserve cavalry were 
assigned as Etappen troops to uie Ilnd Army. 

The Ilird Army was m commuuication with its o^vn country 
by the lines D and £; the latter from Posen by Gsrlitz, 
Leipzig, Wurzburg, Mainz, to Landau, as well as by the three 
South German lines, teiminating at Bmclisal, Meckesheim and 
Heidelberg respectively. The chief Etappeti terminal station 
was Mani3ieim; 8 battalions and 4 squadrons of Landwehr 
ti'oops were shortly expected for the defence of the Etappen line. 


The Battlk of Worth. 

The Army Order issued on the afternoon of the 5th August 
by H.R.H. the Crown Prince from tho hcad-qnarterf? at Snlz ran 
as follows : — 

" The anny will remain concentrated to-morrow round 
Sulz, nnd execute a change of front. 
" (I.) The Ilnd Bavarian and Vth Pmsfiian Coii)R remain in 

their present position at Lerabach and Preuschdorf. 
•* (2.) The Xlth Pnissian Array Coi-ps will wheel to the right 
and bivouac at Holschloch ; its outposts pushed forward 
towards the Sauer. • Surburg and the road to Hagenau 
Avill be occupied. 
** (3.) The 1st Bavarian Corps will advance as far as the neigh- 
bourhood of Lobsann and Lampertsloch, Outposts 
thrown forward through the Hoclnvald in the direction 
of the Sauer, 
" (4.) The 4th Cavalry Divimon remains in bivouac, but will 

front westward. 
** (5.) Werder's Corps will march to Roimerawiller and show 
front towards the south; its outposts pushed forward 
towards the Hagenau forest. The roads at Kiihlendorf 
and the railway at HoflFen are to be protected by strong 
outpost detachments. 
" The head-quarters remain at Sulz." 
This Army Order was based on the supposition that the 
enemjr intended to cover, from his position oehind the Sauer, 
the railway from Strassburg to Bitscn and the commimications 
through tne Vosges, and that to this end the French com- 
mander, by calling up the 7th and 5th Coi-ps, either entirely or 
in pai-t, would accept a general action. Should this be the 
case, as seemed probable from the most recent observations and 
reports, the Germans had ample leisure for executing the pre- 
paratory movements contemplated for the 6th, which nad chiefly 
m view a closer concentration of the most distant portions of 
the army— the 1st Bavarian and Werder's Corps. 

Two less probable events had, moreover, to be taken into con- 
sideration — (1) that Marshal MacMalion mi^iit march away west- 
ward on the Gth August, or (2) that he might advance to the 
attack of the Vth Corps, whicli was immediately in front of him. 
In order to meet tlicse contingencies, the Ilnd Bavarian Coips 
received instructions, on the afternoon of the 5th, to dii-ect its 
attention not only to the Bitschroad, but also to the neighbour- 
hood of Langensulzbach. Should the report of cannon be heard 
on the following morning in the direction of Worth, a Division 
of the Corps was to advance against the enemy's left flank, the 
remainder to be halted facing Bitscli. This document also con- 
tained a communication that the head of the Vlth Army Corps 
had arrived at Landau, that a Divisi gi) of th at (!orps would 



advance in the direction of Bitsch and Pirmasens on the follow- 
ing day, occupying Weissenbnrg with two battalions, and that 
the right flank of the Bavarians would consequently be fully 

On receiving these instructions on the evening of the 5th 
General v. Hartmann ordered the 4th Division, which bivouacked 
at Pfaffenbronn, to move forward in a westerly direction at day- 
break on the Gtli August. Of the 7th Infantry Brigade, two 
battalions of the 5th Re^ment and a squadron oi the 2nd 
Chevauxlegers were pushed forward towards the Kuhbrucke, in 
the valley of the Sauer, from which place they kept up com- 
munication with the Vth Army Corps. 

The remainder of the 7th Brigade, with 3 squadrons of the 
same Chevauxlegers and a battery took up a position southward 
of Mattstall, on the Langensulzbach road. The 8th Infantry 
Brieade, with its three batteries, moved up to the north of Matt- 
stall. The lancer brigade and three batteries of the artillerv 
reserve* were also assigned to the 4th Division for the 6th 
August, but remained in readiness provisionally at Lembach. 

The 3rd Division and the resei-ves at Lembach and Wingen 
fronted towards Bitsch. 

Such was the position occupied by the Ilnd Bavarian Coi'ps 
at 7.30 a.m. on the 6th August. 

Touching it on the left came the Prussian outposts, furnished 
bv the 20th Brigade, Vth Armv Corps along the eastern edge 
of the Sauer vcdley, from the ICuhbriicke through Spachbach to 
Gunstett. Of these, half the 1st battalion 37tii Regiment was 
at Gorsdorf ; the 2nd battalion 50th and the 4th squadron 14th 
Dragoons at Gunstett. The remainder of the 20th Brigade, 
with the 3rd squadron of the same remnent of dragoons and 
the 6th light batterv, was westward of Dieffenbach ; flie village 
was occupied by the fusilier battalion of the 50th. The re- 
mainder of the 10th Division, the 9th Division, and the corps 
artillery were to the south and east of this village on both sides 
of the Sulz road. Jlitschdorf and Prouschdorf were each occu- 
pied by a battalion from the 10th Division.t 

The views held at the head-quarters of the Ilird Aimy with 
regard to the circumstances of the enemy, and upon which its 
line of action was based, proved to be correct, as we now know. 

The forces at Marshal MacMahDii's disposition were amply 
sufficient, even without the 5th Corps, for the occupation and 
sustained defence of the position which he had selected ; and the 
latter was, moreover, so exceedingly strong that success might 
even be calculated upon against an enemy far superior in point 
of numbers. The numerical disproportion was counterbalanced 
by the large force of artillery, the superiority of the chassepot 
rifle, and tlie favourable nature of the ground. Nay, the scale 

* Sec Appendix XI. 

t For details with regard lo the goiicral posilioii of the other Corps, which do not 
here concern us, sec ])p. 139, 1 10. 


might turn to the advantage of tho French arniB, wore Failly's 
Corps to co-operate. 

With regard to the latter, however, wo know that the greater 
part of it was still marching from Saargemiind to Bitsch on the 
5th, and that on the followmg morning Lefipart's Division, which 
had been for some time at Bitsch, was alone moved upon Ileichs- 
hoffen. On the other hand, Conseil Dumcsnirs Division of the 
7th Corps had, as we are aware, effected its jmiction with the 1st 
and hact moved up into poRition with it on the morning of the 
6th.* The troops occupied a position upon the undulating 6pm*s 
of the Vosges, which clad with vineyards and hopgardens, extend 
between tlie Eberbach and Sauerbach. The front line from 
Neehwiller through Frdschwillcr and Elsasshausen, as far as the 
heights eastward of Eberbach, had a length of 3^ miles and was 
held by 45,000 men. This front was covered by the Sauerbach, 
which liver was veiy difficult to cross except at the bridges. 
The meadow land, averaging 1,000 paces m breadth, which 
bordered its banks, afforded no cover in the approach, so that 
the French infantry could profit by all the advantages of their 
superior weapon. The eastern slope of the valley is commanded 
at all points from the western. The latter only approaches 
tolerably near to the Sauer at the mountain spm* opposite 
Gorsdorf, whilst everywhere else it is separated by an interval 
of more than 500 paces. The course of the rivulet, through- 
out the whole extent with which we are concerned, is within 
effective range of musketry from the heights on the west, the 
slopes of which, both from their steepness and extent of culti- 
vation, offer considerable difficulties to an ascent. In front of 
the centre of the position lies Worth, with its bridge over the 
Sauer. That countiy town, as also the other villages wthin 
the position, contains many spacious and well-built houses, 
capable of being strongly defended. Thickly-planted gardens 
and vineyards extend up tho heights from the la^t buildings 
at the western exit, so that these localities are in immediate 
connexion with the main position. 

The village of Fi-osch wilier forms the crowning feature of the 
position. Commanding the ground in all directions, situated at 
the highest point of tho hilly plateau, at the jtmction of 
several roads leading into the Sauer valley, and grouped around 
the line of retreat to Reichshoffen in nearly the form of a square, 
it constituted, with its spacious church and many other strong 
buildings, a bastion-like i^eduit to the entire line of defence. The 
approach to it from the south was protected by ilie village of 
Elsasshausen, also very defensible, but lying somewhat lower. 
The undulating character of the gi'ound and the cover which it 
affords favoured the employment of a large number of skirmishei*s 
and concealed the position and moA^ement of the resei*ves from 
the advei*sary's view. The French, moreover, had not neglected 
to sti*engthen the interior of tho position by well placed field 

» See i>. 144, 


enlronclniiLnl.s. jilortsbruiin, t)))(>o.sito the right Aviiig, i\'u\ not at 
first form part ot* the poBition, bo as to avoid aii undue exten- 
fiion of frout ; thia viUage waa, besides, perfectly commanded 
from the poaition. The passagea of the Sauer at Gunstett and 
Dui'renbach were within tne moat efifeetive cannon range. The re- 
serves posted behind this flank and the open nature of the ground 
to the south were additional safeguards against any immediate 
Tienetration of the G ermans on the right flank. Any wide sweep- 
mg flank movement would have to be made througu the Hagenau 
forest, and was therefore hardly taken into consideration. Dan- 
gerous, however, was the poaition of the left wing, as the road 
from Lembach through Mattstall and LangensulzlDach, on the 
western bank of the Sauer, led right into the position, and the ad- 
vance of the adversary would be concealed by tne woods. Although 
it was scarcely to be expected that the latter would move his 
main force along this dif&cult mountain ti*ack, yet a single Corps 
mi^ht take tliis du-ection whilst the bulk of the troops dejiloyed 
in tront of the line Gorsdorf-Gunstett. It was imperative to 
give additional security to tlie left flank by refusing this wing. 

Tlie heights eastward of Elaasshausen gave the oest point de 
vue of the entire neighbourhood, and it was there that Marshal 
MacMahon took up Bis position during the greater part of the 

The position, of which a general description has been given, 
was occupied in detail as follows :* 

The 1st Division, Ducrot, with its right wing in front of 
Froschwiller ; its left wing resting on the Grosawahl, which 
stretches towards Reichshoffen. It consequently formed the 
defensive flank against Lembach ; Neehwiller and Jiigerthal were 
each occupied by a company. 

The 1st Brigade of tne 3rd Division, Raoult, occupied the 
heights, Avhich branch ofl* at Froschwiller and fonn the spur 
projecting towards Gorsdorf, previously alluded to; the 2nd 
Brigade supported its left flank on Froschwiller, its ri^ht on 
Elsasshauseu. On the right of the latter came the 4th Division, 
Lartigue, forming a broken line, its 1st Brigade facing Gunstett 
and the 2ndt opposite Morsbronn. 

The 2nd Division, under the command of General of Brigade 
Pelle after General Douay's death, waa posted in reserve behind 
the right flank of the 3rd and the left of the 4th. In rear of 
the latter, moreover, were Conseil Dumesnil's Division of the 
7th Corps and MichcVs Cuirassier Brigade imder the ordei-s of 
General of Division Duhesme. 

Furth'M- northward, at tht- sources of tlio Eberbiich were 
Bvmnemaiu's 2nd licserve Uavahy Division, and Septeuirs Light 
Cavalry Brigade. Nansouty's Cavalry Brigade Avas (listrihuted 
as Diviwonal Cavalry. 

^ MucMoLon's re|K>rt to the Emperur. 

t As the 87th Regiment remained at fi>lra»6burg, this brigade was only 8 battalion:* 

The various Actions during the Morning and Afternoon 


During the night, and more particuhu'Iy towards daybreak, Reconnais- 
vigorous flkirmisnes had takon plaro between tho (nitpopts in ^"^Fbrth*'"' 
front of the Vth Army Corpf?. nndGuu^ieU. 

Major-General v. vValther. commanding the 20tli Iniuntry 
Brigade, while making a reconnaisBance in person at 4 a.m., 
remarked an unusual noise and movement in the enemy's 
camp, which led him to conclude tliat the adverwiry was moving 
away. In order to be certain on this point, tlie Goneial ordered 
a reconnaissance in force beyond Worth. 

In compliance with this, the 6th light battery first took up a 
position to the north of the Worth road at 7 a.m., and threw 
10 shells into the place, some of which burst. Upon this the 
2nd battalion 37th Fusiliers advanced to the attack in company 
columns. The 7th company, moving along the road, found the 
little to^vn imoccupied ; the bridges, however, were destroyed. 
Meanwhile the sWrnishing divisions succeeded in wading 
through the Sauer, a sunken river enclosed within steep banks, 
and in penetrating to the further outskirts of the i^lacc, whilst 
on either side of it, the other three companies took up a position 
on the stream. They now became involved in an engagement 
with French infantry and artillery which appeared on the 
western edge of the heights ; four f^rench batteries, one after 
another, opened the cannonade at distances varying from 3,000 
to 4,000 paces. After firing a few ineflToctive rounds, they were 
severally compelled to withdraw in consequence of the well- 
aimed fire of Caspari's battery, aided by that of the infantry. 

The appearance of French hospital-bearers carrying away 
wounded, Dore testimony to the successful result of our fire, df 
the Prussian battalion 1 man was killed, 1 officer and 20 men 

As there could no longer be any doubt that the enemy was 

E resent in great force, General v. Walther broke off the action at 
alf-past 8 o'clock, and ordered first the battalion and afterwards 
the battery to return into bivouac. The Worth cemetery situated 
on the eastern bank of the Sauer was occupied by two sub- 

Simultaneously 'with these proceedings at Worth fighting was 
rife at Gimstett, in which, however, the Frencli took the 

Of the detachment posted at that place,t the 5th company 
501iL Regiment was pushed forward to the Bruch Mill, the 6tn 
to the southern issue from the village ; the remainder in rear of 
the latter, concealed by the vuieyards. The dragoons patrolled 
in advance of the front and kept up communication with the 
Xlth Army Corps through Biblisheim. 

• Vide noto io p. 05. 
t Sco p. 148. 


The Btone bridge on the Eberbach road was inined* the mill 
bridge, which had been destroyed by the French^ was repaired 
for infantry, and the mill buildmgs airanged for defence. 

A small reconnaissance dming the night had demonstrated 
that the French outposts were in position on the opposite side of 
the Sauer valley. 

At 5 a.m. a Ime of skirmishers followed by two companies of 
Zouaves advanced from thence towards the Bruch Hill, but 
they were soon coiiipellud to retire by the fire of the Prussian 

At 7 o'clock strong bodies of skirmishera again moved forward 
as far as the Morsbronn-Worth road, and a violent shell and 
musketry fire was directed against the mill buildines and Oun- 
stett from the heights. The mill took fire ; the 5th company 
however, did not quit the buildings and soon eztinffuishea the 
conflagration. Meantime the detachment commander, Captain 
V. Kamptz, ordered up the two companies behind Gunstett in 
support. The enemy, however, made no real attack, but rather 
satisfied himself with keeping up an artiUery and musketry fire, 
which was answered by the Prussian skirmishers and caused 
them but little lous. 

AoUon at The 4th Bavarian Division, as we know, had been held in 

Ijmgeliul*. readiness at Mattstall since the early morning of the 6th August, 

with the object of participating in any action which mi^ht take 

place at Worth. Only the special arms of the reserve* intended 

for its support had remained behind at LembacL 

General Count Bothmer found no enemy at Laugensulzsbach, 
and occupied the place with the 6th Rifle battalion of the 
advanced guard. 

The cannonade audible at first fi'oju the direction of Worth 
was only slight ; but a large French bivouac could be seen on 
the Frosclnviller heights. 

As the cannouade at AVorth increased in briskness, the oom- 
tnandant of the Corps, v. Hartmann, who was present, ordered 
up the special amis from Lembach and the 4th Division to move 
forward on Frosclnviller ; the infantry of the advanced ffuard 
commenced its march at a quarter-past 8 o'clock. In order to 
engage the French ai-tillery at Fixischwiller, Kirchhoffer's 4-pr, 
battery took up a position to the north-east of Lang^nsulzbach, 
where it was subsequently reheved by Herold's 6-pr. battery. 
Owing to the great distance, however, between the Bavarian 
and French artillery, the cannonade, which was not very brisk, 
was unproductive of results to either side. 

The 8th Brigade was ordered to follow up in rear at once 
from Mattstall, at which place the Corps reserves were to be 
held in readiness. 

The advanced guard moved towards the woody mountain 
slopes ascending to Neehwillei*. The 6th Rifle battaUon, with 

* 9m Appendix XL 


the exception of the 4th company left with the battery, formed 
the front line in extended order ; follown^ it came in line of 
company columns two battaUons of the 9tii Regiment, the Ist 
on the loft, the 2nd on the right ; behind these, the 3rd bat- 
talion in column. 

The hostile batteries on the heights in front of Froachwiller 
fired upon the Bavarian riflemen as they debouched from Laneen* 
sulzbach. After a troublesome ascent of the hillside, these 
latter reached the southern sldrt of the wood in that direction. 
Here, however, they were mot by the fire of the enemy's skir- 
mishers from the border of the wood, some 300 paces in front 
of them, and at the same tune by a shell and mitrailleuse fii'e, 
which prevented their further progress. 

The two leading battahons of tlie 9th Regiment were drawn 
into the skirmishing line of the riflemen, so as to extend it and 
fill up gai)8. The 2nd battalion guarded its own right flank in 
the direction of Neehwiller. 

The 3rd battalion of the regiment forming the rear lino, 
although somewhat separated in marching through the wood, 
came up with its first troops at a veiy opportune moment to 
support the left wing against the .enemy's attack. They at once 
extended in skirmishing order on the ground, which was more 
open at this point, being onlv covered with scattered clumps of 
trees. The remainder of tne battalion took up a position at 
first further to the left on the Sulzbach, but, on tbe advance 
of the 8th Brigade, was also speedily called in. There were now 
no more reserves at hand, and there was no artillery in support. 
Ilerold's 6-pr. battery, being masked by its own troops, could 
not aim at the enemy's skirmishers, and was therefore only able 
to keep up a desultory fire upon the French guns and mitrail- 
leuses, which were visible from time to time at Froschwiller. 
In spite of this, the four battalions succeeded in presenting a 
stout resistance to the far more numerous enemy. Several 
offensive counter-strokes made by the French were repulsed 
by file-firing.* 

When the advanced parties of the 8th Infantry Brigade 
reached the southern issue from Langensulzbach at half-past 9, 
the firing had become very hot, especiallv on the Bavarian left 
wing. As the leit -wing of the advanced ^uard appeared to be 
more particularly endangered thereby, Lieut.-Gencral Count 
Bothmer ordered the four battalions t which first arrived to 
advance in that direction, and to extend the fighting line as far 
as the Saw Mill. 

Shots had also fallen on the wooded heights between the 
Sulzbach and the Sauer. In this direction were moving, besides 
some companies of the 8th Brigade, the two battalions of the 
5th Regiment, sent at an earlier period to the Kuhbriicke, which 

* Tlie German *' Scknell-feuer^* is rendered throughout this tnuislAtion by " file- 
fiiins^* It corresponds to the French " /Vm €^volonW — ^Tr. 

t The third battalions of the Ist, 11th, nnd 14th, and the Ist battalion of the 7th 


Boon after o'clock occupied Avithout n coutcBt the Old Mill 
after its evacuation by the French. They subsequently resinned 
their march over the mountain slopes, and came into communi- 
cation at the southern skirt of the ^vood with the left flank of 
the Division. 

The latter had towards 10 oVlock a front of 10 battalions, 
extending over a distance of 2^ miles from the western skirt of 
the wood between Neehwiller and Langensulzbach to the Sauer. 

As reserves, tlievo were only i]ui 3rd battalion 5th Regiment. 
3 companii'K of the lOtli Rifle battalion,* 3 smuulron.s, and 
3 batteries at LangcriHulzbath. A battery had been left ai 
Mattstall ready to m()vc\ 

In the action, which avu.s griulually l^vcoming nuav and nic>n* 
lively, the Bavarians were making progress, especially on their 
left wing. Their troops advanced from the more open eastern 
slope, across the hollow towards the wood occupied by the 
enemy, whilst a company of the 3rd battalion, 1st Regiment, 
which had been sent by way of the Saw Mill, wheeled up against 
the adversary's right flank. Being vigorously supported by 
two companies of the 7th advancing on the Worth road, and 
two companies of the 11th Regiment in tho Sidzbach valley, it 
succeeded in throwin^j back tho French sharpshooters into the 
wood, and in penetrating therein ; they had, however, again to 
abandon the position, as it was impossible for the support to act 
in the thick underwood. The skirmishers then ensconced them- 
selves as well as they could in front of the outskirt of the forent, 
against which thoy directed their Are. The companies of the 
11th Regiment also niaintiiined their position in a copse on the 
north-eastern spur of tho Friisch wilier heights. Still more to 
the left, 3 companies of the 5th Regiment had taken up a 
position extending from the southern edge of this wood as far 
as the Sulzbach. 

Tho detachments which rcmaiued in close order along the 
hollow and upon the slopes, particularly the 3rd battalion of the 
1st Regiment, suflered sensibly from the fire of the French 
artillery and musketry at Froschwiller. Kirchhoffcr's batteiy 
sought in vain a more eftective position on the right bank of 
the Sulzbach ; the enemy's sharp musketry fire compelled it to 
retire through Langensulzbach. With it also retired La Roche's 
battery, which had come to Slattstall with the other reseive 
battenes and the lancer brigade, and had meantime been 
brought forward from thence by way of Langensulzbach. La 
Roche's battery then came into action to tho east of the 

Tho 4th Bavarian Division was at first dependent on its own 
resources, as the 3rd Division was still watching in the direction 
of Bitsch, and tlie 1st Bavarian Corps had only just left In^ol- 
sheim. Moreover the Vth Army Corps was making no visible 

* The Snd company vas detached to the wooded heightf between the Bauer and 


progress %n the western bank of the Saner, and they them- 
selves were unable to support the infantrv in then* own front 
with artillery in an effective manner. All this prevented *iuy 
head being made against the strong heights of Froschwiller ; the 
foot of the position, which had been gained at considerable loss, 
could however be maintained for a time. 

Such was the aspect of affairs when a Prussian orderly officer 
brought verbal instructionH to (icncral v. ilnrtmann, at 10..30 
a.m., to suspend the contest.* It was by no means easy to 
carry out this order, as the struggle now raged with renewed 
vigour to the south of Langensulzbach, and the troops had 
become mixed up in fighting through the woods. 

General v. Hartmann first sent away the lancer brigade, and 
the greater part of the batteries to the bivouac at Lembach. 
Herold's battery remained in its position as a support to the 
infantry, and Speck's and zu Rhein s batteries were brought up 
from Mattstall to support the former battery if required. In 
addition to the foregoing, the two battalions left in reserve took 
up a supporting position at Langensulzbach. All detucliments 
which were engaged received orders to assemble in rear of the 

As the enemy did not press on very actively, the greater part 
of the troops succeeded by half-past 11 o'clock in withdrawing 
out of fire, and retiring behind Langensulzbach. On the left 
flank, the wooded peak between the Sulzbach and the Sauer 
was held, whilst the two companies of the 11th Regiment 
occupied the Saw Mill, and later on the two battalions of the 
5th the Old MiU. 

Before these movements were quite completed, a communica- 
tion was received from the Vth Army Corps at a quarter-past 
11 o'clock, that it had been resolved to attack the Worth 
heights, and that the co-operation of the Bavarians against the 
enemy's left flank was expectecL 

Shortly after the thunder of the guns reverberating from the 
direction of Worth, betokened too clearly that the struggle had 
burst out anew with redoubled energy. 

General v. Hartmann now resolveu to renew the struggle on 
his side, and in consequence ordered the ti'oops still effective to 
advance at once, and a brigade of the 3rd Division to be called 
up from Lembadi. 

Independently of this, the action was still ^oing on to the 
south of Langensulzbach. The two compames of the 37th, 
posted at Gorsdorf by the Vth Army Corps for the purpose of 
keeping up communication with tho Bavarians, had, when they 
believed that thev saw indications of the progress of the 
struggle towards Worth, passed the Sauer at tne Old Mill, and 

* Iliete instructions were probably coDsequent upon a written onler sent pre- 
TioQslj by the Commander-in-Chief to the Vth Prussian Corps to discontinue the 
combat But the latter had already assumed such proportions that effect could not 
be ^ren to the order. The Commander-in-Chief was not aware at the time of the 
action which was taking place at Langensulzbach. 


afterwards moved towards tlie steep heights on the western 
bank of the Sulzbach. The Ist company advancing on the left 
encountered such superior forces at the foot of a vine-clad hill 
that it was forced to retire to Gorsdorf. The 2nd company, 
however, opened up communication Avith the Bavarian detach- 
ments still in action, and the latter in concert with it continued 
the contest. 

We must now depict the proceedings of the Vth and Xlth 
Army Corps. 

Oommeooe- The chief of the general staff of the Vth Army Coi-ps, Colonel 

£Sle*by*tlw ^' ^* Esch, had proceeded to the advanced ffuard in consequence 

Yth Annj of the vigorous firing at Worth. When ne amved there after 

Corps. half-past o o'clock, the reconnoitring action had been broken off; 

12 0^*0!)* ^ ^^ *^® ^*^®^ ^^^^^' at this time, from the heights east of Worth, 

the firing from the direction of Langensulzbach was observed 
to be increasing in intensity, as well as the development of an 
action at Gunstett. Under these circumstances, Colonel v. d. 
Esch, vnth the concuiTcnce of the commander of the advanced 
guard, considered it imperative to resume the struggle at Worth, 
so as to prevent the enemy from turning with his whole force 
against one wing of the German army. The 6th light battery 
was again ordered to advance, and from a position somewhat in 
front of their former one, but still at a distance of 3,000 paces, 
to open fire upon the French infantrv. 

In agreement vnth the commander of the Division, Lieut.- 
Gencral v. Schmidt, who was present, further oixlers were given 
that the other three batteries of the 10th Division and the whole 
of the corps ai'tillery should come into action opposite the 
enemy's front, the 10th Division to the east of Diefienbach, the 
9th more to the rear on both sides of the road. 

The geneml commanding confirmed the measures reported to 
him, and appeared soon after on the field of battle, where ho 
assumed the command in spite of the wound he had received at 

At half-past 9 o'clock the entire artillery of the Vth Army 
Corps came into action in the following oraer on both sides of 
the Diefienbach-Worth road : to the north of it, on the right of 
and next to the batteries now in action, the two horse artillery 
batteries and the two heavy batteries of the corps artillery ; on 
the south, first the two light batteries of the latter and the other 
batteries of the 10th Division. Then followed the artillery of 
the 9th Division, the last battery but one of which reached as 
far as the Diefienbach forest, whilst on the extreme left fiank the 
2nd light battery took up a rather more foi-ward position. 

The command of the whole artillery was assumed by its 
brigade commander Colonel Gaede. The enemy's line of guns 
was in front of them, at a distance of from 2,400 to 4,000 paces. 

In conjunction with the 24 guns of the advanced guard of the 
Xlth Army Corps, which were in action further to the south, 
the 84 guns of the Vth Corps opened a very effective fire upon the 


enemy's position at 10 o'clock. It had hardly commenced when 
the mitrailleueeB found themBelves compelled to withdraw. The 
other batteries continued the cannonade, it is true ; but their fire 
was almost worthless, as the greater part of tlie shells which fell 
in proximity to the Pnissian ar filler}' failed to burst. The whole 
lino of French artillery was soon reduced to silence; only 
one battery on the left flank coutiuucd in an advantageous 

A pause occuired in the cannonade, during which the Prussian 
artillery directed its fire chiefly against the enemy's infantry, 
seeking cover in the woods and hollows of the gi'ound. Some 
fann buildings in Elsasshausen were also set on tire. 

Meanwhile the infantry of the Vth Army Corps had concluded 
its formation as follows : 

Of the brigade on outpost duty ^the 20th), the two first com- 
panies of the 37th Regiment had been at Gorsdorf from an 
early hour, the 3rd and 4th were posted as escort to the guns 
on the northern edge of the Dieffenbach copse. The two other 
battalions of the regiment fonned the first line of the main 

Sosition, 800 paces in rear of the Ime of guns. Of the 50th 
legiment, the 2nd battalion, as we have seen, was at Gunstett ; 
the other two battalions had occupied the western edge of the 
Dieffenbach copse and Oberdorf, on the left of the main position. 
The remainder on the 10th Division, viz. : the 19th infantry 
Brigade and 3 squadrons of the 14th Dragoons were more to 
the rear on the Worth road. The 9th Division had fonned up 
in sevei-al lines to the north and west of Dieffenbach : on the 
road to Gorsdorf were the 17t]i Brigade and the 5th Rifle bat- 
talion ; the first and fusilier battalions of the 59th Regiment 
were on the march towards the last-named village to strengthen 
that post. The 18th Brigade was between the Sultz- Worth 
high road and the Dieffenbach copse before mentioned. On 
the Spachbach road to the south of the copse were the 4th 

This position was taken up when the infantry of the 21st 
Division were visibly taking part in the action at Gunstett 
As the other portions of the Xlth Army Corps were approaching, 
and the superiority of our artillery was manifest, General v. 
Kirchbacn gave ordci"B soon after 10 o'clock for the advanced 
guard to occupy Worth and tlic heightH beyond. 

The 20th Brigade, after deducting the troops detached to 
Gorsdorf and Gunstett and those acting as escorts to artillery, 
had only an available strength of four battalions, which force, 
however, was supplemented by the addition of the 4th company 
37th Fusiliers, the 3rd company remaining with the guns. 

The 2 J battaHons of the Fusilier Regiment crossing the Saner 
at Worth, and the two bathilions of the 50th at Spachbach, were 
afterwards to ascend the Elsasshausen heights between the 
Froschwiller high road and the Niederwald. 

The details of the attack wore as follows : — Thr 2nd l>attilion 
of the Fusiliei-H found Worth again unoccupied. The Gth and 


7th companies crossed the Sauer on a bridge of planks and hop- 

SoleSy wnich had been mpidlj improvised in lieu df the one 
eetroyed. On the amval of the 5th company, which followed 
in reserve ulong the road, this bridge was made practicable for 
cavalry within half an hour. 

Meanwhile the 8th company liad waded through the river 
on the north, and the 4th on tlio south of the town, the men 
breast-high in the water, and tlu^ lattor company exposed to n 
heavy nmsketry and hIigU lu-c. 

They firet cstiiblishcd theniBcl vi h on the weat side of the place, 
and then commenced to climb the heights in front under a 
crushing fire from the enemy. In spite of the heavy losses 
which ensued, their efforts met with decided success until the 
adversary brought forward strong reserves, and by vigorous 
attacks, drove the thin and decimated lines down the hillside. 

The remnant of the five companies, with the colours of the 
two battalions brought out of action by Lieutenant Timm, 
collected in the little town, the western border of which re- 
mained in our handa 

The 10th and lltli companies had passed the river to the 
south of the town over a iiastily improvised bridge, and sub- 
sequently crossed the Ilagenau high-road to the attack of the 
heights ; the 9th and 12 th companies followed in close order 
and took up a position in the meadows, under cover of a hop 

Elantation. But the general forward movement of the enemy, 
efore which the 2nd battalion had to give way, was also 
directed upon the two foremost companies of the tliird battalion. 
These were likewise unable to offer any real resistance to the 
enemy's superior force ; the gi'eater pai-t inclined away to the 
left and connected themselves with the battalions of the 50th 
Regiment which had crossed between Worth and Spachbach. 
Part of the 11th company was driven back upon Worth, where 
it joined the deMs of the 2nd battalion. 

The two battalions of the 60th liad from their position on the 
left wing first advanced across the 6auer as far as the Hagenau 
high-road. The 2nd battalion then deployed hito Unc of com- 
pany columns to attack tlie Elsnsshausen heights. As the 
attack was taken in flank by the fire of the enemy's skirmishers 
in the Nicderwald, three companies of the fusilier battalion 
opened a brisk fire in the diretition of the forest from their 
position in the ditch bordering the road; whilst the 12th com- 
pany, fm-thcr to the loft, penetrated into the Avood and con- 
nected itself Anth the ti-oops of the Xlth Army Corps, which 
liad advanced through Spachbach. The 1st battalion, after 
ascending tlio heights, had even reached the vineyard in front 
of Elsasshausen, but was fnrced back as far ns the road by the 
enemy's forward movement, already alluded to. They were 
accompanied in their retreat by the three fusilier companies, 
one of which, the 10th, had remained with the 1st battalion, 
whilst the other two had approached to within 200 paces of 
the Niederwald. They cstaolished themselves by companies 


in the ditches alongside the road, the Ist battalion on the right 
the fneiliera on the left, and from this pomtion cheeked the 
enemy's pursuit with an eflTectivc firo. 

The artillery on the hciglits oast of the Sauer also took part 
in this action, as it« fire was not masked by the forward and 
rearward movements of the infantry, whilst the enemy's bat- 
teries had become almost entirely mute. 

After the fii'st unsuccessful attack on the Elsasshauson heights, 
the battalions of the 20th Brigade, which had been employed, 
found themselves — some in a Rhattored state — in the following 
positions at half-past 11 o'clock. 

At Worth the 4th, 5th, (Jth, 7tli, and 8th companies of the 
Fusiliers and part of the 11th company 50th Regiment. In the 
meadow south of the town : the 9th and 12th companies of the 
Fusiliers, wiiich were later on brought up to the Dieffenbach 
copse as escort to the artillery. Fiu-thcr to the south on the 
Hagenau hieh-road and to the north-west of Spachbach, were 
the 10th and 11th companies of the Fusiliers and the Ist batta- 
lion 50th Elegiment ; still further to the south, opposite the Nieder- 
wald, was the fusilier battalion of the latter regiment. 

The troops maintained these positions with gi-eat difficulty 
against the murderous firo and the repeated and violent on- 
slaughts of the enemy. The latter had meanwliile got a firm 
hold on the slopes, from any point of which, owing to their being 
thickly interspersed with liedf;:es, Ktoiio walls, uuildings, and 
plantations, he could suddenly fall upon tlio Prussian infantry 
whenever they tried to advance, and overwhelm them with a 
withering shower of projectiles. At no point were we successful 
in making any progress beyond AVorth ; in all our attempts the 
rearward movements were attended with especially heavy loss. 
For instance, Major v. Sydow collected all the available men of 
the Fusiliers at AVorth for a foi-ward movement ; he succeeded 
hi ascending the slopes and in advancing some hundreds of paces 
forward, but a counter-attack on the part of the French forced 
him back again to Worth. The town was held with some difll- 
culty against the onward pressure of the enemy, in which the 
19th Brigade now took part. The fith Grenadiers, after an un- 
successful attempt to gain ftTound beyond Worth, occupied the 
western and Routhcrn skirt ol' the town with the 1st and fusilier 
battalion in c<»mpany column.^, whilst tlic 2nd battalion protected 
the left flank of the long line of guns. The renewed assaidts of 
the French upon Worth recoiled before the mniiffled beaiing of 
these fresh troops ; but at 12.30 o'clock, as the aspect of affaira 
1)ecame more and more threatening, we were compelled to bring 
up the 2nd battalion 4(Uli Kegimeut in support. 

Meanwhile General v. Kircnba(;h had sent word to both of the 
neighbouring Corps that he Avas about to attack the enemy's 
position in his front, and tliat ho rahulatod upon tlie co-opera- 
tion of both wings. 

Wo have seen that this eomnninication rcaelied the Ilnd 
Bavarian (-orps at 11.15 a.m., just as the tth Division was col- 


lected at Langensulzbach. At noon General v. Kirchbach 
received an answer from General v. Hartmann that he had 
broken off the action by superior orders, but would resume the 
attack with the least possible delay. 

Of the Xlth Corps it was known that the advanced guard had 
crossed the Sauer, out after some severe fighting had been again 
driven back over the river. 

We must now recoimt the proceedings of this Anny Corps. 

OomlMiit of In confonnity with the Army Order of the preceding evening* 

nlid ITtihf G®^®™^ V. Bose had prescribed the following movements for his 
EShAnS* Corns on the 6th August : 

Carptbetween The 21st Division was to bivouac with its main body south-^' 
GiuMtaM and west of Holschloch,* its advanced guard was to occupy the 
totoUft^.) ^^^^^^ lying ^ front of and to the west of it, and communicate 
with the Vth Corps by way of Gimstett. The 22nd Division was 
ordered to direct its march upon the neighbourhood of Surburg, 
to occupy the latter place, to keep an especially watchful look- 
out on the side of Hagenau, and to maintain communications 
with Werder's Corps. The corps artillery was ordered to 
Holschloch, the train to Sulz. 

In consequence of these orders, both Divisions broke up from 
their bivouacs near Sulz at 6 a.m. The 21st Division wasR)rmed 
* as follows : advanced guard under Colonel Eoblinski consisted 
of the 4l8t Brigade, 2 squadrons 14th Hussars, the Ist light and 
2nd heavy batteries and part of the sanitary detachment ; the 
rest of the Division formed the main body ; a battalion of the 
82nd Regiment remained at Sulz to protect the amiy head- 

About 7 a.m., while on the inarch, the sound of guns was 
audible in the direction of Worth, but as it again ceased the 
men moved into the bivouacs previously indicated, and com- 
menced to tarke up their quarters and place outposts. 

On emerging from the wood, tlie head of tlie advanced guard 
observed a French camp on the heights behind Gunstett; at the 
same time the cannonade at Worth increased in intensity. 

In consequence of this, Lieut.-General v. Schachtmeyer, com- 
manding the Division, at once ordered tlie 3rd battalion 80th 
Regiment to advance to the support of the troops of the Vth 
AiTny Corps at Gunstett, whilst the rest of the infantry of the 
advanced guard formed up at the western issue of the wood. 
The 87th Segiment in first, the 80th in second line ; the first 
battalions of each regiment were on the left wing. The entire 
Divisional artillery fui-ther on the left took up a concealed poei- 
t on south of the road. 

At 8 o'clock a hostile battery appeared on the heights beyond 
the Sauer ; at the same moment a battalion was seen descending 
the slopes to attack Gunstett. 

* HOlflclilocli is not shown on Plan 2 $ it lies to the north of the Gunstett -Surburg 
rc*d at the eastern edge of the wood trayerted by it. 

The advanced guard now received Orders to follow the bat- 
talion which had already preceded them in this direction, with a 
view to defending the eastern bank of the Saner; the 2nd batta- 
lion 87th Regiment, which had connnenced placing its outposts, 
was still engaged in assembling on the skirts of the wood. 

The Divisional artillery first took up a position on the lioights 
to the north-west of Gunstett. The 1st battalion 80th Regi- 
ment was ordered as escort, a half battalion taking post on 
each flank of the line of guns. The artillery became by degrees 
engaged with five hostile batteries, three of which, including a 
mitrailleuse battery, were on the heights opposite the liruch 
Mill, the other two brought a flanking fire from the spur east- 
ward of Elsasshausen. llowever, in conjunction with the left 
flank battery of the Vth Army Corps, posted in front of the 
Dieffenbach copse, they also succeeded in reducing the French 
artillery to silence at this point, and tlius were enabled after- 
wards to bring their fire to bear upon the enemy's infantry as it 
came in sight. We shall presently see of how much importance 
this had become. 

The four battalions still available of the advanced guard had 
formed two wings during the advance. On the right the fusilier 
battalion and the first two companies of the 78th Regiment 
marched in first line upon Oberdorf. At that place the troops 
came under an effective shell fire which caused the fusiliers to 
continue their march on Spachbach in companies at open inter- 
vals. In second line behind them came the 2nd battalion 8()th 
Regiment. On the left wing of the brigade the 3rd and 4th 
companies of the 87th Regiment continued their march on 
Gunstett, followed by the 2nd battalion which had meanwhile 

The nth Rifle battalion marching at the head of the 42nd 
Brigade advanced to Gunstett in order to strengthen that post. 
This brigade followed closely on the 41st as far as the western 
edge of the wood, and formed up outside it, with the hussars 
on the left wing. 

The six companies of the 87th Regiment which had advanced 
to Spachbach crossed the Sauer at that place, some wading, 
others scrambling over hastily felled trunks of trees. Under 
a brisk fire from the enemy's guns they reached the opposite 
bank. As the latter aff(mled no cover, and any furfher delay 
could only be productive of loss, the officers with rajjid resolu- 
tion rallied the men immediately next to them and <laKhed across 
the meadows and the Hagenau high-road as far as the Nieder- 
wald. At the first rush the French skirmishers along the whole 
line were driven into the wood, whither they were followed bv 
the 87th. Outside it there only remained the 9th company with 
the colours and the greater part of the 1 2th company ; the latter 
occupied a ditch running parallel to the road and between it 
and the river. The 2nd battalion 80th Regiment, following in 
second line, formed up at first in company columns on the 
eastern bank of the Sauer at Spachbach, but on perceiving the 



decisive iiTuption of our troops into tho wood on the other side, 
h'kewise advanced over the nver. Although our troops giuned 
ground in the Niederwald, connecting themselves on the right 
with the 12th company 5()th Regiment of the Vth Army Corps, 
they eventually encountered very superior hostile detachments oy 
which their further advance was prevented. During tliis stub- 
bom tight in the wood the companies had become separated 
and for the most part had lost their leaders, so that afl unity 
of action was impossible. Under these circumstances no pro- 
tracted resistance could be offered, as about the same time that 
the French advanced against the troops of the Vth Anny Corps, 
some strong detachments on the soutnern side of the Nieder- 
wald pushed forward on the flank and rear of the 87th. The 
latter was repulsed down the slope and over the main road 
with considerable loss, the four companies of the 80th Regiment 
bein^ also involved in the rearward movement. Their com- 
mander having previously fallen with his horse, Captain v. 
Borcke had assumed the command ; when the latter at this 
juncture received a mortal wound, all further unity of action 
likewise ceased in this quarter. Borne away by the skirmishera 
in their retreat from the wood, everyone maae a loish to the 
Sauer, and the troops reached Spuchbach before they could be 
re-formed into anytning like order. Only a few detachments, 
chiefly the divisions of the 12th company posted as previously 
mentioned in a ditch, held their position on the western bank ; 
the enemy only followed as far as the border of the wood. 

An attempt made about the same time to cross at the Bruch 
Mill was equally unfavourable in its result as the abortive ad- 
vance at Spachbach. On the approach of the left wing of the ad- 
vanced guard, the 3rd battalion 80th Regiment, which was sent 
forward to Gunstett, had posted the 10th and 11th companies 
at the western issue from the village, whilst the six companies 
of the 87th Regiment advanced from their position to the north- 
west of Gunstett towards the Bmch Mill, us soon as the 42nd 
Brigade came up. The rifles established themselves in the vine- 
yards between tlie village and mill. 

After half an hour's sharp skirmishing the rifles and the 6th com- 
pany 50th Regiment crossed the Sauer at the Bi-uch Mill, but, on 
reaching the embankment on the high road, were impetuously 
attacked on the left flank by a superior hostile detiichment and 
driven back to the river, where they received support from the 
2nd battalion 87th Regiment. The attempt on tne part of the 
enemy to foree the passage of the bridge was repulsed by the 
effective fire of this battalion, and of two companies of the 
50th Regiment in the vineyard. A weaker French detachment 
meanwhile gained a Ann footing in a hop garden not far from 
the bridge, and from thence directed an annoying musketry 
fire upon the eastern bank of the Sauer. 

General Ml ua- I^^ ^^^^ manner thus detailed were the three Coips of the 
tion at noon. lUrd Anny in fir^t line committed in greater or less force to an 


engagement, during the course of which advantages, which 
had been derived, had either to be again pclded o^ving to 
heavy losses, or were maintained only with dilHcuUy against 
the vigorous onslaughts of the French. 

General v. Kirchbach felt compelled to take the responsibility 
upon himself of a very momentous decision. He knew that the 
Commander-in-Chief did not contemplate a genend action on 
that day, but merely a change of front. The cannonade in the 
direction of Worth, which had been heard at the head-i^uartei-s 
at Sulz in the early morning, caused the Crown Prnice to 
despatch Major v. Halmke of tlie General Stafl* to that point. 
This officer at 9 o'clock reported the advance of the Bavarians, 
the entrance of the advanced guard of the Vth Army Corps into 
the action, the consequent alarm of the whole Corps, and the 
ordering forward of its artillery, and that brisk firing was 
audible in the direction of Gunstett. As tlie Crown Prince did 
not wish to give battle until his forces were concentrated, he 
had thereupon sent word to General v. Kirchbach '* not to con- 
" tmue the struggle, and to avoid everything which might 
♦* mduce a fresh one." This was the order which also reached 
the Ilnd Bavarian Corps by mistake, and, as we know, caused 
them to break oflf the action. Part of this Corps was already 
retiring on Lembach, wliile the remainder was still collecting at 
Langensulzbach. Ueadily as General v. liartmann had promised 
his assistance, he was not at this juncture in a position to render 
effective aid. 

Circumstances were not more promising on the left flank 
where the advanced guard of the Xlth Corps was thrown 
back in disorder to the Sauer, and part of it even over the 

In fi-ont of the Vth Army Corps, we had, it is true, eventually 
succeeded for the time in reducing temporarily to silence the 
enemy's artillery, and in establishing ourselves on the fm-ther 
bank of the Sauer ; but the difficulty of a direct attack upon the 
strong and well-defended position occupied by the enemy on the 
further heights luid only become too manifest during the pre- 
vious course of the action. A renewed forward movement of 
the Vth Army Corps could not fail to lead to a dcciKive battle, 
in which there was no positive certainty of a well-timed co- 
operation of the Corps advancing in second Hne. 

On the other hand, the fact was patent that it was impossible 
to break off the action under its present conditions without 
entailing great loss on the advanced guard, and that any with- 
drawal of detachments from the right to the loft bank of the 
Sauer, in conjunction with the rearward movements of the 
Corps on either flank, would give the adversary undisputed 
right to claim a material victory, wliich, were it ever so unim- 
portant, could not be disregarded in its moral bearing. It may 
also be added that the rumbling of railway trains which had 
been audible m the night, and had continued diu'ing the morn- 
ing, led to the inference that the enemy was receiving constant 

n 2 


reinforcements, so that a deferred attack would only have met 
with increased difficulties. 

Lastly, by an immediate attack in front, Oeneml v. Kirch bacth 
might reaHonably hope for decisive results even if the co-opei*ation 
from Langensulzbach and Gunstett should not be brought about 
imtil later. After mature consideration of all these circumstances, 
the Gcuerid ordered his C(»rp8 to renew the advance ; he re- 
ported to this effect to the Commander-in-Chief, and requested 
the neighbouring Corps to len<l their co-operation. 

At this time General v. liose, who reached Gunstett in person 
at 11 a.m., had also ordered the advance of the 22nd Division. 

After the retirement of the rifle battalion a sharp standing 
musketry action had broken out opposite the Bruch Mill, in 
which the French skirmishers in particular suffered heavy loss. 

At half-past 11 o'clock the latter renewed their attempt (m the 
bridge, but were repulsed by the well-aimed fire of the Prussians. 
When General v. Kirchbach's fresh request for a joint continu- 
ance o{ the stniggle reached him. General v. Bose replied that lie 
would not fail to support the Vth Corps; he ordered up his 
corps artillery, and sent word to the 22nd Division to attack the 
right flank of the enemy's position. 

On the other hand the promised advance of the Bavarians 
coidd not be put in practice at present. The airival of the 
reinforcements coming up from Lembach could not bo expected 
for some little time. The infantry which had fallen into some 
confusion during the action at Langensulzbach had been partly 
assembled in rear of the village ; part of it was still in action 
on the south of the village covering the retreat. The greater 
part of the troops needed a respitti from the action owing to 
exhaustion and the huge expenditure of anununition, so that 
only those who had taken a minor part in the struggle of the 
forenoon were sent forward at iii'st to the attack. 

TheHrd battalion 11th Regiment, in conjunction with the .5th 
Prussian Rifle battalion, crossed the Sulzbiichel at the Saw Hill, 
and pressed forward to the wooded eastern slope of the Frosch- 
willer heights. !Somc divisions moved away towards the right 
and linked thcniKclveH with the .'h-d battalion 5th Regiment. The 
latter had advancred from the Koulhern issne of Lungelsulzbach 
to the projecting wooded ridge which faced them to the south, 
where the companies joined the skinnishers of other regiments 
which had been left in* rear. A further advance upon Friisch- 
willer failed, owing to the obstinate way in which the enemy 
defended the j)Ositi(»n in front. 

During the morning the adversary had shown but weak forces 
at Neeh wilier. A sudden irnq)tion in thjit direction, even with 
a small number of troops, held out a fair promise of success, and 
the lOtii Rifle batUilion, Speck's batteiy, and a squadron of the 
2nd (jhevauxlegers were api)ointed to this service. But as one 
rifle company was still in the wood near the Old Mill, and 
an«>tlier was left behiml at Langelsulzbaeh in give snpj)urt 
wherevir it might be reqniietl, only two conq)anieH rL^manied 


for the enterprise. They advanced, followed by the battery and 
the squadron, through the wood in the direction of Nechwiller, 
but on reaching tlie western edge, found their debouch pre- 
vented by superior hostile forces, and after half an hour s skir- 
mish were obliged to retreat. The French tirailleurs did not 
allow them to retire unmolested, but followed into the wood, 
until they had fallen back upon the 3rd battalion 5th Regiment, 
close to Langensulzbach. 

The remaider of the 4th Bavarian Division was not as yet 
completely assembled, and consequently took no pai-t in the 
renewed stniggles at this point. J'he other two battalions (»f 
the 5th Regiment were at the Old Will; llerokVs and zu Rliein's 
batteries, to the north-east of LangensulzUich ; in rear, the 
remainder of tlie Division on the Wattsfcill-Langensulzbach road. 
In this position they awaited the arrival of the 3rd Division. 

As the thunder of the guns at Worth had, contraiy to expec- 
tation, become more pronounced, the Crown I*rince, accompanied 
by his staff', betook himself in that direction at noon. On the 
road he received General v. Kinihbach's report, that he (Geneml 
V. K.) could no longer stop the action, and that he had called 
for the support of the Corps on either side of him. 

At 1 p,fn, the Crown Prince reached the heights in front of 
Wof^thj and personally assumed, the conduct of the battle. 

Before proceeding with our description, it is necessary to 
glance at the movements of those parts of the army now ad- 
vancing to the battle field, so as to learn their respective 
situations at this juncture. 

The 1st Bavarian Corps was to come into line between the 
Ilnd Bavarians and the Vth Pnissian Corps. Its advanced 
guard — 2nd Infantry Brigade, 3rd Chevauxlegei*8 and a 4*pr. 
battery — under the command of Major-General v. Oiif, had 
marched at (> a.m. from Ingolsheim vi& Memelshofen upon Lam- 
pertsloch, at which place, although very much hnpeded on the 
march by the heavy state of the roads, it arrived at half-past 
10 o'clock. The two squadrons of the vanguard had previously 
moved out in extended order towards both flanks of the posi- 
tion to be taken up by the cmtposts between Mattst^iU and 
Giirsdorf. The remainder of the 1st Division* followed the 
advanced guard at an interval of half an hour, and subsequently 
the 2nd Division along the same road. 

The cannonade which had been audible suice 8 o'clock, and 
was now increasing hi intensity, caused at half-past 11 o'clock 
the commander of the 1st Division, Lieut.-General v. Stephan, 
who was with the advanced guard, to order their further advance 
to be directed upon the village of Fixischwiller, now visible in 
the distance. Written ordera were sent to Major-General Dietl, 
commanding the main body, for the 1st Brigade to follow and 
the 6-pr. batteries to be sent to tlie front at an increased pace. 

Meanwhile the brigade of the advanced guard crossed the 

* The order of march of the 1st DiTision is given in Appendix XI. 


Soltzbacliel, the iiifautiy between Prenschdorf and Mitschdorf, 
the other anns at the latter plaee. At 1 p.m. the former had 
formed np to the Honth of OorKclmf, tlie tAvo ontpont Iwittalions 
in first, tlie otlierfl in Recond and third Hne ; the regiment of 
cavahy remained in rear of (lor^dorf. Tlie advanced-ji^iard 
battery had taken up a position on the heights to the south of 
the villafj^e; it was joined later by the two 6-pr. batteries of 
the Division, ly which the line of guns of the Vth Army Coi-ps 
"waR extended still more to the right. 

Thetse and the three Bavarian batteries, subsequently joined 
by Gruithuison's 4-pr. batteiy, direeted a combined fire against 
the French artillery on the nglit bank of the Saner. 

The 1st Infantiy Ih-igade had reached Preuschdorf, and thenco 
moved across country in the direction of Gcii-sdorf. The rest of 
the Corps was on the march somewhere alxiut Lobsann. Alxmt 
this period, General v. d. 'J'ann, commandhig the Corps, came 
on the field of battle. He first made his way to General v. 
Kirchbach for the jmrpose of obtaining infonnation as to the 
state of the engagement, and to concert as to the measures to 
be adopted. 

The 5th Infantiy Brigade and the Lancer Brigade of the TInd 
Bavarian Corns, advancing from Lembach, were still half an 
hour's march trom Mattstall. 

Tlie two Divisions of Werdcr's Corps had moved from the 
neighbourhood of Asclibach to their new bivouacs at Reimers- 
willcr and Ilohwiller. 

The Wiirttembcrgershad connncnced their march* at i\ (/clock. 
At 9 o'clock their advanced guard had reached the neigh.bour- 
h(M»d of Schwabwillcr and Betsclidoif, which hadl)een indicated 
as the position of the outposts for watching tlie Hagenau forest; 
the main body of the [)ivi8ion arrived at Reimei-SAviller at 10 
o'clock. After thi^ firing at Worth had been heard in the early 
morning. General v. Werder was informed by General v. Bosc 
at 11 o'clock, that he had ordered the advance of the Xlth 
Army Coi-ps upon Gunstett in the direction where the roar 
of the cannonade was heard. In consenuence of this the follow- 
ing ordci's were issu(Ml for the Wilrttemuerg Division : — 

Th(5 1st Ih'ig.ide (T) ba1tali«>nH, 2 H(|nadronH, 1 battery) re- 
mained in their outpost position, with u view to defending it 
efficiently against any attacks from the Hagenau forest. The 
Cavalry Brigade, still 5 squadrons strong, was to advance to Sur- 
burg under J hi jor- General Count v. Scheler. Being placed under 
the ta-ders of tlie general connnanding the Xlth Army Corps, it 
first took u]) a position at the issue from the Westerholz, and 
later on at (lunstett. Of the 2i!d Biigade, the 3rd Rifle battali<m 
with the 6th and Oth batleries had already been moving in the 
direction of Gunstett since 10 o'clock. The other battnliona 
followed after 11 o'clock, but were detauied in Surburg by the 
trains of the Xlth Coi-ps, so that it was nearly 2 p.m. before the 

* Tlio urilcr uf iiunrh ib givfii in Ajiin'iuHx XL 


brigade was assembled ready for action between the AVester- 
holtz and the Saner. 

Meanwhile the 3rd Brigade, wliich was still at Reimerswiller, 
was ordered forward to DiefTenbach by special direction of tho 
Commander-in-Chief, wliich movement was joined in by the 
reserve artilleiy. The head of this cohmm, consisting of 
5 battalions, 2 squadrons, and fi batterieH, rcac^hed llolschkxli at 
lialf-past 1 o'clock. 

The Baden Division, which did not leave its qnarters until 
7.30 a.m., had reached Holiwiller, where it was to hold itself in 
readiness for a furtlier advance. 

The 4th Cavalry Division had remained in its bivouac at Scho- 
nenburg, as prescribed in the Army Order of the 5th August. 

The Battle under the Conduct of the Crown Prince 

(From 1 p.m.). 

^Vhen the Crown Prince assmned the command on the battle- Prefatory 
field at 1 p.m., he found two of his Corps involved in a brisk *^"^®"- 
action. Only a part of the infantry of either liad crossed the 
Saner, the remainder stood fast on the near bank of the river 
in reserve. These purely direct and isolated attacks against 
the position, in itself strong everywhere and held by a far superior 
force, had as j'ct led merely to a detention of the enemy, a result 
nevertheless of no slight iinj^ortance. 

The advance of the 4th Bavarian Division against tho flank 
had been broken off, but a resiunption of the movement was 
ordered. Another Bavarian Division was suflicientlv far ad- 
vanced to be able to come shortly into line, and thus complete 
the immediate link with the Prussian right \vii\g. 

On the left wing, the Xlth Army (/orps was now collected, 
and in rear of it, a considerable part of the Wiirttemburg Division 
might be shortly expected. 

The appearance of the 3rd Bavarian Division was anticipated 
at an early moment ; the other parts of the llird Army could 
not become effective until a later hour. 

In rear of this front, extending over a space of 2^ miles, from 
Gorsdorf to Gunstett, there were, it is true, no real reserves avail- 
able, yet with the co-operation of a powerful artillery of some 
200 gims, the strength of the Vth Army Corps was adequate to 
debar the enemy from breaking through, whilst in the course 
of the afternoon a force of fnmi '50 to 40 thousiind men wouKl 
be operating against ea(;h of his wings. 

Supposing that Marshal MacMahon had unite<l one Divimon 
of the 7th, and possibly Lesi)ai*t'8 Division of the r)th Cinps 
wth tho four Divisicms of the 1st Corps, as the most recent 
reports led us to suppose, tlu; strength of the Freiieli army 
could not exceed (50.000 men. 

Independently of the fact that the struggle could not now be 
broken off for reasons previcmsly set forth, we could scarcely 
indulge the hope of fighting later <»n under such advantageous 


circumstances as the present. It might rather be expected that 
the Marshal wouhl perceive the danger which threatened his 
position, and would evacuate it as hodu as there was a cessation 
m the attacks, whicli were vigorously and unremittingly directed 
upon him, more especially by the Vth Army Coips. The Crown 
Prince, after weighing all these circumstances, decided upon 
pressing the battle to a conclusion. 

The first point was to infuse harmony into the attacks of the 
foremost fighting line, and to direct reinforcements as they came 
up to the points where, as far as could be foreseen, they would 
be most effective. With this object the Crown Prince issued 
the following orders at 1 o'clock : — 

" The Ilnd Bavarian Corps will press upon tlie left flnnk 
of the enemy in such a manner as to gain a position in rear of 
it towards Keichshoffen. The Ist Bavarian Corps will enter 
into line as rapidly as possible between the Ilnd Bavarian and 
the Vth Army Cori)s, holding a Division in reserve. The 
Xlth Cor|)8 will advance with energy via Elwisshausen and 
past the Niinlerwald upon Froschwiller. Of Werder's Coi'ps 
the Wiirttemburg Divisicm '\>'ill follow the Xlth Corps on 
GunHtett and over the Sauer; the Baden Division will move 
for the i)resent as far as ISurbnrg." 

These orders wen- communicated to the Vth Anny Corps ; it 
was, however, instructed to <lilay its attack upon the heights in 
froiit, as the co-operation (»!' llu; Ist Bavarian and Xlth Army 
Corps could not be exjK.itcd for one or two lionrs, that of 
Werder's Corps not for three hours. 

Storming of the Hkigiits betwekn Worth and Froschwiller 

BY THE Vtii Army Corps (1.30 p.m.). 

Before the ri'C(5i]>t of this last comnnmication, (ieneral v. 
Kirchbach had, for tlu; better secnrity of Worth, pushed forward 
botli the 1st and thu iusilier battalions of tlie 4()th to the Sauer, 
where thi-y were held in reserve on tlie east bank. The infantry 
oftlu? lOlli DiviHimi, wilh the (sxrcption of the detachmentH at 
(jiunstett, (jlorsdoil* and those with the artillery, was now wholly 
employed in the foremost fighting line at Worth. The Oth Divi- 
sion had been already (U'dered up so as to be within reach for any 
eventuality. S|)achbaeh was assigned as the lino of direction for 
the 18th, AVorth for the I7th Bri-ade. Theadvance of the latter 
to the north of Diell'enbach had been covered by sending on to- 
Avards tlie Sauer the 5th Rifle battalion, the 4th company of which 
now joined the brigade in its advance. The other three com- 
])anie8 turned towards (Jorsdorf, crossed the Sauer at that place, 
and then moved forward, the 1st company on the left against an 
eminence, occupied by Turcos, the 3rd on the right agahist the 
heifihts south of Langi'nsnl/.bn<h. Both rifle companies, indis- 
crinihialely mixed with the single company of the 37th and the 


Bavarian detachments, continued the Bkirmish in this direction, 
whilst the 2nd company remained in reserve at tlie Old Mill. 

The advance of the 17th Brigade* through Worth met with 
frequent obstmctions. The bridges had been repeatedly 
damaged, the roads were encumbered with troops, woimded 
men, and frightened townspeople ; the bursting of Rhc41s in- 
creased the confusion. For these reasons we only succeeded at 
fijrst in uniting the Ist and fusilier battalions of the 58th on the 
right bank of the Sauer, at the north-western issue from the 
town. The 2nd battalions of the 58th and 51)th llegiments 
remained temporarily on the eastern bank of the river, where, 
with the 2nd battalion (Uh Uegiment of the 19th Brigade, tlu^y 
formed the available infantry reserve of the Army Coips. The 
4th Dragoons formed up at the eastern issue from Worth. 

The 47th Regiment, leadhig the advance of the 18th Brigade, 
had waded through the Sauer, to the northward of Spachbach 
by companies, in order to support the two battalions of the 5()th 
Regiment, which were holding their ground with difliculty in 
the cutting on the high-road on the western bank. When the 
47th now prepared to advance from the meadow land on the 
further bank towards the Elsasshausen heights and the Nieder- 
wald, they were checked by a forward movement of sujierior 
hostile forces. As it therefore seemed desirable to have a fence 
on the eastern bank of the Sauer to full back upon in case of 
emergency, the greater part of the fusilier Iwittalion, whi(;h had 
not yet been in aeti<m, was again withdrawn to that point. 
Withthesame object m view the Ut hand 11th companies 7th King's 
Grenadiers, which were then advancing, occupied a shelter trench 
on the heights north of Spachbach, whilst the other parts of the 
regiment moved through the village to the western bank of the 
Sauer. Here meanwhile the repeated offensive movements of 
the French toAvards the Uagcnau road were nulliiied by the 
resolute bearing of the fo\n- battalions of the 47th and ftOth 
Regiments, although it called forth every effort to keep the 
enemy's superior force at bay. 

In this hot stniggle both regiments lost, their commanders; 
Colonel V. BurghoiV wan killed and Ooloncl Mit^hchnann was 
badly wounded. 

The vigorous and opportune advance of the King h ( Jrenadiers, 
joined also from Gunstett by the 2nd battalion 5bth Regiment, 
enabled us however to hold the ground which had been gained 
on i\\c left wing. The Kings Grenadiers under Cohmel v. 
Kothen advanced in eight company columns; those of the U 
battalion in the centre, the 7th and 8th on the right, and the lOti. 
and 12th on the left wing reHj)ectively. The two fusilier com- 
panies, left behind in the shelter-trenches on the left bank of the 
Sauer, also rejoined the regiment by way of Spachbach, the 5th 
and 6th companies remaining for a time in reserve at that village. 

* Two battalions of tliis brignd<\ ns wc have seen, were dt^ptit cited lo (JurMlorf. 
See p. 157. 


The two companies of tlie left wing turned towards the Nieder- 
wald, those of the Ist battalion advanced in the direction of 
Elsasshaufien. The two companies on the right wing with 
detachments of the 47th Regiment captured Galgen Hill* and 
obstinately held it in spite of the enemy's repeated attacks. The 
1st H. A. battery of the XTth Corps came into action on the hill 
shortly after and opened fire on Elscisshausen. 

As a special reserve to the Vth Army Corns could be dispensed 
with after the 1st Bavarian Division haa advanced into tlie 
fighting line, General v. Eirclibach determined to lead forward 
the whole of the troops on the western bank of the Sauer to the 
attack of the heights, A favoumble moment was chosen about 
2 p.m., wlien a fresh fonvard movement of the Frencli upon 
Worth had been repulsed with great slaughter. B(»th battalions 
of the 5bth from the north-west issue of the town dashed for- 
ward in order to get a firm footing in the hop plantations near 
the Sauer. After a short skirmish they charged across the 
meadows in company columns, the fusilier battalion along the 
Froschwiller hign-road, the 1st battalion fui-ther to the right 
against the steep eminence to the north-west of Worth, the 
edge of which was gained and occupied by dense bodies of 
skiimishei'S. All further advance failed in the face of the 
vigorous fire of the well-covered lines of French sharp- 
shooters, to oppose which the Prussian companies were likewise 
broken into skirmishhig order. The 1st battalion 58th Regiment 
now formed the extreme right flank of the fighting fine at 
Worth. To its left, on and alongside the Froschwiller high- 
road, advanced the 5 battalions of the 19th Brigade, the line 
being prolonged further to the left by the 3rd and 4th companies 
of the 37th Regiment. The meadows were crossed in company 
columns under the hottest fire from the enemy. The skirmishers 
succeeded in gaining a firm position on the slopes; but all 
attacks uptm the heights were fruitless until a favourable diver- 
sion occun-ed on the right flank of the brijjade. Here Colonel 
v. d. Esch, chief of the general staff, was bnnging up the fusilier 
battalion 4()th Regiment from the northern entrance to the town, 
with a view to turning the tAvo nearest vine-clad spurs. The 
12th company fomiod the skinniBhing line in front, the remainder 
followed m column ; only a small detachment fi'(mi the 9th com- 
pany remained in rear to guard the colour and five other colours 
oelonging to battalions fighting in front. After the fusiliei-s had 
followed the road leading over a narrow embankment between 
a wet ditch and a hop plantation, they drove in the enemy's 
skiiTnishers lining the slopes, and with a charge reached tne 
heights almost simultaneously wnth them. The assailants were 
here received with a murderous fire at close quarters from two 
half-moon shaped breastworks. After responding to this for 

• Gnlgen Hill is tlic nnme given to the spur of the hciglits Imlf-way between the 
nortlicm edge of the Nicderw&ld and (ho souOiern border of Uie town of WCilh 
(Altitude G»7). 


dome time with file-firinp:, Major Canipc, ccnnmnncling the bat- 
talion, placed hiniBelf with the surviving oflicers at the head of 
his men, and stormed the breastwork. Bayonet to bnyonet 
they pressed after the adversary, wlio fled in a north-westerly 
du'ection, imtil they were compelled in tinii to withdraw by the 
enemy's fire from the edge of the opposite wood. As the open 
crest of the heights was almost everywhere within the most 
effective range of musketiy, and the valley between the two 
spurs was swept by mitrailleuses, no further progress could be 
attempted at present. A standing musketrj'^ action took place, 
during which tiie edge of the heights aiid tlu^ captured ciitrcnch- 
ment were maintained. 

On the left wing of the brigade, Captain v. Wolff, with the 9th 
and 12th companies of the 6th Regiment, had repulsed the 
enemv's renewed attacks upon the south-western issue from 
Worth. He then rallied all the detachments engaged there, 
and, although wounded, led them colour in hand against the 
advancing French troops ; ho reached the heights which pro- 
ject towards the south-east, where he fell, wounded for the 
second time. The two right-flank companies of the 1st batta- 
lion 46th Regiment also took part in tliis resolute attack ; the 
2nd battalion, with the two companies of the fusilier regiment, 
moved further to the left upon Elsasshausen. 

While these successes were gained on the wings, the centre, 
composed of the 1st battalion 6th Regiment and the 2nd of 
the 46th Regiment, succeeded in breaking the resistance of the 
enemy on the high-road, so that the whole of the upper edge 
of the vineyard projecting towards Worth was sun*ounded by 
the Prussian line of skirmishers. 

In order, however, to maintain the ground, which hnd been 
purchased at such great sacrifices against the unceasing and 
energetic attacks of the French, the general commanding found 
himself compelled to bring up his last reserves fi-om the eastern 
bank of the Saner. It was above all things necessary to reopen 
the artillery fire, which had been for the most part masked by 
the advance of the infantiy on the west bank. The batteries of 
the 10th Division and half the corps artillery crossed the Worth 
bridge, which had been restored by the poutocm company, and 
endeavoured as well as they could to make their way through 
the blockaded streets. The artillery of the 9th Division, the 
8rd light, and the two H.A. batteries of the corps artillery, 
escorted by a company of the 6th Regiment, advanced as far 
as the Worth-Gorsdorf road ; the line of guns was subsequently 
reinforced by batteries of the 1st Bavarian Corps. 

The whole of the infantry on the eastern bank of the Saner 
was drawn into the foremost fighting line. The three fusilier 
companies of the 47th Regiment,* which, during the fii"st ad- 
vance of this regiment, liad retired to a jiosition of support, 
advanced through Worth past the artillery, and followed the 

* Tlie 9i1i roin(iaiiT was Hghting near tlie 60th Brginieiit. 


troops engaged to the south of tlie Froachwiller road. The 
2nd l>attaiious of the Hth* and 58tli Regiments crossed tlie Sauer 
south of the town by a foot bridge, the former regiment then 
moving towards Froschwiller, the latter upon Kl6a.s8hau6en. 
The 2nd battahon r)9th llegiment, whieh had made use of the 
same bridge, was kept temj)orai'ily in rear for the protection of 
the artillery passing through Worth. The pontoon company was 
sent forward to the vineyards in support of the infantry on 
receiving a report of the state of aHan*s at that place, leaving 
only a small detachment at the bridge. 

Thus all the forces of tlui Vth Army Corps were employed in 
gaining a firm footing on the woKtern bank of the Sauer, and in 
occupying the adversary in front until the neighbouring corps 
were m a position to operate effectively against his tianks. 

The whole of the struggle had up to this time consisted of a 
series of oftensive movements on both sides. The nature of the 
ground and the powerful effect of the lire caused the assailant 
terrible losses on each occasi(m, and enabled the defender gene- 
rally to hold his i)osition. It was only by degrees and by dint 
of hard fighting that the Prussian troops made any progress. 
Their battalions be(;ame mixed up, the greater part of the 
officers were killed or wounded ;t the enemy, on the other hand, 
brought up fresh reserves unceasingly. To persist under such 
circumstan(!es demanded the unshaken confidence of the general 
connnanding, the (uiergy of all the leaders, and the entire 
devotion of the troops. "I'he snceessful atUick of the Xlth 
Army Corps upon the enemy's right wing was the first sign of 
tlie long looked- for support. 

Advance of 
the 22nd 

Attack of the XItu Army dmvH upon the Fuench 

Right Flank. 

We left the Xlth Army Corps at the point where the 41st 
Brigade was pressed back to the eastern bank of the Sauer, 
and the 22n(l Division had received orders to advance against 
the enemy's right flank. 

When tlie cin-ps artillery took the Surburg-Gunstett road 
through the fon^st, the Division moved round the south side of 
it. The 48rd Brigade led the advance, then came the artillery 
of the Division, and last of all, the 44th Brigade. The former 
brigade Avas deficient of two fusilier battalions. But of these, 
as already observed, the fusilier battalion 82nd Regiment, told 
oft' to occupy Surburg, left a company in that village, and fol- 
loAved as part of the 44th Brigade. The fusilier battalion OSth 
Regiment and the 13th Hussars had been ordered on the morn- 

* Willi the exception of the company with the guns on the right bank of the 

t Besides those mentioned and others, Colonel r. Stosch commanding the 4Gth, 
llajors T. Hcugcl, 6th Regt., nnd Cunipe, 4Gth Regt., Colonel t. Bothiner, commando 
lug the 17th Brigade, and Captain Scheibert, commanding the pontoon company. 


ing of the 6th to make a reconnaissance m the Ilagcnaii forest. 
These troops also joined tlio 44th Brigade hiter on in the 
neighbourhood of Gunstett; only a squadron of hussars re- 
maming on the Hagenau rodd. 

Of the battalions of the 43rd Brigade which first came up, 
Lieut.-General v. Gersdoi-ff. commanding the Division, sent 
forward those of the 32nd Regiment to the south angle of 
Gunstett, and those of the V)5th fui*ther to the right along a 
forest path. Most of the Divisional artillery followetl the former. 
The unlimbering of the 3rd heavy battery south of Gunstett 
compelled a French mitrailleuse battery to withdraw at once. 
All four batteries then moved up to and next the line of gims 
of the 21st Division at Gunstett, whilst the infantry formed 
up to the south and north of the village. The 44th Brigade 
was also ordered to take the direction of Gunstett. The line of 
guns was further reinforced by the arrival of the corps artillery, 
the two heavy batteries of which could not, however, find room 
to come into action, so that altogether there were 12 batteries 
of the Corps in action. 

Meanwhile, of the 2nd Brigade, the two firet battalions of the 
88th Regiment had taken up a position at Spachbach and in the 
ravine to the south ; the other three battalions of this Brigade* 
were to the north of Gunstett, with the 14th lIuHsars in their 

Lieut.-Geneml v. Oersdorff now gave orders for the 32nd 
Regiment to advance by DUrrenlxich upon Morsbronn, and for 
the 95th Regiment to move up to the fighting line of the 21st 
Division. As the nature of the preceding struggles had neces- 
sitated the deployment in skirmishing order of the various bat- 
talions and companies of the 41st Brigade along the whole line 
from Gunstett to Spachbach, the large units had ceased to exist 
as such before the commencement of the attack, and detachments 
of different regiments were indiscriminately mixed togcither. 

Commencing with the right wing the course of the struggle 
was as follows : — 

The two battalions of the H8th Regiment crossed the Saner AcUance upon 
iat Spachlmch in company columns at open intervals, and, in ^1»^» Nieder- 
conjunction with portions of the 80th and 87th Regiments Co^ureof 
assembled at that village, advanced towards the eastern edge Albi-echu- 
of the Niederwald, which was lined by the enemy. During hauser Hof 
their advance across the open meadows they were met by a f"^ Mors- 
brisk fire of musketry, and also Avith some slnrapnel from the 12 to l o'clock. 
Elsasshausen heights, this latter doing little execution. The 
skirt of the forest was carried, and as the course of the action 
necessitated a gradual wheeling to the right, the northern edge 
of the wood was reached, albeit in rather loose order. The Ist 
company 88th Regiment had been left at first in rear with the 
battalion colour, but now likewise received orders to move 

* The lit bftttalion 82iid Regiment wm, it will be remetnbored, with the head- 
qimrten at Sulz. 


forward. The retreating (letachments of the enemy made a 
Btand in a wood between the Niederwald and Elsasshauseny 
from which the forces at hand were insufficient to expel them. 

In the centre of the line of attack of the coi-pe, six musketeer 
companies of the 95th Re^ment* advanced trom Gunstett by 
the liruch Hill towards Eberbach. On the left they were joined 
by the Gth and 8th companies 87th Regiment. The 5th company 
of this regiment remained at the briclge, the 3rd, 4th, ancl 7th 
took up a position on the Ilagenau- Worth road ; the 3rd and 4th 
companies of the 8()th Regiment in rear, and the 10th and 11th 
companies further to the left. The rifles, followed by the 2nd 
company 95th Regiment, moved on the right of the Eberbach 
roacl agiiinst the Albrechtshaiiser Hof.f 

The dense body of sldrmishei-B, preceding the entire lino, 
gained the Ilagenau high-road at the first rush. The enemy 
made an obstinate resistance on the heights in rear, in which he 
was favoured by an open range for his projectiles down the 
eiisteru slope, and by the massive buildings of the Albrechts- 
haiiser Ilof. Consequently the att^ick made but slow progress 
at first, and in doing so the left wing succeeded in gradually 
rciiching the cover afTijrded by the hop plantations on the 
Morsbronn-Froschwiller road, and from tnence outflanking the 
Albrechtshaiiser Hof. 

The enemy did not evacuate the place until the buildings had 
been set on fire by the artillery, and imtil a musketry fire at 
close range was brought to bear upon the occupants by our 
troops on the cai)tured heights. The detachments, which had 
fallen into some confiision during the attack, were first re-formed, 
BO as to be in a position to meet the adversary's counter-attacks, 
which might now bo expected from the NiedorAvald. 

General v. lJt)se had remained on the field in spite of a bullet 
wound in the right hip, which he had received on the Qimstett 
heights. On the other hand, Cohmel v. KobHnski commanding 
the 41 st Brigade was so badly injured by the fall of his wouudea 
horse that he was obliged to quit the battle-field. 

On the extreme leftjlank of the army corps the two musketeei't 
battalions of the 82nd Regiment had in pursuance of orders com- 
menced their march to Morsbronn rt4 DUrrenbach. The 44th 
Brigade, bending away to the left fi'om its line of march, had 
followed in this direction, and their leading detachments had 
just come under fire, when they received General v. GersdorfTs 
order to remain in nisorvo at (Junstett, In order not to with- 
draw lh<5 troops outof Jicfion, General v, Schkt»i>^), commanding 
the brigade, only ordered the 83rd Regiment, wiuch was further 

* Tho 71 h aiul 8th compmuei rouiiuuod with tbo guns. 

t After the truopi of tlio Xlih Army Corps had pasied tho Sauer, the 2ml batta- 
lion 60th Kcgimoiit alto endeavoured to ioln hit own oorpt (the V th) on the WOrth- 
Hagenau road, and, at already mentioned, made an opportune appearance with tb« 
King't Qrenadiert on the left wing. 

X £aoh ordinary regiment of infantry hot onQ fotilier and two mutktteev 
battaliont.— -Tr. 


to the rear, to retire to Gunstoit, where it was joiiiocl by the 
fusilier battalion DSth Rcg-iini^iit. Tlie offi'usive movement njwn 
Morsbronn was meanwhile carried out in tlie following manner: — 
In firet line came tlie nnisketeor battalions of* the 32n(l Regi- 
ment in eight company coluniiiK; in rear of and overlappijig 
them to the left were the 2nd and the fusilier battalions U-Ath 
Regiment, each having 2 company columns in first and a half 
battalion in second line ; then followed the three fusilier com- 

5 allies of the 32nd Regiment, Avhichhad come up behind the 94th, 
'he Dtli and 12th companies of the 80th Regiment advanced 
from the lUuch Mill in rear of the right wing of the firet line, 
wliilst the 1st battalion 94th Regiment occupied the passages at 
Biblisheim ; the left flaiik of the attack was protected by three 
squadrons of the 13th Hussars. The troops had to move forwaril 
under a most destructive artillery fire, from which they found 
no protection until they had gahied tlie foot of the heights. The 
village of Morsbronn, which was but weakly occupied, was caj)- 
tured at the fii'st nish by the 1st battalion 32nd Regiment, 
whilst the 2nd battalion obtained a firm footing on the heights 
further to the left. 

Having by the capture of the positions of Morsbronn and 
Albrechtshauser Ilof won the first points of support on the 
western bank of the Saner, the next question was a combined 
advance against the Niederwald, wliitherthe French riglit wing 
was gi'adually withdrawing. To can*y this into effect, the 
Prussian troops at Morsbronn must wheel to tlie right and move 
in a north-westerly direction. They were in the act of making 
some preparatory movements to a fresh formation for battle, and 
had only partly traversed Morsl^roon, when they were attacked 
by cavalry from the neighbourhood of Eberbach. 

General Lartigue, commanding the Division on the French Attack o! 
right flank, had very properly recognized the fact that any ^^^''^^if*" . 
further advance of the adversary from Morsbroon could not fail ^wbrigade^ 
to compromise most seriously the French positions before Worth, Morsbronn, 
In order to free this flank, which was tlie more innnediately 1 o'clock, 
threatened, he gave orders for Mieliers cuirassi(»r brigade, which 
was posted behind it in the bottom eastward of El)erl)a(;h, to 
send forward a regiment against llio assjiilants' left llaiik. More 
took place than was contemplated in the order, for both cuirassier 
regiments and part of the Gth Lancers, Avhich had joined them, 
were set in movement. — The ground over which the attack was 
made had apparently not been reconnoitred beforehand, and was 
extremely unfavourable for cavalry, as rows of trees cut down 
cl(»se to the ground and deep ditches impeded tlie movement of 
large bodies in close formation, whilst the infantry had a perfectly 
open range over the gentle slopes of the otherwise exposed 

In fii-st hue rode the 8th Cuirassiers in column of squadrons ; 
on their right rear came 3 squadrons of the 9th Cuinissiei'S in 
line, the 4th in column of divisions behind ; still further to the 
right rear were the Lancers. 


With no enemy at firat in view, this band of horsemen, more 
than 1,000 sabres strong, advanced haphazard towards Mors- 
bronn. H<n'o-like they bmved the musKctry fire directed upon 
their left flank from the Albrechtshaiiser Hof, in their endeavour 
witli rapid strides to strike the adversaiy while in process of 

The latter prepared to advance, with the 32nd Regiment in 
first, tlie 94th in second line. The 2nd and 4th companies of the 
right flank battalions of tlie former regiment were on the 
heights to the north-west of Morsbronii, the Ist and 3rd companies 
were still in the streets of the village. The 2nd battalions of 
the 32nd and 94th Regiments had already debouched on the 
left of the place, the former in two half-lmttalions in line at close 
intervals, flie latter in company columns ; the 3rd pioneer com- 
pany was likewise present. The fusilier battalions of these 
regiments were still to the south of Morabronn ; the companies 
of the 80th Regiment coming from the Bruch Mill were only 
approaching the northern entrance of the village. 

When the first line of troops appeared on the heights, they 
were received by so violent a musketry fire from the copses 
south-east of Eberbach, that their further progress was impeded 
for the time being. They were then cliarged by the hostile 
masses of horse. 

The infantry might have found shelter in the contiguous 
vineyards and hop plantations, and some trees in front also 
offered immediate cover. They received the venturesome attack, 
however, just as they stood and, without forming either battalion 
or rallying squares, in those formations which permitted of the 

freatest effect being obtained from their fire. The 8th Cuirassiera 
elivered their first charge upon the infantry which had just 
debouched from the village. Here the cuirassiers came under 
the simultaneous fire of the two companies and of the two half- 
battalions of the 32n(l Regiment, which latter had deployed and 
changed front half right. In a few moments the cuimasiers 
suffered fearful losses. The remainder, charging past the right 
and lijft of the infantry, and partly breaking through the 
skinniHluTH oi'tlin 2nd (Mnnpany, endeuvonred to gain the open 

(ground Ihrough the villago or round ils nortliorii nidu, but full 
bill of the two companioN in the village streets and the 
ftkinnishers of the 80tli Uegiment. The commander of the 
French regiment, 17 officers, and many men fell into the bands 
of the SOtli alone ; 130 mi wounded hornes were captured. Very 
few of the brave l)and succeeded in cutting their way througli 
and esimi)ing in a south-easterly direction. 

The 9tli Cuirassiers fared no better. They were received at 
a distance of 300 paeiis by a well-aimed fire from the pioiu er 
company, which was posted in a broad group on the left of 
the mfaiitry. One angle of the group was broken by the cavaliy 
as they charged by ; part of the horsemen then passed round the 
village and part turning into it likewise fell in with the 8()th, 
Tlie mingled renmant of both regiments, purmied by a file-fire, 
dashed onward in a soutli-easterly direction. 


The lancers forming the last line of attack stnick the left wing 
of tlie PrusRiau infantry. Here the 8th company 32ncl Regiment 
wheeled to the left and deploying into line aelivcrcd a volley fol- 
lowed by an effective file-hre upon the charging cavaliy. Ihose 
who passed scatheless pressed forward thi'ough Morsbroim, follow- 
ing tne cuirassiei's in the direction of DuiTenbach and Walburg. 

The remnant of the scattered horaemen endeavom'ed by a long 
circuit to rejoin their infantiT, which gave rise to fresh and 
bloody collisions with the 13th IIuRsari^aud tlie infantry coming 
up from the Sauer. 

That regiment of hussars, which was intended to protect the 
left flank of the troops at Morsbronn, had, o^\ang to the nature 
of the ground, closed in its three squadron division-colunms pre- 
paratory to a fiU'ther advance. Suddenly the remnant of the 
French cavalry brigade approached them ve^Ure d tef^re from the 
rear. It had approached to within 300 paces of the hussars, 
when the latter wheeled about by divisions and attacked on the 
spot, the divisions now in rear moving out to the right and left 
upon the enemy's flanks. A brief hancl-to-liand struggle ensued, 
in which the French cavalry, already broken, was repulsed and 

|)ursued for some distance. After the 1st squadron of hussars 
lad rapidly re-formed and again attacked, and tlie 4th squadron 
had defeated the attempt <»f a Frcncli detachment to Avithdraw 
unbroken through Laubach, the scattered remnants of the French 
horse fled in an easterly direction towards Walburg. In their sub- 
sequent wanderings they came repeatedly under the fire of the 
Prussian battalions at and in rear of Morabronn, many horaes 
and men being captured. MicheFs brigade and the 6th Lancers 
were almost destroyed ; veiy few horsemen could have reached 
the army unscathed. The Piiissian hussars lost 1 man killed, 
23 wounded, and 35 horses ; the losses of the infantry were very 

This chivalrous advance of the cavaliy had enabled the French 
infantry of the extreme right wing to withdraw unmolested to 
Eberbach and the contiguous portion of the Niederwald, towards 
which point they were now followed by the Prussian troops fi*om 
Morsbronn. The first line wuk fonnod of the whole of the 32nd 
Regiment, with the pioneer company on its left ; in roar marched 
the two companies of the 80th Regiment and a miscellaneous 
detachment of different regiments. The fusilier battalion 94th 
Regiment advanced along the Eberbach valley further on the 
left, its 9th and 10th companies travei-sing the copses on the 
easfem bank, whilst the other two on the west side of the brook 
moved forward without much opposition upon the village of that 
name. The 2nd battalion 94th Regiment on the right followed 
along the road from Morsbronn to Froschwiller in rear of the 
right wing of the 32nd, and behind the former, the Ist batta- 
lion of the regiment, which had meanwhile come up from 

The line advanced in this order without encountering any 
resistance at first, and ultimately came hi contact on tiio right 



Advance oi' 
tlio Frcncli 
tigiiinst the 
liaiiscr Ilof. 
Advance of 
I he Xlth 
Army Corps 
agnin^t the 

with the troops at tlio Albrcohtshaiiscr Ilof, whore the following 
events had meanwhile taken place : — 

At 1 o'cK)ck, as we know, me troops, which had become sepa- 
rated in the attack, were engaged in assembling at this point, the 
companies and half battalions in second line having even by 
degrees been brought up into the fighting line. The troops were 
generally veiy much mixed up ; besides the rifles there were 
6 companies each of tlie J)5th and 87th Regiments, and 4 com- 
panies of the 80th. The 83rd Hegiment, hitherto held in reserve 
at Gunstctt, had like the fusilier battalion of the *J5th passed the 
Sauer at the Bmch ililland was moving towards the Albrechts- 
haiiser Ilof. 

The distiilnition of the troops of the Xlth ArmyCoi-ps at that 
time is shown on the sketch opposite. It will be seen that the 
first lino was fonned roughly of three main groups, viz., at 
Moi-sbronn, at the Albrechtshaiiser Hof, and in me Niederwald, 
whilst there was still an available reserve at Gunstett. 

Such was the situaticm when, shortly after the foregoing 
cavalry attack, bodies of French skimiishers followed by strong 
colmnns, advanced towards the Albrechtshaiiser heights. The 
first force of the blow fell upon the rifle battalion while still in 
skirmishing order, compelling it to fall back. The troops further 
to the south were also mvolved in the rearward movement ; the 
position at the Albrechtshaiiser Ilof had to bo abandoned. The 
nro of the ailillery at Gunstctt, hithci-to masked by its own 
ti-oops, rapidly checked, however, the further advance of the 
French infantry ; the Prussian elarmishei*s succeeded in making 
a stand and rencAving the contest, until they were most oppor- 
tunely supported by fresh battalions arriving from Gunstett. 

The first to deploy was the fusilier battiilion of the 95th, wliich 
coming up past the right of the rifles, moved in four company- 
columns against the south-east side of the Niedenvald ; its sbr- 
mishera, closely followed by the supports, forced their Avay into 
the wood and steadily advanced in spite of the repeated counter- 
strokes of the enemy. In rear followed the 83rd Regiment, of 
which three fusilier companies followed along the Worth road ; 
the two nnisketeer battalions advanced to the attack on tho 
left of the 9t5lh, each having' its two centre compauioN in 
front, the Hank companies followng as half-battalions. Tho 
heights to the north-west of the Albrechtshaiiser Hof were re- 
captured, and a hostile forward movement, before which the Ist 
battalion had to give Avay for the time, was repulsed on tho 
aii-ival of the 2nc\ battalion; both l^attaliona then made a com- 
bhied charge, dnuns beating, towards the southern border of the 
Niederwald. The adversary now fell back to tho interior of the 
wood, having continued his defence, supjDorted by the fire of 
artilleiy and mitrailleuses, until the assailant was within 50 
paces of the outskirti^. 

This resolute advance of tho three fresh battalions was followed 
by the troops which had suffered so heavily in the provioub fight» 
a connexion being thus established with the right flank of the 
32nd Regiment coming from lilorsbroun. Tne Prussian line 

ShetoQ^ diecbstcibuticKLGf the stoops <]£l})eJUTAEii|^ Cbupe 
in. the.Altack on fhe ^^edcmnld. 

{M.!tr,||IFIELD. LitH 'ii. BtfOHD S LO^(>-T Cm< 


skinniahing witli ecatterod troopers of Michers brigade, advjiiucd 
towards tlie outskiiia of the wood abandoned by the eiieniy. 

The let company 95th Regiment captured a I'm-co colom*, the 
bearer of which had been shot ; the 0th company 32ud Rep^ment, 
moving foi*ward upon Eberbaoli, took MarHlinl MaoStalion's 

WhilBt the entire southern edge of the Niederwahl was now 
occupied, the north-eastern part of which had boon for some 
time maintained by the detadiments whicli crossed at Spach- 
bach, the fusiUers of the 94tli Regiment moving along the 
Eberbach on the extreme left flank were approaching the village! 
of that name. 

As the 11th company had established itself firmly in a hollow 
road to the south of the village, and the 12th was advancing to 
outflank the entire south side of the place, while the other two 
companies were also approaching from the east bank, the enemy 
retired to the heights on the north-west. He maintained this 
point stubbornly as long as the troops held out in the Nieder- 
wald, so that the fusiliers were unable at first to debouch from 
the captured village. But when the oft-mentioned skii't of the 
wood nad to be abandoned, the foimer occupants of Eberbach 
also withdrew further northward. The fusilier battalion left 
its 9th company in Eberbach, and with the remaining three, 
established a connexion with the other two battalions of the 
remnent on the west side of the wood. 

Tlie right wing of the French army having thus been thro^vn 
back into the Niederwald, the next point for consideration was 
the Crown Prince's instructions, which had meanwhile arrived, 
for a further advance upon the hostile positions at Elsasshausen 
and Froschwiller in concert, as mucli as possible, ^vith the attack 
of the Vth Army Corps in front. In order to ensure its success. 
General v. Bose did not hesitate to employ his whole force, and 
therefore gave orders to bring up the artillciy and the three 
battalions still in reserve at Gunstett. 

General Hausmann, commanding the artillery, had already 
brought forward the 1st H. A. batteiy to the westcm bank of 
the oauer, to await a favourable opportunity for comhig into 
action ; it was followed by the 14tn Hussars, which deployed 
between the Niederwald and the Sauer, the battery continuing 
its advance along the Worth high-road in rear of the fusiUers 
of the 83rd Regiment. Shortly after, the whole of the artillery 
of the Xlth Army Corps crossed the Sauer and took a northerly 
direction behind the infanti-y ; last of all came the 1st Hght, 
3rd and 6th heavy battenes, which had been originally at 
Gunstett, but had been likewise ordered to move forward on 
hearing of the advance of the Wilrttembergers. The general 
movement was joined in by the escort to the guns — the 7th 
and 8th compames 95tli Regiment. 

The three oattalions of the reserve experienced much diffi- 
culty and loss of time in efrcctiiig the passage of the greatly 
swollen Sauer to the south of Spachbach. The fu.silicr battaUon 



88 til Regiment, witli two eompauy-eolumus iu the fii'st line, 
advanced up the ravine leading to ElsasBhatisen ; the 82nd formed 
up between the brook and the high-road in four half-battalions 
as second line. 

Meanwhile the foremost fighting line had penetrated further 
into the Niederwald. 

The 32nd Regiment, marching parallel with the left wing 
outside the wood, ascended the heights north-west of Eberbach, 
capturing numerous fugitives coming out of the wood. It then 
moved towards the Froschwiller-Reichshoflfen high-road. The 
13th Hussars reconnoitred further to the left. 

The Ist battalion 83rd Regiment, leading the advance of the 
infantry in the wood, deployed on the right, the 2nd battalion 
on the left, of the Morsbronn-FroschMaller road. They were 
followed in second line (reckoning from the left) by the 94th 
Regiment, the re-formed portion of the rifle battalion, and the 
fusnier battalion 95th Regiment. In rear of the left flank of 
this second Hue came the six musketeer companies of the 95th, 
partly re-fomiud and partly mixed up with portions of the 80th 
and 87th Regiments, which during tJic advance of the French 
on the Albrechtshauser Ilof, had got out of order and had not 
been al>le to reorganize in consequence of their gieat loss in 

Slowly and not without great sacrifices, owing to the stout 
resistance ofl'ered by the enemy's skirmishers, the two musketeer 
battalions 83rd Regiment gained ground in the wood. All eight 
companies had gi-adually to deploy into one line of skinnishers, 
the leading of which was very much liampered by the thick 
undergrowth. They ultimately reached the northern edge of 
the wood. An open space, 200 paces in breadth, separated 
them from the copse, l)etV)re which the previous attack of the 
88th from Spacjhbach had c<»nic to ast^uid. The four nmsketeer 
battalions of the 83rd and 88th Regimentw now deployed into 
line along the northern skirt of the Avood, The miscellaneous 
detachmentH <>f the 95th, 80th, and 87th Regiments, came up 
from the rear b('tweon those regiments, while at the same time 
the 7th, 47th, and 50tli Regiments, fighting on the left wing of 
the Vth Army Corps, also lent their co-operation. 

The French still occupied the copse in question ; between it 
and Elsasshausen were strong reserves. Up to this time their 
attacks had been solely directed upon the 88th, which regiment 
was driven back l)y a succession of blows ; they now directed 
the whole of their ellbrts against the i'resh troops which appeared 
on the northern edge of the wood. After a short but vigorous 
skirmish, strong bodies moved fonvard from the wood along 
the Morsbronn road to the attack of the Niederwald, and forced 
the attenuated and exhausted lines of the 83rd to retire. These, 
however, received support from the advancing troops. Close 
to the road, and on both sides of it, were deployed the musketeer 
battalions; further to tlie left the fusilier battalion 94th Regi- 
ment, and on the right of the road, the unbroken part of &e 


rifle battalion. With di'iiniB beating they advanced to uicot 
the enemy, who had gained ground in the wood, the movement 
being again joined by the repulBod firet line. The Frcncli 
skirmishers were driven in, a battalion in column was dispersed 
by the file-fire of the 7th and 12th companies 94th Regiment ; 
the open ground was traversed simultaneously with the re- 
treating enemy, and the wood captured. The fusiher battalion 
88th Regiment penetrated simultaneously into the wood from 
the east, and was there once more united with the other two 
battalions of the regiment. Colonel Kohn v. Jaski, commanding 
the regiment, was here killed by a shell. 

The result of these successes was to force back the right wing Capture of 
of the French army to Elsasshausen ; we were now immediately ^^■^■•^"*"»o"« 
in front of the enemy's position at that point. It was strongly 
occupied ; several batteiies were posted on the heights westAvard 
of the ^dllage, and in rear of it strong reserves were visible. 

The French artillery at Elsasshausen played so effectively 
upon the northern edge of the Niederwald and the copse occu- 
pied by the Prussians, that the latter had to choose between 
a further advance, or the relinquishment of the advantages 
which had been purdiased at such great saci-ifices. Against the 
fonner altematiye was the consideration that the troops were 
exhausted, that their unity had been broken in the preceding 
struggles, and that there were only tliree intact battalions in 
reserve — the fusilier battalion 83rd Regiment, which advanced 
with the artillery along the Worth roao, and the two battalions 
82nd Regiment, which had been brought up viA Spachbach. On 
the other hand, any pause in the attack under j^resent circum- 
stances M'ould relieve the enemy, and enable him to turn with 
his whole force upon the Vth Anny Coi-ps. 

General v. Bose, fully appreciating the situation, had already 
drawn forward his nearest batteries m order to ovei-power the 
French artillery. Colonel v. Bronikowski with the 1st H. A. 
and 5th heavy batteries, took up a position in rear of a cheny 
avenue east of Elsasshausen ; further on the left, the 3rd H. A. 
5th and 6th light, the 3rd and 4th light of the 2nd division,* 
and further to the rear the 4th heavy, came into action, under 
the command of General Ilausmann. This line of guns directed 
its fire upon the village and the enemy's guns alongside it. In 
doing so, it was compelled to approach rather closely to the 
French infantry, which was chiefly posted on the road from 
Worth to Gundershoffen, forming a (loop cuttini^ witli fences 
on each side. The artillery succeeded iu setting lire to Elsass- 
hausen, but did not force the enemy from the village. General v. 
Bose now ordered a combined attack. On the signal, *' The 
whole will advance," the skirmishere, preceded by their officers, 
dashed from the Niederwald upon the enemy with ringing 
cheers. Those in the second fighting line who could do so, 

• A DiTirion of field artillery coDSwts of four baitcrioH : 1 wo ]ic!iv> (O-pr.) and !\ro 
light (4-pr.)— Tr. 


followed ; the detachments of the Vth Anny Coi-pe nearest to 
tlie riglit whig joined in the attack, which was powerfully sup- 
ported by the l)atterie.s in action. Despite the withermg fire of 
the Fniich, the open space between the wood and village was 
qui^ld}' travciised. Tlie fusilier battalion of the 83rd, and part 
of tlio 2nd l)attalion of the 82ntl, mixed with detachments of 
the Vth Anny Coips, forced their Avay into Elsasshausen from 
the caytwarcl; the ninahidrr of the last-mentioned battalion 
endrjivdurod by paysing nj) a .small gidly on the right of the 
village to take it in rear. The fusilier battalions of the 82nd 
and 88th, the 1st and 3rd companies of the 83rd, the 1st bat- 
talion of the i)4th, and detachments of other regiments in rear 
of all, moved against the western heights from which the 
enemy's artillery had been firing. Two guns and five miti*ail- 
leuses here fell into the victora' hands. 

The storming of the village after the preceding fight in the 
wood, had mixed up the brigades, and liad paruy Drokeu up 
the miity of the battalions. The front of the new position ran 
in general along the road from Elsasshausen to Gundei'slioffeu. 
The 44th was the only brigade wliich was pretty well together; 
on its flank and rear were portions of all the various regmient«, 
which in their present condition offered no true reserves. 
Neither did the battalions in first Ihie present for the time the 
ai)pearance of tactical units. The ofHcera were everywhere 
engaged in re-forming their companies and battalions ; they 
were animated in their efforts by the presence in the line of 
skirmishers of the superior officers, notably of Generals v. Bose, 
V. Gei-sdoi-fl', and v. Schachtmeyer. 

On tlio left of tlu^sc masses, which were still somewhat in 
disorder, the 32nd Regiment continued its advance on the west 
of the El>erbach, towards the Reichshoffen road. The muske- 
teer battalion of the 88th, and the fusilier battalion of tlie 94th, 
assembled hi the Niederwald, the 2nd battalion 87tli Regiment 
more to the rear at Eberbach, the fusilier battalion at Spach- 
bach. On the right of and intermixed with the infantry of the 
Xltli Corps accumulated at Elsasshausen, the left wing of the 
Vth (Jorps— narts of the 7th, 4t;tli, 47th, 50th, and 68th Regi- 
ments — liad likiiwise t^iken part in the preceding struggle. 

The Ijatteries which had co-operated in the capture of Elsass- 
hausen had also moved forward. The two H. A. batteries were 
now \vithin 2,000 paces of Froschwiller, on the north of the road 
froiii Worth to Elsasshausen, and with their left Hank close to 
the lattci- village. The 5tli lieavy buttery, when endeavouring 
to find a still more forward position, had stuck fast in the soft 
^Tound of a deep hollow, and after hooldng in additional horses 
under lire, had great diflieulty in even bringing up 3 guns into 
positioj) for the present. The three batteries * of the 22nd Divi- 
son, on (luitting the Worth road, had taken up a position on 
the heights south-east of Elsasshausen, and prepared the infantry 

* 3i*d und 4th light, 4th heavy balteriM. 


attack on the village, directing their fire at times npon distant 
bodies of hostile troops. The remainder of tlio artilleiy ap- 
proached the scene of action along the Worth road, firetly the 
artilleiy of the 21st Division, and lastly the throe batteries 
which had been held in reserve at Gnnstett. 

Although the foregoing circumstances could not fail to 
militate ae^ainst the leading of the infantry, the troops accmnu- 
latcd at Eisasshausen commenced, nevertheless, to move forward 
in the direction of Fros(jlnviller. The 83rd Kegiinent. with other 
detachments, ascended the heights north of the meadows in 
their front, and penetrated into the position occupied by the 
French artillery. An energetic attack on the part of the enemy, 
however, put a stop to then further pro gi*css ibr the present. 

After the loss of Eisasshausen ana tlie heights north-west of Attack of the 
the village, the French felt the necessity of relieving their en- f^]'^*^^'^ \ 

dangered right wing by vigorous counter attacks. Strong ^vMiTu^n \ 
bodies of infantry were set ui movement from Froschwiller upon El^iiMhauson. 
Eisasshausen and that part of the battle-field further to the 
eastward between the latter village and Worth. 

The blow fell fii'st upon the Pnissian right wing at Eisass- 
hausen— the fusilier battalion 83rd Regiment, the 2nd battalion 
82nd Regiment, and those parts of the Vth Corps which were 
fighting at this point. Having no intact supports, almost with- 
out leadera, loosened and exhausted by the long and violent 
stniggle, these troops were unable to withstand the clun'ge of 
the French masses, and sought shelter in the Nicderwald. The 
detaelunents following in rear found themselves involved in this 
retrograde movement ; as also the 3rd H. A. battery, which was 
in the act of moving round the village in order to find a position 
to the west of it. The forward movement of the advereary, 
which up to that point had been attended with success, now 
came to a standstill, owing to the advance of parts of the 94th 
Regiment upon his right nank. General llausmaim ordered the 
H. A. battery and the 6th light battery, which had come up 
abreast of it, to halt and fire case ; the retiring detachments 
were quickly re-formed and led forward anew. 

At the commencement of the French attack, the 1st H. A. 
batteiy had come up near to Eisasshausen, where a favourable 
opportunity ofierea for its employment. The 2nd battalion 
58th Reg-iment approached the east side of the village simul- 
taneously with it, just as the heads of the enemy's columns 
appearea on the heights to tlie north, scarcely ROO paces distance. 
Although at this time the Prussian infantry furtlier to the left 
was retiring, the H. A. battery unlimbered ; and, whilst other 
batteries of the Xlth Corps came into action eastward of Eisass- 
hausen, this battery, after a few rounds of shell, received the 
advancing foe "with case, until the latter found himself compelled 
to retire when only 150 paces distant. Captain Sylvius, the 
commander of the battery, was wounded on this occasion by a 
miuket ball. 

Shortly after the attack of the French infantry upon Elsa^^s- 


hauBen had been beaten off, they made an attack with their 
cavahy, which also failed. 

Bonnemain's Divifiion, consisting of four regiments of cuiras- 
siers, had quitted its original position at me soui'ces of the 
Eberbach for one further to the right, ui consequence of its 
exposure to shell fire. When the order for attack anived, the 
1st Brigade was to the right front of the 2nd in a fold of the 
ground ; both brigades were in close column of squadrons. 

The Prussian battalions, after repulsing the attack of the 
French infantry, had by this time nearly re-foiined. They fol- 
lowed up the enemy m his retreat to Fi-oschwiller throu^ 
Elsasshausen and over the high ground to the north, whilst in 

f position on both sides of the latter village there was a total 
orce of seven batteries of the Xlth Army CorM.* 

The ground for the attack of Bonnemain's Division was, like 
that of Michel's brigade on the previous occasion, extremely 
unfavourable, as the numerous ditches and stumps of trees, as 
high as a man, impeded the movements of bodies of horse, and 
the infantry found cover in the fenced hop plantations and vine- 
yards. For this reason the infantry only here and there formed 
themselves into knots on the approach of the cavalry; the 
majority remained in their original formation, and received the 
cavalry with an annihilating file-fire, ably supported by the 
batteries, which first fired shell and then case. 

In this way the 1st Cuirassiers, leading the attack by succes- 
sive squadrons, were compelled to retire with great loss, having 
previously been checked m their career by a ditch. The 4th 
Cuirassiers moved rapidly towards the left for a distance of more 
than 1,000 paces, in order to find a favourable position, but were 
also dispersed by the adversary's fii*e without being able to reach 
him. The commander of the regiment was wounded and fell 
into the hands of the 2nd battalion 58th Regiment. A still 
worse fate befel the other cavalry brigade, which was now 
coming up. The 2nd Cuirassiera, attacking by wings, lost, 

* Tho troopa wliicb were more or less engaged against tbo French cuirassiers, 
were the following : — 

XIth Aniiv Coitva. 

Ist battalion CUh Regiment. 

Fusilier bnttalion 88th Regiment. 

1st battulion 83rcl Regiment. 

Fusilier battalion 82ml Regiment, and detachments of other rcgimonta. 

3 guns of otli heavy 1 

6th and'zn.! light - [ix't^^rios co.,tw«Kl of EliosAonscn. 

1st and 2nd hoary -J 

''th r It - ' > batteries westward of Elsassliauscn. 

Vtu Abuy CoBpa. 

5th and 6th companies 60th Regiment. 
1st battalion 7th Regiment. 
2nd battalion 58th Regiment. 

1st battalion 60th Regiment, and ])art9 of different companies of the 
mil, 46th, and 47th Keiriments. 


beeddeB 5 offioers killed and many wounded, 129 men and 250 
horses ; the 3rd Cuirassiers lost tne colonel, and although only 
half came under fire, they had 7 officers, 70 men, and 70 horses 
killed and wounded. Tne remainder took to flight in every 

Shortly after this failure of tlio gi-eat French attack on Elsass- 
hausen, the head of the 2nd Wiirttemberg Brip^ado readied that 
place ; at that time, as wo shall see, the Ist liavariaii Division 
nad also come into action. It now only remained for the Com- 
mander-in-Chief to deal the last decisive blow upon Froschwiller. 

GENERiVL Advance and Capture of Froschwiller. 

After a struggle lasting for several hours, both Prussian Coi*ps 
had succeeded in driving in the French army upon the key-stone 
of their position at Froschwiller, in destroying the greater part 
of their cavalry, and from their position on the south threatening 
the line of retreat upon Reichshoffen. But these corps were 
gradually losing blooa in isolated struggles against the stubborn 
resistance of the brave enemy, who was able to tuni with all his 
sti'ength against them alone, since the 4th Bavarian Division had 
been thrown on the defensive after the failure of its cnteiprise 
against Neeh wilier, and tlie troops of the let Corps were de- 
tained by the swollen waters of the Saner. 

The arrival of German brothers in arms was more and more 
to be desired, in order by their fresh strength to ensure the 
success of the assault upon tlio last bulwark of the enemy. 

The Crown Prince had been able to watch clearly the course 
of the battle from his position on the heights between Worth 
and Diefibnbach, and especially the progress of the Xlth Coi^ps to- 
wards Elsasshausen. He had in consequence at 1.30 p.m. directed 
General v. d. Tann to advance across the Saner to the support 
of the Vth Corps, and at the same time sent orders to General 
v. Obemitz, commanding the Wiirttemberg Division, to march 
from Gunstett to Reichshonen, with a view to iutorcepting the 
retreat of the French. 

This latter oflGlcer had hastened on in front of the 2nd Wiht- ArrWal of the 
temberg Brigade,* and had watched the course of the action Wuittem- 
from the Gunstett heights. He ordered the brigade to resume ^^Sih»cwen 
its march at once on this village, whither it was to be followed (After Sp-m.) 
as rapidly as possible by the rest of the troops, especially the 
resei*ve artillery. The reserve cavalry had, as we know, received 
instructions from General v. Bose to advance by way of Eber- 
bach on Reichshoffen just after the Xlth Coi-ps Avas firmly 
establislied on the Albretchtshaiiser heights. 

As the action had already drawn near to Elsasshausen when 
the 2nd Brigade arrived at Gunstett, General v. Obemitz ordered 
the troops to continue their march without halting. The 2nd 

* See p. 166. A« the 6th battery was attached to the re8ei*ye cavalry, General t. 
StarklofI had 4| battalions and 1 battery nt liis disposal. See Appendix XI. 


battalion 5th Regiment and the Gth battery crossed the bridge 
near the Bruch Mill, the other battalions scrambled down into 
the Sauer valley between Qunst^tt and Spachbach, and made 
use of the bridges prepared by the Pnissian pioneei^s. During the 
passage the brigade received the Crown Prince's order to march 
to Reichshoifen. But as the struggle at Elsasshausen was in- 
creasing in intensity, and the Prussian officers declared support 
at that point to be desimble, Qeneral v. Starkloff consiaered 
that it was necessaiy to vary the prescribed direction of march, 
and ordered the different battalions, as soon as a sufficient time 
had elapsed for their assembly, to move forward by the shortest 
road into the fighting Une on either side of the bmiiing village 
of Elsasshausen. 

The first arrivals were* the rillo battalion in company-columns 
at open intervals (the 4th company advancing through the 
Niederwald was detained as escort to the guns), and the 1st 
battalion 2nd Regiment. Both these detachments filled the gap 
between the regiments of the Xlth Corps westward of Elsaseh 
hausen. The 1st battahou 5th Regiment and the Gth battery, 
the latter unable to find space for action in the close line of 
Prussian guns, followed the rifle battalion in reserve. The 2nd 
battalion 5th Regiment, in purauance of its order to move on 
FroscliAviller, went past the line of artillery of the Xlth Coips 
on the east of Elsasshausen, whilst the 6th and 6th companies 
2nd Regiment remained temporarily^ with the guns. The reserve 
cavalry with the 5th battery contmued its advance on Reichs- 
hoffen by way of Eberbach. 

Thus the Wtirttembergei-s also came up in separate bodies into 
the fighting line, yet eveiy where forming a solid support to the 
scattered battalions of the Xlth Corps. 

Of the latter,* only the following troops were available for the 
impenduig attack : m and near Eteasshausen were the 2nd bat* 
talion 82nd, the 1st and fusilier battalions 83rd, the fusilier bat- 
talion 88th, and various companies, some intermixed, of the 95th 
Regiment ; fuiiJier on the left reaching to Eberbach was the 
94th Regiment, to the west of it was the fusilier battalion 82nd, 
and on the cxtrenu; left flank, the 32nd Regiment. The other 
battalions were still assembling at Elsasshausen and farther to 
the south, so that only portions, as for instance, detachments of 
the 80th and 87th Regiments, rejoined the first line in time to 
take part in the assault on Froschwiller. Shortly before the end 
of the battle, the 3rd and 4th light batteries joined the left flank 
of the eight batteries of the Xlth Corps, which had co-operated 
in repulsing the attack of the French cavalry. The remainder 
were not again employed in the last phase of the battle ; five 
batteries of the Vth Coi*ps were, however, intermingled with the 
line of guns of the Xlth Corps.t 

After this description of tlie occurrences on the left wing of 

* See Plan, Ilnd Period. 

t Xlte 4tli, 6tb, ond 6lh light, the Gth and Glh heavy batteries. 


the German army up to the oomnieucement of the attack on 
FfOBchwiUer, it is necesearv to turn onr attention to the state of 
affairs at other points of the battle-field. 

Whilst the left wins of tho VtliAnny Corps was participating PromMof 
in the success of the Alth at Elsasshausen, the frontal attacks the vtUAnny 
of the former -were inosccuted without iiitennission. The 19th '^**' 
Bngade had gaint'il groiuid along both sides of the Wcirth- 
Frosch wilier road. It was complete, with the exception of a 
half- battalion of the 4Gth Regiment and the grenadier company 
left with the artillery on the eastern bank of the Saner ; the 
fusilier battalion, 40th Regiment, formedthe right wing as before. 
The 1st pioneer company was also with this brigade ; in rear of 
them, the remainder of the .'^Tth Fusiliers had assembled at the 
western issue from Worth. The 1st and fusilier battalions, 58th 
Regiment, were in action on the eastern edge of the Frosch- 
wilier heights. The 18th Brigade advanced into tlio space 
between VVcirth and Elsasshausen, the King's Grenadiei*s being 
nearest to the latter village. The 2nd battalions, 58th and 
SUth Regiments, a half-battalion of the 46th, and 50th Regi- 
ment (20th Brigade), intenningled with troops of the Xlth, 
were engaged on the extreme left flank of the Vth Coi'ps. 

The seven batteries of the corps brought forward tna Worth 
had, after threading their way with difficulty through the town, 
moved towards £lsasshausen, where the four batteries of the 
10 th Division took up a position on tlie west, the 4th light to 
the east of the village ; the two heavy batteries of the corps 
artilleiy had likewise followed, but did not come agaiii into 
action. The other seven batteries still remained on the eastern 
bank of the Sauer on the road from Worth to Giii'sdorf, with the 
4th Dragoons on their left ; the 14th Dragoons had moved 
away towards the Saw Mill. 

The 1st Division of the 1st Bavarian Coii>s, it will bo remem- Aniral of the 
bered, was moving up to Gorsdorf with its advanced guard at ^ ^raxmn 
1 o'clock, the 1st Brigade being still on the march from rreusch- °'^'* 
dorf ; the general commanding the corjis had hastened on 
in front in order to concert witli the commander of tlie Vth 
Army Covpn as to the co-operation of his troops. As the Crown 
Prince's instructions for the march to Fi-osehwiller arrive<l at 
this moment, General v. d. Tann gave orders for the Ist Division 
to move forward and outflank the enemy's left wing. 

In pursuance of these instructions, General v. Stephan forth- 
with ordered the 2nd Brigade to cross the Sauerbach in their 
front and at the Old Mill ; the 1st Brigade was to follow in rear 
along the path leading from the mill to Frosclnviller. 

Two battalions of tlio 2nd Brigade were accordingly moved 
off towards the mill ; the other foiu* were ordered to advance to 
the front in two lines, the 2nd Regiment on the right, the 11th 
on the left wing. On descending into the Sauer valley the 
leading battalions were met -^vith a brisk fire. This was re- 
sponded to by the Bavarians, who at the same tune commenced 
to fell some trees in order to provide foot bridges in siddition to 


the existing bridge at the mill. The two battalions of the riffht 
wing crossed at once, and made their way over the wood-oTad 
heights between the Sauer and Sulzb'uchel, where they fell in 
with the detachments of tlie Ilnd Bavarian Corps which had 
been left there ; but as they had become sepamted in struggling 
through the undorgTowth, they had to be first re-formed at 
the SaAv Mill. 

Meanwhile the first lino of the left wing had also crossed the 
Sauer. It traversed the low ground between the two brooks at 
the double, waded through the Sulzbiichel, and climbed the 
eastern slopes of the Froschwiller heights. The 2nd battalion, 
2nd Regiment, moved fonvard in company columns at open in- 
tervals, its left flank resting on a ravine descending &om 
Froschwiller ; the 1st battalion, 11th Regiment, with two com- 

Eanios thrown out in front, placed itself on the right. The 3rd 
attalion, 2nd Regiment, moved from the second line to the 
right flank of the last-named battalion, and there came in con- 
tact ^vith the detachments of tlie Ilnd Bavarian Coiiis, of whicli 
mention has aheady been made. Part of the 2ud battalion, 
11th Regiment, originally intended as a reserve, sent forward 
shortly after tv/o companies in the same direction. This mis- 
cellaneous body of troops on the extreme right flank of the 
Qeiman line of battle, end(iavoured by degrees to press forward 
from the edge of the heights, in which they were at fii-st un- 
successful. The enemy, ui addition to his naturally strong posi- 
tion, was well covered, against the Bavarian skirmishers, benind 
abattis and shelter trenches. A stationaiy action resulted, in 
which the artillery on the eastern bank of the Sauer partici- 
pated, firing over the heads of their own troops. 

Close to and in rear of the 2nd came up at this juncture the 
1st Brigade, the head of which had reached Gorsdorf at 1.45 

8.m., and had at once moved forward in column of route to the 
Id Mill. On the right of the 3rd l)attalion, 2nd Regiment, and 
in line witli it, came up tlie two fii-st battalions of the Body- 
guard Reghaent, the 3rd battalion forming up temporarily at 
tlie foot of the heiglits. The two l>attalions of the 1st Rugimont 
and the Dth Rifle battalion, following in roar, were posted as 
reserves at the roadway over the Sulzbiichel, where they were 
joined by the 2nd Rifle battalion. The 3rd Chevauxlegers 
followed as far as the Old Mill. Gruithuisen's battery, the fire 
from which was masked by the infantiy, sought in vain a suit- 
able position on the western bank of the Sauer, but had to return 
with its purpose unaccomplished. 

The troops which had now come into action* produced no 
decisive result at first; several bayonet attacks were beaten off 
by the murderous fire of the delendcrs. At about 3 o'clock, 
owing to the two foremost battalions of the Body-guard Regi- 

* The following were now in action at this part of the battle-iicld ; the let and 
2nd Brigades of the Ist Bayorian Corps ; tlic Ist and 2nd battalions 5th Regiment, 
the 3rd battalion 11th Regiment of the Ilnd Bavarian Corps ; a half-battalion d7th 
Regiment, and tlio 5th Rifle battalion of the Vtli Corp?, 


ment having been fired at from the wood in rear by mistake, 
there was a rearward movement to the Saw Mill, in which the 
3rd battalion, 11th Regiment, was also involved. As the enemy 
pressed forward from his position in pursuit, General Dietl 
moved to meet him with the 3rd battalion of the Body-guard 
Re^ment and the 2nd Rifle battalion. The retiring troops were 
ralued and joined in the advance of the fresh battalions^ the 
two battalions engaged in the outflanking movement and parts 
of the 5th Prussian Rifle battalion also coming up on their right. 
Owing to the combined eifoiis of these troops, the contest on 
the edge of the Froschwillcr heights was re-established and 
the enemy tlirown back into liis entrenchments. 

Up to mis time the contest on the right wing of the German 
army had either been stationary on the edge of the Frosch- 
willcr heights, or had surged backwards and forwards over it, but 
after 3.30 p.m. ground was visibly gained on the plateau towards 
Froschwiller, a result chiefly brought about by the flanUuK 
advance of the right wing imder General v. Orff" — 2nd, 9th, and 
4th Rifle battalions, and tne 1st battalion 2nd Regiment--«nd 
of the Prussian detachments. 

This advance of the troops took place as follows, counting 
from the left : to the south of the road from the Old Mill to 
Froschwiller were the 2nd battalion of the 2nd and the greater 
part of the 1st battcdion of the 11th Regiment. These troops 
nad therefore to advance in the open outside the wood, and 
were consequently, after the great losses they had sustained, in 
circumstances of great difficulty. To the north of the road and 
fighting in the wood were the 3rd battalion of the 2nd and the 
2nd battalion of the 11th Regiments, besides the iufantrv 
battalions of the 1st Brigade, the two first battalions of the 5tn 
Regiment (Ilnd Bavarian Corps), and the two Prussian fusiUer 
companies. The line was extended bv the 2nd and 9th Rifle 
battalions of the 1st Brigade on botn sides of the road from 
Langensulzbach to Froschwiller, and still further to the right 
came the troops of the 2nd Brigade making the outflankmg 
movement, viz. : the Ist battalion 2nd Regiment and the 4th 
Rifle battalion, which had brought up the companies held in 
reserve at the Saw Mill ; the Prussian riflemen were also at this 

Eoint. This extreme right wing was followed by the 3rd 
attalions of the 5th and 11th Regiments of the Una Bavarian 

Meanwhile the two battalions of the 59th Regiment, which 
had been kept back at Gorsdorf, advanced to the attack on the 
left flank of the Bavarians. As no progress had been made by 
the latter on the opposite heights, but on the contrary, the rear- 
ward movement already described had taken place. Colonel Eyl 
with his 8 companies, the fusiliers in second line, crossed the 
Sulzbachel and moved along the south of the Froschwiller road 
towards the eastern slopes of the heights in his front. Although 
encountering a stubborn resistance, and having to purchase 
each forward step with great loss of life, the enemy's position. 


Htrengthcued with ehclter treuches and abattis, was Btorined at 
the point of the bayonet ; the standard of the 3rd Zouaves was 
here captured. Colonel Eyl had two horses shot under him, 
and although woiuidod, continued to lead on his men. The 59th 
now came mto communication on the right with the Bavarians 
who were also advancing and on the left "with the two battalions 
of the 58th Regiment coming up from Worth, so that the greater 
part of the 17th Brigade was again united on the right wing of 
the Vth Army Coips. 
R?Mi°^U^ Thus between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon, the entire 

German line of battle, from Eberbach to the heights south- 
east of Neehwiller, was engaged in an enveloping advance 
upon Friischwiller, though not without couBiderablu derangement 
of the unity of tlie Ctirps. Many details of tho momentous 
struggle for this last bulwark of the French army defy all 
description, as troops from the south, east, and north reached 
and stormed the common goal almost siumltaneonsly ; and the 
subsequent convulsive surging of friend and foe precludes any 
precision in fixing the times, and consequently any attempt 
to establish a connexion between the various isolated collisions. 
All the corps participating in the battle were destined, with some 
troops or other, to pluck the palm of victory at the' decisive 
pointy the richest spoil of trophies falling into the hands of 
those troops who were nearest to the flanks of the enemy's line 
of retreat upon Reichshoffen. 

We will attempt to give an outline of the coui*so of events. 

The attack upon Froschwiller had been prepared by artillery, 
the batteries of v. Ohnesorge and v. Gillern (3rd H. A. and 5tli 
light of Vth Corps) advanchig with great bravery bej^ond the 
line of skirmishera to within ease range of the village. They 
had in so doing captured four guns abandoned by the enemy ; 
the firat-named battery repulsed single-handed a cavalry attack 
which was launched upon them. Although the teams suffered 
heavily from the enemy's shower of projectiles, both batteries 
directed a destructive fire solely upon tho village and the 
Reichshoffen road, and thus prepared the way for the storming 

Lieut.-Colonel v. Link, conunanding tho 3rd WUrttemberg 
Rifle battalion, accompanied by his adjutant and some thirty 
sharpshootera under Cliptain v. Greiff, had reached a hollow not 
far from the village. Observing some rearward movements 
on the part of the French to tlie west of the village, he at 
once, the fiiist on this side, soiuided the " advance," and, although 
wounded, boldly dashed in front of his riflemen to storm tlio 
Reichshoflen road. 

The Corps commander with his battalions, partly re-formed 
and partly in process of formation, was advancing from the south 
upon Froschwiller under a murderous fire from tho enemy. The 
troops again suflcred heavily. General v. Bi>se was badly 
wounded for the second time ; Li<utcnant v. lleineccius, of the 
general staff, and two orderlies fell in his immediate vicinity ; 


General v. Stein, chief of the general staff, had a horse killed 

under him; Major Kasch, 87th Regiment^ who had been already 

wounded three times in the couree of the battle, was mortally 

wounded. General v. Schkopp, Jiowever, led the troops to their 

destination in the most unmuching way. He was followed 

into the village, now on fire at several places, by Colonel 

Marschall v. Bieberstein, with a reserve quickly foimed from 

men of all regiments. 

Froschwiller was simultaneously attacked and captured at 

other points. To the left of the Worth road the two grenadier 

battahons of the King*8 Grenadiers, the 2nd battalions of the 

59th and 47th, and with the latter Captain Sarweyof the Wiirt- 
temberg - - . . _ _ . 

into the 


gained the gardens south-west of tKe village imder the personal 

guidance of the commander of the regiment, Colonel v. Kingler, 

and had there compelled a mitrailleuse battery to limber up 

and retire. 

Various detachments of regiments of the Yth and Xlth Army 
Corps, led in person by Colonel v. Henning, commanding the 
19th Brigade, charged along and to the right of the Worth 
road. Wiirttemberg troops had advanced against the south- 
east entrance of the village, as follows : tlie 5th and 6th 
companies 2nd Regiment moved in this direction, the latter 
seizmg the churchyard ; the 2nd battalion 5th Regiment, after 
crossing the Worth-Froschwiller road, moved forward in the 
valley parallel to it, and entered the village simultaneously 
with the Bavarian troops. 

To the north also, on both sides of the Langelsulzbach road, 
the 1st Bavarian Division and the troops of the Ilnd Bavarian 
and Vth Prussian Corps engaged in that vicinity, succeeded by 
4 o'clock in overcoming the vigorous resistance of the enemy 
on the Froschwiller heights, and in throwing him back on the 
village. These detachments reached the northern and easterri 
sides of Froschwiller simultaneously with the retreating foe, and 
probably somewhat before the capture of the southern side ; 
some then forced their way into tlie village, others advanced 
in a westerly direction towards the Reichshoffen road. 

The French maintained for some time a desperate but hope- 
less street fight in the village, the west side b^ing now in the 
{>os8ession of the 94th Regiment. The wounded General Raoult 
ell into the hands of the 1st battalion 5th Bavarian Regiment ; 
an eagle, with the pole shot away, had already been captured 
by the 3rd battalion 2nd Regiment, in the forest. Those not 
takeji prisoners in the village fled in complete disorder along 
the Reichshoffen and Niederbronn roads, and in so doing came 
under fire of the Prussian batteries, and of parts of the Xlth 
Coips, which moving up the Eberbach in advance of the others^ 
hini approachc4 that main line of retreat of the French. 

Some French reserves still held their ground to the north of 


the high road. Whilst an infantry brigade avoided a threatening 
attack by a timely retreat upon Reichfihoffen, a battery main- 
tained a doBtructivc fire upon the advancing dotachmentfl of 
the 94th and the fusilier battalion 82nd Regiment. But wlien 
Lieutenants v. Specht and Sehultze, with sldimishcrs of the 
11th and 12th companies of the latter regiment, approached to 
^vithin 300 paces, and, after a brief file-fire, dashed fonvard 
upon the batteiy with a cheer, teams and gunners fled into the 
adiacent wood. Six guns and liml)ors fell into the hands of the 
bold assailants, who were not even to be driven away by a 
vigorous fire fi*om skirmishers in the forest. The fusiliers, on 
the contrarj", established themselves in the ditches alongside 
the road, and from thence drove the enemy still further into 
the wood. 

Numerous fugitives were captured on the Reichshoffen road 
by the 82nd Regiment, which had advanced through the Gross 

By 5 o'clock the struggle at Fixischwiller was at an end. 
The Bavarians assembled at the western exit, the Wiirttem- 
bergers at the south-west of the village. General von der Tann 
brought forward his 2nd Division, which had just reached 
Gorsdorf, to Froschwiller, and despatched the battalions of the 
5th Regiment, the 3rd Chevaiixlegers, and Baumiiller's 4-pr. 
batteiy (2nd Division), belonging to the Ilnd Bavarian Corps, 
in pursuit toward Reichshoffen and Niederl^ronn. The Wiirttem- 
berg Brigade received orders to advance to Gundershoffen. 

The Pursuit. 

The French Commander-in-Chief, as we have seen, had main- 
tained the struggle to the veiy last against the superior forces 
of the Gennans ; his troops had fought evei-ywhere with mreat 
bravery ; whole bands of hoi*se had voluntanly sacrificed them- 
selves to relievo the pressure upon the other arms. But as the 
anny was surrounded on all sides, and its solo line of retreat 
seriously menaced, all further resistance umst ceaso. The stream 
of fugitives sweeping along the Froscliwiller-ReichshofTen road 
could n(»t bo stayed ujitii Ihe Falkensteinbach had been placed 
between themselves and the pursuing enemy. To this position 
Lespart's Division of the 6th French Coii)S had meanwhile 
come up, and had taken up a supporting position at Niederbronu 
to receive the debris of the 1st (Jorps. 

From the moment that the issue of the battle was no longer 
iloubtful, the Crown Prince had issued orders to hang closely 
upon the flanks of tho enemy's anticipated retreat. Imme- 
diately after the struggle at Froschwiller was ended, measures 
were taken for a vigorous pursuit. This naturally devolved 
upon the outer flanks of th" German army, for which the direc- 
tion of their march and the freshness of tho troops particularly 

fitted them. 

Whilst the WiirltcnibiTg infanhy, alter [mssing the Saner, 


had bent away towards Elsasshausen, following the sound of 
the cannonade, the WUrttemberg reserve cavalry, as we know, 
kept on its way to Rcichshoffen. Between 2 and 3 o'clock 
General Count Sch^ler, with his five squadrous and the 5th 
battery att^iched, encountered a detachment of 400 Zouaves 
emerging from the Niederwald near the Albrechtshaiiser Hof, 
who laid down their arms without resiRtance. The Ist squadron 
4th Cavalry was charged with the escort of the prisonei's ; the 
other four squadrons advanced upon Reichshoffen rm Eberbach 
and the Gross Wald. But as they were much delayed by 
having to clear a barricade at Eberbach, and to scour the wood 
crowded with the enemy's stragglers, they did not reach the 
issue from the wood opposite lleichshoffen until about the time 
the struggle at Frosch wilier was drawing to a close. 

The W^iirttemberg column now marching on DiefTenlmch, com- 
posed of the 3rd Brigade, 5 Iwitteries of reserve artillery and 
2 S(piadrons of the 1st Cavalry, had received the Crown Prince's 
order to march to Reichshoffen whilst advancing from Holschloch 
along bad forest tracks. In consequence of this, the 2 squadrons 
and 5 batteries trotted past Gimstett to Albrechtshaiiser Hof, 
where the artillery took up a positicm pending the reconnaissance 
of the cavalry. In consequence of a previous order from the 
Comraander-hi-Chief, the I4th Pnwsian Hussars, which had been 
joined by the squadron of the 14th Dragoons in Gunstett, was 
also moving to Gundershoffen by way of Eberbach. At the 
desire of the Prussian commander, the 8th Wiirttemberg battery 
was attached to them. 

The other four batteries and the two squadrons continued 
their march on Reichshoffen. The commander of the latter, 
LieuL-Colonel v. Ausin, was recommended by Geneml Blu- 
menthal to move as rapidly as possible; he therefore hastened 
at the fastest pace by way of Schirlenhof. The four batteries 
of reserve artillery endeavoured to follow, but he was soon 
lost from their view, owing to the enclosed nature of the 

AVe may here state in anticipation that the 3rd Wih-ttemberg 
Brigade and the rescirve artillcTy reasRemblod later at Engelshof, 
where they were joined at midnight by the Ist BrigaiK', which 
was likewise called up from Keimerewiller. 

At the close of the battle, therefore, there was moving upon 
Gunderahoffen and Reichshoffen from the south-east a tot4il force 
of six Wiirttemberg and five Prussian squadrons, with two 
AViirttemberg battenes. 

As early as 1 o'clock an order had been sent by the CVown 
Prince to the Ilnd Bavaiian (5orps to press upon the enemy's 
line of retreat in the direction of Reichshoffen. General v. 
Hartmann had received the order at La:igensulzbach about half» 
past 2 o'clock, and assigned the duty in question to the 5th 
Brigade, which at that time was advancuig by Mattstall, and 
now received orders to move via Neehwiller. It was followed 
by the lancer brigade, some squadrons of the 1st Chevauxlegers, 
a batteiy, and afterwards by th^i remainder of the 3rd Division^ 



with llie exception of tlie ICtli Riginu'iit, wliich vas left near 

In addition to thc-ec, two liattalionn of the 5th Regiment, the 
3rd (^hevaiixlegurs, and Bauniiiller's hattevy were, as w^e know, 
after tlie captnre of Frosdnviller, ordered by General v. d. Tann 
in pursuit of the enemy towardb Reichshoffen and Niederbronn. 

The 4th Cavalry Division was too distant to be made use of 
this day. An order was sent to it to move foi'ward at once to 
Gunstctt, so as to be ready at daybreak on the njorning of the 
7th for a further advance. 

The troops despatched in innnediate pursuit came across the 
dehiin of the defeated army at the position on the Falkenstein 
brook, and the fresh troops of Lespart's Division of Failly's Corps 
at Niederl)ronn. 

On the left wing Colonel v. Bcrnnth, with the 5 Pnis^ian 
squadrons and the AN'iirttemberg Imttery, advanced upon Gun- 
dershoflen, at which place his advanced troops were fired upon 
by hostile infantry. On the approach of the cavalry the French 
retired to the further bank, slill keeping up their fire. A French 
column was now observed to have met with an obstruction 
further to the north near the iron foundiy on the eastern bank 
of the brook. (Jolonel v. liernuth directed the 4th squadron of 
hussars against its rear, and advanced with the other squadrons 
along the near bank against the escort, of which only a part 
succeeded in escaping to the other side of the brook. 13 officers 
and surgeons, 18G men, 240 horses, 1 gini, 4 ammunition wagons, 
and 1() other carriages fell into tlu- hands of the Prussian horse- 
men. An attemj»t on the part of s(»me unbroken hostile detach- 
ments to recaj)ture the prisoners and carnages was defeated by 
the firo of the battery, which had come into action to the east of 
Gundershoften. In the evening Colonel v. Bernuth bivouacked 
at Eberbach ; the scjuadron of dragoons was sent to the 10th 
Division at Froschwiller. 

As the 1st squadron 3rd (Rivalry, hading the; advance of the 
Wiirttemberg reserve cavalry, debouched from the Gross Wald 
ojjposite Reiclishoflen, it encountered an unbroken detachment 
of French infantry, which was at once attacked and dispersed. 
Another hostile detachment withdrew to Reichshoffen, when the 
4th (Javalry deployed from the wood. Von Riipplin's batteiy 
(No. 5^ came into action on the Elsasshausen-Reichshofi'en road, 
and directed an effective case lire upon the Froschwiller road, 
down which hosts of fugitives of all amis were pressing pell- 
mell towards the Falkenstein valley. 

From the south were aiqiroaehing at this time the two 
squadrons under Lieut.-Colonel v. Ausin, which had passed 
to the right of the iron foundiy, whilst the battery was throwing 
shell into Reichshoffen. Regardless of the place being barri- 
caded and occupied by the enemy, the Wiirttemberg cavalry did 
not hesitate to attack sabre in hand. They forced their way 
through the banicade at the southern entrance of the town, 
where all surrendered without resistance ; Sergeant-Major Koch, 
of the 4th squadron 1st Cavalry, capturcd a Turco standard. 


The 4th pqiiadron 4th Cavalry coming up fi-om the south- 
east dashed into the park of the ReichKhofTon ohjltc^au, but was 
detained by the breaking down of abridgti. Li(?utonant Kurr, who 
hastened on in person to ihe chateau, made prisoners of General 
Nicolai, commanding a brigade of Conseil DumesTiirs Division, 
and his staff. Colonel Count Normann, with the 2nd and 3rd 
squadrons, moved to the Niederbronn road, where the division 
of the latter squadron forming the advanced guard, under 1st 
Lieut. Speth-Schiilzburg, met the cavalry of Lieut.-Colonel 
V. Ausin, which was advancing in the same direction. At the 

J)aper factory half-way to Niederbronn they came across a 
Trench battery which had been brought to a stand-still, and 
captured it in spite of the bullets whicii were showered on the 
horsemen. In this attack Lioutenant Rpoth was kilhul and 
Lieut.-(>>lonel v. Ausin wounded. 

In their further advance on Nied'jrbronn the Wuittemberg 
horse, in conjunction with the Bt^varian infantiy coming up from 
the eastward, approached within range of the supporting position 
taken up by Lespart's Division. As the horsemen Avere fired 
upon by infantry from the forest in their front, and were 
annoyed by the bursting of the sluills from a well-screened 
battery, they were marched back to Reichshoffen at 7 p.m. 

At 9 o'clock the WUrttemberg cavalry bivouacked at the 
southern issue of the town, and sent foi-ward patrols to Gum- 
brechtshoffen and Zinswiller. During their transport to Reichs- 
hoffen part of the prisoners succeeded in effecting their escape. 
The following were brought in : 2 officers,* 107 men, several 
loaded wagons, 1 standard, 3 guns, and 1 mitrailleuse. Our 
own loss amounted to 2 officers and 3 men killed and 

The 5th Bavarian Brigadef received the order previously men- 
tioned for their forward movement to Reichshoffen, when their 
head arrived to the north- east of Langensulzbach. After thread- 
ing their way with much difficulty through the village, which 
was blocked with wagons, they took the road leading through 
the wood to Neehwiller, followed by the lancer brigade. As 
the fire at Friischwiller was still very brisk, the commander 
of the brigade ordered a company to skirt the western edge 
of the wood and move upon that village, so as to keep up 
a communication with the troops engaged there ; the 8th Rifle 
battalion, which led the advance of the origade, took the same 
direction after searching Neehwiller. Meanwhile the fighting at 
FroBchwiller had ceased, and General v. Schleich now moved 
forward the brigade along the path leading from Neehwiller 
down to the Jagerthal,} whilst the 3rd battalion 7th Regiment, 
the lancer brigade, and v. Massenbach's battery alone remained 

* The French General, who had been taken prisoner, vias allowed to remain tem- 
porarily at Beichshoffen. 

t Seo Appendix XL 

% The fijenwarsbach flows in this ralley, discharging itself into the Falkenstcin 
brook in the neighbourhood of Beielishoflen. Ihe hamlet of J6geithal lies higher 
up the Mine Talley. 

D 2 



bcLiiul temporarily at Neolnviller. As the fikimnKhers of the 
8th Kifle battalion were fired iij)(»n both iron) the " Grose Wald " 
and from the further bank (»f the Schwarzbach,* the brigade 
was divided. The 2nd and .'hd battalions fith Regiment placed 
themeelves on the immediate left of the rifles, and the whole 
then advanced through the wood in a southerly direction, re- 
maining on this side of tiie brook, drove the enemy, whooflered 
little lesistance, before them, and reached the slopes of the 
KeiuhshoflVn heights outside the wood at 6 o'clock 'in the evening. 
The troops left at Neehwiller in the first instance had meanwhile 
followed, the 3rd battalion 7th Regiment taking up a position at 
the south-west corner of the wood, close to a t\)rd over the brook. 

The other two battalions of the brigade were somewliat 
delayed at first in crossing the Schwarzbach. The 1st battalion 
()th Regiment passed across felled trunks of trees, the 2nd 
battalion 7th Regiment found a foot-bridge fui'ther to the north, 
probably that at the **Rau8(:henwa8ser" steelworks. During 
their subsequent advance upon Reichshofi^en, hostile detach- 
ments appeared on the left flank. In ccmsequence of this, the 
greater part of the two battalions now moved in the direction 
of Nied(irbronn. 

Meanwliile Cieni?ral v. Schkich had received the order of the 
Corps connnander *• to follow up the enemy vigorously, to 
"reap the fruits of the victory with the cavalry, and in any case 
" to occupy the railway station at Reich shoflen." As Reichs- 
hoffen was already occupied by other (lennan troops, General 
v. Schleich only ordered u battalion and two squadrons of the 
1st Chevauxlegers to take that <lirection, and the remainder of 
his battalions, which were still to the eastward of the Fal- 
kensteiji brook, to advance with v. Massenbach's and Loffl*8 
batteries towards Niederbronn. A few rounds from the two 
Raivarian batteries caused the enemy to withdraw rapidly to 
Oberbronn. He was followed up with an eflective cannonade ; 
the Bavarian infantry occupied Niederbroon. The 2nd Lancers, 
which on the anival of (ieneral v. Hartmann were ordered at 
8 p.m. to advani'C in pursuit, passed the infantiy, and struck 
the enemy to the west of Niederbronn. By the time night 
set in many ])riHoners had been takun inside and outside the 
village. At the Reichshofl'en station, two locomotives, 100 laden 
wagons, and a gmi were found ; in the village itself, 1,300 
wounded and miAvounded French, and a second gun. 

These successes were shared by the troops detailed in pursuit 
by (Jeneral v. d. Tami, which appeared before Niederbronn 
with V. JSrhleicirs brigade. The Hrd sciuadron 3rd Chevaux- 
legers, under Captain Nagel, trotted aliead of the infantry 
towards Niederbronn, and although tinder fire of the enemy's 
infantry captured two giins with their teams and several wagons, 
which during the hasty flight of the foe had become hopelessly 

* Tlio Schwarzbach flows in tliis valley, diBcharsing itself into tho Falkenstein 
brook in the neighbourhood of Reiciishollcn. The hamlet of JVgerthal lies higher 
up the same vallej. 


entangled while endeavouring to escape to the railway station. 
The let squadron found a gun overturned on the liigh road 
between Keichshoifen and Niederbronn. 

When darkness put an end to the pursuit, the 5th Brigade 
with the two batteries bivouacked at Niederbronn ; its outposts 
on both sides of the Bitsch road in the direction of Oberbronn 
and Jagerthal. The lancer brigade and General v. d. Tann's 
detachmentBoccupiedbivouacks atlleichshofFen, whore they were 
joined later in the evening by tlie part of the 3rd Division 
which had followed in rear. 

The Crown Prince rode over the field of battle in the evening, 
and greeted his victorious troops amid the rejoicing of o Ulcers 
and men. The entire country between Moi-nbronn and Lang(ui- 
sulzbach, but more particuhirly the road from Froseh wilier to 
Reichshoffen, bore traces of the grand and decisive victory, the 
extent of which was now realized for the fii-st time. 

Besides taking 200 officers and y,000 men prisoners of war, 
the Ilird Army had captured the following trophies: 1 eagle, 
4 Turco standards, 28 guns, 5 mitrailleuses, Ul limbers. 26 
wagons of rifles and side arms, 158 other carriages, and 1,11KJ 
horses. Victory had been pureliased with a lows to ourselves 
of 489 officers and 10,153 men.* 

That evening the army bivouacked as follows : — 
Vth Army ('orps at FrtJseh wilier. 
Xlth Army Corps at Elsjisshausen and Worth ; Colonel 

V. Beniuth at Eberbach. 
Ist Bavarian Corps. — Ist Division and others at Frosch- 
willer; infantry of the 2nd Divisionf and the ai-tillery 
reserve at Preuschdorf ; cuirassier brigade at Lamperts- 
loch ; the purauing detachment at Reichshoffen. 
Ilnd Bavarian Corps — partly at Lembach, partly at Reichs- 
hoffen; 5th Brigade at Niederbronn. 
Of Werder's (Jorps: 

The 1st and 3rd Wiirttemberg Brigade and reserve artillery 
at Engelshoff; the 2nd Brigade on outpost duty at (Jun- 
dershoffen and Griesbaeh; reserve cavalry at ReiuliKhollen. 
The Baden Division at (Junstett and Sell waab wilier. 
The 4th Cavalry Division had received orders to advance to 
Gunstett at 6 p.m., where they arrived at half-past 1) o'clocjk. 
They there found further instructions from the Crown Prince to 
move off in pursuit towards Ingwiller and Buxwiller at daybreak 
of the 7th, whilst the Bavaiian cavalry was to advance along 
the Bitsch road, and the Wurttembergers were to scour the 
neighbourhood of Zinswiller and Uhrwiller between the Bava- 
rian and Prussian cavalry. In consequence of this, Piince 
Albrecht moved forward to Eberbach before daylight, pushed 
the 2nd Body-guard Hussai-s to Griesbaeh and Gundershoffen, 
and after three hours' rest renewed the pursuit. 

* Tide Appendix XII. 

t Tbej had marched there from Frdechwillcr to get their knA|)sai^k8, which had 
been dimrded in order to accelerate the niitrch. 


The 12th Division of the Vlth Army Corps ha I been com- 
pletely ass(3mble(l at Landau since the morning of the 6tli 
August. It there received the order from army nead-quartei-s 
already mentioned, to despatch two battalions to Weissenburg 
and to move forward the remainder of the Division on the same 
day to Pirmasi^ns, thnmgh the AnnweilerandBer^zabern valley 
with a view to making a demonstration upon Bitseh, and of 
maintaining the communication between the Ilnd and Ilird 
Armies. In pureuanco of these orders, the advanced guard of 
the Division reached Dahn in the afternoon, where it was joined 
by the 5th Bavarian rifle battalion ; conununication with the 
Ilnd Army, as ordered, was maintained by the 15th Dragoons 
from Hinter-Weidenthal. 

The purtait 
on the 7th 


The vanquished Frencli army, after being received in the first 
instance under the shelter of Lespart's Division, which was itself 
after a brief 8trug<^le drawn into the stream of fugitives, con- 
tinued its retreat that evening and during the night along all 
the roads leading to Z.iIkm'u (Sivcnui). ontanges' Brigade of 
Lespart's Division also took this same scmth- westerly direction ; 
Abbatucci's Brigade, which was joined by some thousands of 
stmgglers from the Ist Corps, alone retired upon Bitseh. 

The bulk of the French army reached the neighbourhood of 
Zabern in the coui-se of the 7th, where they were joined by 
numerous fugitives from all directions. 

General Failly had been the whole day near Bitseh, in the 
eculiar situation that he was expected to support ^lai^shal 
lacMahon at Worth with his right, and General Frossard at 
Spicheren with his left wing. Whilst the thunder of the can- 
nonade resomided from botli directions, he considered that it 
was his duty to gnard the ** gap of Uohrbach " witli the part of 
the CiM'ps still liift to him, and secure the roads from Pinnasens 
and Zw(;il»nl(rkcn. Although in uninttn'rupted teU-gruphit; oom- 
muiii<'a1i<»n withllu: miirHhnI, no furtlKir instriictions reat'ln^l him 
until the m^ws arrived in the evening of the defeat of both the 
neighbouring Corps. He at once called a council of war, and 
in accordance with its renolutions marched at \) with both 
his Divisions to LUtzelstein (Petite Pierre). Ah there was no 
special garrison for Bitseh, a battalion, the douanii'rs of the 
neighbourhood, some ai'tillorymen and ofiicinls, and, provi- 
sionally, the tnuns of both Divisions were left behind, 

Wlnle the fragments of Marshal llacMahon's iwiuy were 
thus endeavouring to unite in a south-westerly direction, the 
head-iiuarter staff of the Ilird Army were at first (piite igmnant 
of the enemy's real line of retreat, as the German troops could 
not will be pushed into tht! ])aK.sages of the Vosges at night. 
The retnvit of Abbatucci's Brigade ah>ng the Bitsdi road. U-d 
to the imi)res.sit»n that MacMalnn was endeavouring to ri-ach 
tin* main lmj>erial Army in Lorraine. A telegraphic despatch 
was thi-rt^fore sent tliat rtaim*. night to the 12th Division, to 


advance to Bltsch on the following morning and there intercept 
the fugitives. 

Moreover the intelligence from the cavalry, which reached the 
head-quarter staff early on the 7 th, confirmed this impression. 
The Body-guard Hussiira wliich had been pushed forward to 
Gundershoffen and Griesbach, reported to the 4tli Cavalry Divi- 
sion that French troops had neither retreated to the southward 
by Hegeney, nor by Mietesheim and PfaffenhoflFen. The Division 
thereupon deemed it advisable to send forward that regiment 
alone in the direction of Ingwiller as prescribed by head- 
quarters, and to march with the rest to Niederbronn by way of 
Keichshoffen. There they found the Bavarian cuirassier brigade 
wliich had left Lampertsloch at daybreak, and passed through 

As some hostile infantry showed themselves at the entrance 
to the mountain passes, the cavalry did not entt^r them : only 
one squadnm of Bavarian cuirassiers was able to reach the 
Wiisenkopfl to the north of Oberbronn. The observations made 
at Niederoronn left no doubt that part at least of the enemy's 
forces had retreated by the Ingwiller road, and induced Prince 
Albrecht to pm^sue the enemy in that direction ; the Bavarian 
cuirassier brigade joined him. 

The road in question showed the most evident signs of the 
very recent retreat of a disorganised army. Arms and kuap- 
sacKS cast away by their owners, a deserted gun and abandoned 
carriages were to be seen upon the roads and on every side ; 
a number of marauders were seized ; stragglers fired from the 
houses and the neighbouring heights. At 10 o'clock in the 
forenoon the Division reported from Ingwiller to army head- 
quarters ** the main line of retreat of the French has been via 
" Niederbronn to Bitsch, but a considerable part has fallen back 
'* rid Ingwiller." 

Buxwiller was reached at 11 a.m., where for the first time a 
longer halt was made after the protracted and fatiguing ride ; 
at 5 p.m. the cavalry, consisting of 30 squadi'ons,* with 3 
batteries, resumed it43 march upon Zabern. On the road to that 
place the number of stragglers increased; at Steinburg the 
advance was met with volleys of musketry ; a railway train 
was seen starting towards Zabern. Contact Avith the enemy 
was again renewed. 

After the Bavarian batteiy had driven out the occupants of 
Steinburg by tlirowing a few shells into the place, the Division 
bivouacked in tlie neighbourhood at 8 p.m. ; it had marched 41 
miles in the 24 houra. The passages over the canal were held 
by dismounted hussars, and outpost« were tlu'own out to the 
westward in the dii'ection of the mountains. 

At a later hour in the evening information arrived, from which 
it appeared that the cavalry camp was threatened from the 

* IndusiTe of the BaTariann. Two squadrons were toU off as escort to the 


direction of Zabem. A detachment sent to destroy the railway 
to the soutli of Steinburg, and the hussars patrolling on the 
other side of the canal, were fired upon by infantry ; a report 
was received from Monswiller that several French battalions 
were advancing upon Steinburg. As it was not advisable for 
the cavalry to be involved in a night action under unfavourable 
circumstances, the bivouac was removed to Buxwiller, further 
to the rear. 

The other cavalry reconnaissances ordered by the head-quarter 
staff tended to prove that there was no hostile force oi any 
importance either in a westerly or north-westerly direction. 
The Wiii-ttemburg cavalry had only seen one French battalion 
at Buxwiller, and some stragglei*8 at Zinswiller ; the Bavarian 
lancer brigade had sent forward from Jiigerthal some detach- 
ments towards Sliiraelbronn, Liesbach, and Philippsburg, but 
again retmned to Niederbronn without seeing anything of the 
enemy ; they had, however, met with the patrols of tiie Vlth 
Corps at Dambach. 

Ihe commander of the 12th Division, Lieut.-General v. Hoff- 
man, had resolved on his own responHibility to march upon 
Bitscli, before receiving the order to that efiect. He readied 
StUrzelbronn on the 7th, and pushed forward his advanced 
guard to Herzogshand ('* la main du prince"), thus effecting a 
communication with the 5th Dragoons at Haspelscheidt. Patrols 
sent forward towards the Niederbronn road and Bitsch, repoiled 
that many fugitives had passed tlu'ough Egelshardt during the 
night, and that troops had certainly bivouacked at Bits(;hon the 
preceding evening, lait had marched away southward in the 
night. Ah a matter of fact no enemy was visible in the immediate 
vicinity of the fortress, although the patrols were fired upon 
from tne ramparts by artillery and musketry. 

The appearance of (jei-man cavalry at Steinburg would seem 
to have inspired Marshal MacMahon with serious appiehensious 
for the safety of his furtlier retreat. At any rate he continued 
it during the night of the 7th-8th, as far as Sarrebourg, so that, 
from that place to Buxwiller, a distance of 23 miles and the 
mountains separated him from the pursuing cavalry. The 5th 
Corps from Liitzelstein united with the beaten fragments from 
Worth at Sarrebourg, whence entire forces, moving in several 
columns, retired upon Luneville by forced marches. 

Under these circumstances contact with the enemy, which 
had been temporarily resumed on the evening of the 7th August, 
and again lost for the reasons already assigned, was never re- 
gained. When the Third Army entered the Vosges on the 
8th August, the enemy was no longer in front of it. 

Before accompanying it on the march to the Moselle, let us 
fiist turn to the German forces on the Saar, where a decisive 
action took place at Spicheren simultaneously with the victory 
at Worth. 


The Battle of Spicheren on the 6th August. 

The position occupied by Frossar<rs Corps* on the evening PosifcioM 
of the 5th August, extended generally from the Saar south of g^TSJck^ 
St. Arnual as far hb the railway between Stiring-Wendel and and Forbaoh. 
Forbach, a front which was occupied in almost its whole length 
by the Spicheren heights. The northern slopes of these wooded 

action at Saarbrticken has already made us familiar. Towards 
the west the country is at firet flat and open. The gap between 
the forests of Spicheren and Stiring, which to the south of the 
Drathzug pond is naiTOwed by the projecting Stiring copse to 
700 or 800 paces, is completely closed further back by the 
village of Stiring-Wendel. Westward of and parallel to the 
Forbach-Saarbriickeii railway, a thickly wooded range of heights, 
only passable at the roads, extends up to the Saar. These latter 
are numerous enough, but are difficult of ascent and often fonn 
narrow defiles. 

Under these circumstances all advantages of ground were on 
the French side. Even were the heights, which abut imme- 
diately on the south, reached from Saarbriicken, the Spicheren 
heights and the extensive woods precluded any further insight 
into the locaUties in rear. On the other hand, from the opposite 
side an almost unlimited view could be obtained of the country 
to the north as far as the Saar ; moreover from the church tower 
of Stiring-Wendel the ground could be watched towards the 
north-east as far as the Reppertsberg. 

These natural defensive qualities of the French position had 
been increased by artificial means. Shelter-trenches and gun- 
pits crowned the ridge projecting north-eastward from the 
Spicheren heights, whose rocky escarpments gave as mucli 
security from escalade as those of a fortress. The northern and 
eastern edges of the village of Stiring-Wendel, with its massive 
buildings, are flanked within effective gun-shot by the station 
and the ii'on foundry which project from it like bastions. 
Shelter-trenches had also been thrown up on the open Kaiiin- 
chenberg neiir Forbach, which prevented an approach to the 
town from the north-west. 

The 5th and 6th Cavahy Divisions, as already mentioned, Caralryrecon. 
were pushed forward in front of the two German Armies, to- Jf****°^ *"^ 
wards the Blies and the Saar. of*tlie*Stii* 

On the left flank the railway from Saargemiind to Rohrbach Augiut. 
had l)e6n destroyed at several points ; the reports received from 
the fi'ont confirmed in every respect the opinions alreadv formed 
of the enemy's condition. Their tenor was to the effect that 
since the 5th August there had been a general rearward move- 
ment of the enemy along the whole line, and that troops had 
been embarked by rail at Morsbach and Forbach. 

• Vide p. 143. " 


A detachment of the 3rd Lancers under Captain Hammerstein 
had, it is true, been briskly fired upon on the night of the 5th- 
6th when crossing the bridge over the Soar from St. Johann ; 
but in the early morning the outposts of Redem's Brigade ob- 
served that the heights south of baarbriicken^ hitherto occupied 
by French infantry and artillery, were deserted. The advanced 
picquet from the Brunswick Hussars, under Lieut. Schweppe, 
at once trotted forward through the town; the remainder of 
the outpost squadron followed. They were joined from the left 
by a division of the ()th Cuirassiers of Griiter s Brigade with a 
view to closely following up the retreating enemy. Thes<* weak 
detachments, nowever, came upon a hostile force of some two 
battaUous, one squadron, and a batteiy deployed in position be- 
tween Drathzug and the Stifts forest. A slight skumish took 
place ; but this first brush was beaten off by the enemy's artillery 
fire, so that we were unsuccessful in gaining a closer insight into 
his position. It seemed probable, however, that these French 
troops were only covering the supposed embarkations at Forbach. 
Other reconnaisstiuces were made over the Saar at Wehrden 
on tliis same morning. The Oldenburg Dragoons moved from 
that place upon the cnomy*H left flank ; leaving a squadron at 
Ludweiler, tlie remain<ler trotted onwanl to Carling and ilan:- 
sous Varsberg. To the eastward of the latter place they met 
^vith some French cavalry, behind which detachments of infantry 
were marching to the westward upon Guerting; a large French 
camp was viHible at St. Avoid. 

At 8 a.m. detachments of the lllh Hussars had also crossed 
the Saar at Wehrden and moved forward in various directions. 
A division at Gersweiler watched the retreat of the enemy from 
the drill-gi'ound and descried his camps to the south of Stiring- 
Wendel ; another division moved towards Schoneck. While the 
latter was advancing alxmt 11 o'clock towards the northern edge 
of the Stiring forest, it Avas iircd at by infantry* and lost men. 

The commander of the regiment, who had proceeded with a 
squadron in the direction of Ludweiler, was able to observe 
clearly from an elevate<l knoll the enemy's camp at Forbach 
and the n)0venients of troops in the direction of St. Avoid. 
Smaller detachments of Hussars, whic:h pushed forward still 
further in rear of the enemy as far as Carlsbrunn and St. Nicho- 
las, gave confirmatory evidence. 

All these reconnaissances tended to show that at this time there 
were still considerable bodies of troops at Stiring- Wendel, For- 
bach, and St. Avoid ; yet it became more and more probable that 
they were already in the ait of retiring. It certiiinly caused us 
much surprise that the passages of the Saar were not destroyed. 
Lieut.-General v. Uheinbaben, who, as we are aware, was at 
that time in command of both Cavalry Divisions, had moved for- 
ward in person to Saarbriicken. \A'ith a squadrim from each of 
the 6th Cuirassiers and the 3rd Lancers, he pressed through the 

* Oenerul Vergo {see p. 143) had posted a half battalion of tl)c.77th Begiment at 
that place for the protection of his left flank. 


town, and. under a briflk caimouade from the Spichoren heights, 
occnpied the drill-ground. 

He reported this by telegraph to the Commander-in-Chief of 
the Second Army towards 11 oV^lock, ad<ling: "The French 
" occupy the Spicheren heights with infantry and artillery ; 
" they are in the act of tri</i//miri;?j ;" shortly after, in a second 
telegi'am, *' Hostile lines are deploying on the heights this side 
** of Forbach. Advanced guard of the lAth iJicmon arrived at 
" SaarbrUcken to occupy the town." 

On the evening of the r)th Auji^ust a teh^grani had been sent Measuref 
from the royal head-quart era at Mainz to the Cotnraander-in- f^^H*?^ ^J 
Chief of the Ist Army : " As the enemy appears to be retiring u^^ Armiei, 
" from the Saar, the passage of the frontier is now open ; at the AdTsnce of 
** same time you should cross the Saar below Saarbriicken, as the ^* .^f*** , 
*• road to St, Avoid through that town belongs to the Second gjJiJrtrtckeii. 
" Anny." This telegram, however, did not reach the Ist Army 
imtil the night of the Gth-7th August. 

Meanwhile Prince Frederick ('harles and General v. Steinmetz 
had already received the orders,* jireviously alluded to, pre- 
scribing the forward movements of their arnnes. In compliance 
with those orders, the advanced gujud of the llird Army Corps 
moved on the morning of the Gth August on the east, and those 
of the Vlllth and Vllth on the west, of the Rhine-Nahe Rail- 
way, along the roads leading to St. Johann, so that the con- 
tinuance of the murch of the right wing of the Ilnd Army and of 
the left wing of the Ist Army must bring both to the same point 
of passage of the frontier stream. 

Of the Vllth Army C()r[)s, which advanced from the neigh- 
bourhood of Lebach, the 13th Division was on the march to 
Piittlingen. Its advanced ^uard was to move as far as Volk- 
lingen ; tlie squadi'ons of hussare leading the column reached 
that pla(;e at 1 1 a.m. Soon after the 1 1th llussars also a.ssemi)led 
there, with the exception of Honu? divisions Avhich had either not 
yet returned from the previously-mentioned reconnaissances on 
the left bank of the Saar, or had joined the Ciivalry on the drill- 

The 14tli Division had been ordered to move to Guichenbach 
and push forward an advanced guard, the outposts of which 
were to occuipy the edge of the Kollerthal forest towards Saar- 
briicken and Louise nthal. On the march the conunander of 
the Division. General v. Kameke, gathered i'roin reports received 
that the enemy's positions south of Saarbriicken were aban(hnied, 
and that only weak detachments were visible, as already me!i- 
tioned, between Drathzug and the Stifts forest. He reported to 
that eflect to the general eonnnan<Hng the Yllth Army Corps, 
who was then on the march to Dilzbnrg, and asked if he might 
cross the Saar iuidt?r those circumstances, so as to seize the 

• Pp. 113 nml 103. 


heights south of Saarbriickeu before the enemy was able to 
re-occupy them. General v. Kameke received a reply that he 
might act on his own judgment. 

Meanwhile his advanced guard under General v. Francois* 
reached Guichenbach at hali-past 9 o'clock. As the weather 
was cool and the troops fresh, the commander of the Division 
ordered the advanced guard to proceed, and after occupying 
Saarbriicken to throw out its outposts on the heighta The main 
body continued on the march. 

As the Division was approaching the town, it was met by 
General v. Goeben commanding the Vlllth Corps, who after 
returning from a reconnaissance to the Saar, had contemplated 
moving forward the advanced guard of his own Army Ooi'ps, 
then marching on Fischbach, to occupy Saarbrucken. He gave 
up his intention of so doing for the present, on finding that the 
14th Division was already moving with that object in view, but 
at the same time offered nis support in the event of the enemy 
again advancing. 

The advanced guard of the 14th Division now crossed the 
northeniuiost of the two bridges between St. Johann and Saar- 
brQck'en. As soon as the 3rd battalion 39th Regiment, marching 
at the head, reached the drill-ground at 11.30 a.m., the enemy 
opened a vigorous cannonade from the already-mentioned spur 
of the Spichereu heights, the so-culled Rotherberg, which in- 
creased in intensity when the 1st light battery, following imme* 
diately in rear, debouched from the sunken road upon tne drill- 
ground. The battery unlimbered to the west of the high road 
on the southern slopes of the ridge, and responded to the 
enemy's guns, apparently eight in number, at a aistance of 2,000 
yards, with gooa effect, as far as could be judged. The enemy's 
£iins were posted partly on the steep declivity of the Rother- 
berg, partly in a more elevated position some hundred ytu'ds to 
the rear, firing with great vigour but with little result. 

Meanwhile further to the left the other two battalions of the 
39th Regiment moved up to tlie northern slope of the Repperta- 
berg. General v. Kameke further ordered the 2nd battalion 
74th Regiment from the main body of the Division to cross the 
railway bridge between Malstatt and Burbach, so as to secure 
the passage at that point by the occupation of the railway 
cutting at Deutsch Hill. U'he battalion was instructed to keep 
up comnmniavtion with the 39th Fusiliers on the left ; the other 
two battalions of the 74th Regiment were also drawn to the 
left bank of the Saar to reinforce the advanced guard, ho that 
General v. Fran<^*ois had both regiments of his brigade at 

General v. Rheinbaben joined the forward movement of the 
advanced guard of the 14th Division on the left flank, and took 
up a position with both liis squadrons behind the northern slope 

* The ortler of man;1i of both Dtrisions of the Vllth Armj Corps U given in 
Appendix XIII. 


of the Galgenberg, to which place he alBO called up the squadron 
of the Brunswick Hussars. 

As none of the enemy's infantry was visible, and as he did 
not attempt to pass the line between Drathzug and the 
Rotherberg, the action showed no signs of becoming serious for 
some time. 

This seemed to give colour to the original supposition that 
the French detachments were only intended to cover the em- 
barkations at Forbach. At this tune reports were received fiom 
the cavahy patrols which had been puslied forward, estimating 
the enemy's force at 3 regiments of ini'antiy, which, as we shall 
see, agreed with other calctilations. 

We vriW first turn to tho Second Army. 

The head-quarters at KaiKcrslautern had been informed at 
an early hour in the morning, by a report from the 6th Cavalry 
Division, of the evacuation of the St. Aniual heights. As this 
seemed to establish a partial retrograde movement of the enemy 
and the probability of a complete retreat, it was judged expe- 
dient in any case to seize the passage of the Saar, thu» left 
open, and without inducing a premature offensive, to hang 
closely upon the enemy. To this end Prince Frederick Charles 
sent an order by telegraph at 8 a.m. for both Cavalry Divisions 
to keep the touch of the retreating foe, the 5th Division to 
advance to Saarbriicken, and the iVth Army Corps to push 
forward an advance guard to Neu-Hornbach. 

In agreement with this provisional order, the respective desti- 
nations of all the corps for the march of the following day were 
further laid down.* 

Meanwhile head-quarters had been transferred to Homburg, 
where General v. Rheinbaben's telegrams were received at 
noon. As the last one evidently showed that part of the First 
Army was on the line of march of the Second, the Ilird Corps 
was directed to occupy Saarhriiclen that day ; and General v. 
StUlpnagel, commandmg the t5th Division, received full powers 
from Prince Frederick Charles to order the I4th Division to clear 
out of the to^vn and road. 

But before the amval of these orders General v. Alvenslebeni 
commanding the Ilird Army Corps, had on his own judgment 
of the situation, after asctatain in g the enemy's withdmwiU from 
Saarbriicken, ordered the 5th Division to occupy the place with 
a vanguard, and the main body to advance to within four miles 
of it. 

Even this arrangement had been anticipated by events 
on the left bank of the Saar. Before we follow any further 

* The foUoiring dettinations were to be reached on the 7th August : — 
Ilird Arm J Corps ; Saarbriicken, adTaneed Guard at Forbnch. 
IVth „ Nou-llurnhiich, adyaitccd guard, at Kohrbach and Bitsch. 

Tills Corps waf to communicate on tho left with the 12th Divinion, which, accord- 
ing to report, had reached Pirmasens on the 6th. 

The Xth Corps was to advance to St. Ingbert in support, if required, of the 
Ilird ; the Guard to Assweilcr ; the I Xth Corps with its head as far as Bezbnch ; 
the Xllth to Honiburg. 


their course subseqiient to the arrival of the 14tli Division, 
it will be interesting to consider the action, taken chiefly on 
their own responsibility, of those commanders who were in a 
position to co-operate in a sti-ugglo on the further bank of the 

General v. Doeri\ig, commanding the ftth Infantry Brigade,* 
had ridden through ISaarbriicken early that morning, on hearing 
the intelligence that the cavalry supports had crossed the Saar. 
When on tlie other side of the town, between 9 and 10 o'clock, 
he observed in rear of the French linos of skirmishers, (M)lumnA 
of infantry advanvimj from Forbuch, which disappeared from 
view in the wooded countiy east of the main road and behind 
the high ground. 

Hence it appeared to him that the isolated advance of the 
14th Division was not sufficiently secured, and he thereupon sent 
orders to his brigade, then marching on Dudweiler, to move to 
Saarbriicken without delay. 

The 5th Division advanced in two main columns on the morn- 
ing of the 6th August from the neighbourhood of Neunkirchen 
towards the Saar, in order to reach its destination abreast of 
Dudweiler, as prescribed for that day. The combined Oth 
Brigade t marched along the Saarbriicken high road, the com- 
bined loth Brigade on St. Ingbert. 

The troops of the fomier column had just moved into (juarters 
— the advanced guard at Sulzbach ana Dudweiler, the main 
body at Fricdrichsthal and Bildstock — when the previously- 
mentioned order amved in the noon hour, from their brigade 
commander, to continue the march to Saarbriicken. General v. 
Stiilpnagel, who received intimation of this at noon, at once 
rode forward to St. Johann with the first squadron and the 
light battery of the advanced guard. 

Of the combined 10th Brigade,} the 12th Regiment was at 
Neunkirchen ; the remainder had occuined qnarters at Spiesen 
and St. Ingbert at noon. A communication was received soon 
after from the 6th Cavalry Division, from which it was gathered 
that they were in the act of assembling between Ensheim and 
Ormesheim, as hostile troops Avero said to be advancing from 
Habkirchen, on the Blies, to Assweiler. In consequence of this, 

• Belonging: to tlie 51 li Division, Illnl Anny Corps, 
t Combined 0th Brigiule : Mnjor-Oeneral t. Ddring. 

AdTanced Quard : Colonel t. Qarrclts. 

48tk Eeginient. 

Ist and 2nd sq. 12th Dragoons. 

8nl liglit battery- 

Sanitary detachment. 
Main body : Lieut. -Col. t. L'Estocq, 

Slh Bodyguard Grenadiera. 

Srd Rifle battalion. 

3rd heavy battery. 
X Combined 10th Brigade : Major-General t. Schwerm. 

12th Kogiment. 

52nd Regiment. 

Srd and 4th sq. 12th Dragoons. 

4th heavy and 4th light Uttteriet. 


General v. Schwerin ordered hie brigade to assemble at St. 
lugbert, which place was readied by those quartered at 
Spiesen at 2.30 p.m. ; at tins time an ainionncemont was re- 
ceived from the 12th Regiment that it had been othcnvise 
disposed of.* 

General v. Doering's report, which was forwarded by the 
Divisional commander, had meanwhile reached the Corps com- 
mander at Nemikirchen, and (icneral v. Alvensleben at one© 
gave orders that as many troops^ of his Co}*jys as possible were to 
be brought up to Saarbriicken in the course of the day. The 
12th Regiment and the 20th Regiment of the 6th Division were 
to be brought up by rail to St. Johann. Ordci-s were sent to 
St. Ingbert to march the 52nd Regiment and all the available 
artillery to Sac'irbriicken. General v. Schwerin was able to 
comply at once with this instruction as his troops were assem- 
bled ; the 1st company 52nd Regiment was alone left to hold 
the railway station. The brigade commenced its march in the 
indicated direction at 4 o'clock, the General hastening on in 
person to the battle-field with the cavalry and artillery. 

It has been already mentioned that General v. Goeben had 

t remised his support to the 14th Division in the ev(nit of its 
eing required. As the (leneral, when on the nm<l to rejoin his 
Corps, observed that the cainionado on the fintlior bank of the 
Saar was increasing in intensity, he determincid to move fonvard 
the nearest troops of his Corps to the battle-field. This was the 
16th Division, the advanced guard of which had just reached 
Quierscheidt and Fischbach towards noon, where it was to be 

On arriving at Fischbach, General v. Goeben found that Lieut.- 
General v. Barnekow commanding the Division, had, on hearing 
the thunder of guns, acted on his own responsibility and resumed 
the march \srii\\ his advanced guardf just as it was engaged in 
throwing out its outposts towards the Saar. At the same time 
the main body of the Division had also been called to arms in 
its quarters round Wcminetsweiler and Landswciler. In c»rder 
not to have too great on interval between the main body and 
advanced guard, the 72nd Regiment of Colonel v. Rex's Brigade 
and the two available batteries were to follow on to Fischbach 
and the 31st Brigade as far as Quierscheidt. (leneral v. Goeben 
could therefore look forward with certainty to the KUh Division 
co-operating in the struggle now raging on the other bank of the 
Saar, and it was therefore considered unnecessary to bring for- 
ward the 15th Division, now standing with its head at Holz ; he 
again returned to Saarbiiicken. 

When the advanced guard under Colonel v. Rex emerged at 
1.30 p.m. from the Kollerthal forest, an officer who had been 
sent lorward to the 14th Division reported that apparently there 

• It WM at St. Wendel. 

f Advanced Ouard of 16th DiTision (Colonel t. Rex, commanding 82nd Brigade) 
connisted of 40tli Regiment (7th company detached as escort to B.Q.) 9th Hupsan, 
6th heavj and Gvli light hr^tteree, pontoon c nipanj^ and eanitaiy detachment. 


was no immediate necessity for a support, but that it would be 
desirable for the 16th Division to move up to the south of Saar- 
briicken. General v. Bamekow therefore ordered the advanced 
guard to continue its march to St. Johann ; the main body also 
received orders to follow to that place. 

General v. Zastrow, commanding the Vllth Army Corps, had, 
as we have seen, empowered the conanander of the 14th Division 
to act according to his own judgment, but subsequently con- 
sidered it desirable to push forward his tohole Corps to the Saar. 
In order to obtain the sanction of army head-quarters to this 
measure. Captain v. VVesternhagen of the geneml staff* was sent 
to Eiweiler, whore (Jeneral v. Steinnietz had an'ived from Tholey 
towards noon. The commander-in-chief confinned General v. 
Zastrow's view in the foUoAving terms : — 

" The enemy must be punished for his negligence. I am like- 
wise of opinion that in order to prevent the enemy from re- 
occupying the positions which he has abandoned on tlie left 
bank of the Saar, their occupation is necessary in the interests of 
the Second Army ; and that an attempt should be made to inter- 
rupt the embarkation of the French troops at Forbach, which is 
said to be weakly pix)tected." 

Meanwhile fresh information had reached the head-qnartei'S 
of the Vllth Anny Corps at Dilsburg, which threw a douut upon 
the enemy's continuing his retreat, and which rather pointed to 
the adoance of fresh French troops upon Saarbriicken. When 
the aforesaid confirmation of his proposals reached General v. 
Zastrow between 12 and 1 p.m., he at once adiipted the following 
measures : — 

The 13th Divisitm was ordered to advance to Viilklingen and 
Wehrden, pushing forward its advanced guard in the directions 
of Ludwciler and Forbach, and sending out patrols to discover 
the strength and intentions of the enemy at t orl)ach. The 14tU 
Division was to take up a position, with a reinforced advanced 
guard on the left bank of the Saar at Saarbru(;ken, draw forward 
the main body to liockfjrshausen, throw a bridge there, and 
patrol towards Forbach — instructions which in pouit of fact had 
already been exceeded, owing to the commander having been 
accorded full liberty of action. The corps artillery was ordered 
to march to Puttlingen, north-west of Volklingen.— After these 
orders had been despatched General v. Zastrow proceeded with 
his staff to SaarbrticKcn. 

The Con)mander-in-Chief of iha First Army had at the same 
time instructed Colonel Count Wartensleben, the Quarteraiaster- 
in-Chief, to ride forward to that place to obtain more accurate 
information of the state of affairs. This officer read on the road 
the later reports sent from the battle-field to the commander of 
the yilth Army Corps, which left no doubt that the action had 
augmented both in extent and importance, a fact which the 
increasing roar of artillery tended to confirm. The colonel sent 
a comnmnication to this effect to General v. Steinmetz at 

The foregoing description shows, how in consequence of the 


intelligence from the left bank of the Saar mnce the morning of 
the 6th August, all the meaenres of the Germans compassed a 
timely and sufficient co-operation, but at the same time that the 
commanders in front line by their independent ref^ohdiona com- 
pletely anticipated the orders of superior uuthority. To this last 
circumstance the 14th Division was specially inch^bted for the 
support it received from the neighbouring corps, which, late as 
it ivns, arrived at an opportune moment. We sliall see of what 
vital importance was the airival of that support in the severe 
struggle, which that Division had at first taken upon itself 

It 18 not easy to glean from French statements at what hour 
General Frossard resolved to accei^t the contest and lii-st con- 
templated reinforcing his ad vancetl detachments. If these latter 
were not intended to cover the embarkation of troops at Forbach, 
as ascribed to them, still the Pnissian suppositionB were well 
foinided, in so far as it was evidently their object to cover a 
retreat to more rearward positions. When tlierefore French 
reports refer the conunencement of the action to 9 a.m., thev can 
only allude to the driving in of the Prussian reconnoitring 
cavalry by artillery fire. 

General Bataille, who was encamped with the 2nd Division on 
the Getingen plateau, says in his report* that he heard the first 
8(mnd of guns at lOa.m., and thereupon made his aiTangements. 
But at that hour ahots could only have been fired at the cavalry 
patrols, as the 14th Division didnotfoiTn up l)efore Saarbriicken 
until three hours later. The battle was not really opened until 
the first hour after noon. 

The JIovements of the 1 1th Division up to 4 p.m. 

The small interval separating the low range of hills on the Sihmiion oi 
left bank of the Saar from the pasnages over that river renderecl "<>o"- 
it advisable, for the better security of the latter, to move further 
forward and eject the apparently weak forces of the adversary 
from their commandnig position, as from that point of vantage 
all the movements on the ground hitheito occupied by the 
Prussians could be perfec^tly overlooked. General v. Kameke 
had the less hesitation in advancing with this object, that in case 
of need he could calculate upon the support of the neighbouring 
coips, as we have already mentioned. He therefore ordered, 
shortly before 12 o'clock, General v. Francois to drive the enemy's 
artillery ofl' the Rotherberg. 

Instructions were given to the main body of the Division for 
the 28th Brigade to cross thc^ railway bridge wckI of Saarbriicken, 
and the batteries to pass through the town. 

• Tlic original was found in the rainp of Flavigiiy, abandoned bj tlie French on 
the 16th August. 



First ftdrance 
towards tho 

General v. Francois made the following arrangements in execu- 
tion of his purpose. 

The 2nd battalion 74th Begiment having^ already advanced 
from Deutsch Mill upon Drathzug, the 3rd battalion 39th Kegi« 
ment (only 3 companies strong*) was also set in motion from tne 
Reppertsberg in the same direction, with a view to gaining the 
left Hank of the French position on the Spicheren heights, 
dolonel V. Eskens, with the other two battalions of the regiment, 
was to aim at a similar result on the enemy's ri<jht flank from 
the Stifts forest. 

Two battalions of the 74th remained in reserve on the Rep- 
pertsberg and drill-gi'ound, to wliich place General v. Fran9ois 
ordered up the 9th company 39tli Regiment from Neu^lorf. 

At noon the throe batteries of the main body reached the 
scmthern BlopeH of the Reppertsberg, whereupon the battery 
belonging to the advanced guard moved fonvard 500 paces from 
its position westward of the high-road.' WheeHng slightly to 
the left at the heights north-east of Drathzug, it came into action 
and brought an apparently efiective flanking fire to bear upon 
the enemy's guns on the Rotherberg. As the efibrts of the bat- 
teries on the lleppei-tsberg, on the other hand, were unavailing 
against the enemy's well protected front, the commander of the 
division moved them to the scmth-west slopes of the Wintorberg, 
from which iiositicm they took the enemy's guns on tho Rother- 
berg so ellectually in flank at a diKtance of 1,800 im(!e8, that the 
latter were shortly compelled to withdraw further up the heights. 

Meanwhile (/olonel v. Eskens hud comnieneetl the prescribed 
movement with his H(!Ven companieK.t of which the Ist and 3rd 
companies had especially been severely handled by the enemy's 
distant fire before leaving the Reppei-tsberg. Some cover being 
found meanwhile in the gully leading from the Winterberg to 
the pond, the 39th moved in company-columns at open intervals, 
the 2nd and 3rd companies in first, the 1st and 4th companies in 
second line, and the three companies of the 2nd battalion in rear 
of all. In this formation the low ground was traversed, first 
under a brisk but ineffectual artilleiy fire, and afterwards under 
musketry. They followed the path leading from the pond along 
the hollow west of the Stifts forest towards the sjiddle between 
the hill tops of the Gifert and Pfaffen forests, which was dis- 
tinctly recognisable from the thinness of the trees at that point. 

The men doffed their knapsacks on reaching the foot of the 
heights. The northern edge of the wood being found unoccupied, 
they conmienced to climb the thiekly wooded slopes, in doing 
which most of tho men bore off* to the westward of the saddle. 
They met with no opposition until they reached the crest of the 
heights, where the 40th French Regiment of the Une had occu- 
pied th(; wood. Here the struggle swayed backwards and 
forwards, until the two foremost comjianies ultimately succeeded 

* The 9th cent pan j had been ordered to move on BockcrBhau«en vid Neudorf in 
order to ninintain tlie communication with the I3th Division. 

f The Rth companv was in rhnrgo of thu bn^^gnge. Sco ApiK^idix XI il. 


in gradually dnving back the enemy's skirmiBhers, and gaining 
the south-east border of the Gifert forest. From this point a 
French camp at Spicheren was completely overlooked. 

As the enemy occupied in force a hollow path on the south of 
the saddle, and kept up a withering tii*e upon the bordera of the 
surrounding woods, the two companies were unable to proceed 
any further. 

The other two companies of the battalion gradually came into 
action in the thin wood on the left flank ; first, by the 1st company, 
with the exception of a section left as escort to the coloiu*, and 
afterwards further to the left the 4th ccmipany, which endea- 
voured to outflank the enemy's right. In moving through the 
more open part between the (Jifert and Pfaffen forests for that 
purpose, it came across strong bodies of French, posted behind 
the edge of a ditch. When the company advanced with fixed 
bayonets to the attack, the enemy retired half right, and then 
directed such an overwhelming fire upon the assailants in the 
open, that they were compolled again to seek cover in the wood. 
A second attempt to gain a flank position by pushing still more 
to the left also failed. The contact with the battalion was lost, 
and a brisk fire from all sides compelled them to return to their 
old position. 

While the 1st battalion was engaged in this way, the 2nd 
had also advanced, its 5th company following in rear of the 
others as a reserve. Keeping up their left shoulders, this bat- 
talion took more the direction of the Rotherberg, from which 
they were now met by a strong flanking fire. Scaling the 
steep slopes of the Gifert forest, the 7th company took part in 
the chequered skirmish in the forest on the right of the 3rd, 
during which it lost its commander. Captain Aludrack. The 
6th company had also penetrated into the wood further to the 
right, suffenng heavily from the flanking fire of the French 
chasseurs on the Rotherberg. 

By half-past 2 o'clock they succeeded in gaining the crest, 
some 300 or 400 feet in height, and the soutliern skirt of the 
Gifert forest. An attempt to move further failed before the 
murderous fire of the enemy's artillery and musketry, which 
was now directed from Spicheren at short ranges upon the 39th, 
who were partly separated fi-om the adversary by a deep 
ravine. The 6th company took up a position outside the 
wood, at a distance of 500 paces from the eastern slopes of 
the Rotherberg. 

On the first symptoms of an impending serious attack upon 
his position, General Laveaucoupet had sent the 10th Chasseur 
battalion of Doen's Brigade into tlie horse shoo trench, which 
rose immediately above the steep sides of the Rotherberg, 
and which had been hitherto occupied by the sapper company. 
During the further coui*se of the action, the French general 
of Division drew forward the whole of Slicheler's Brigade 
from its encampment to the north of Spicheren, sending the 
24th Regiment to the right wing in support of the battalion of 
the 40th driven back in the Gifert forest, and the other battaUons 

E 2 


of tlie latter re«^irnent to the Rotherberg. The battery at that 
point, as already mentioned, had been withdrawn to the rear ; 
the two others were in position immediately to the north of 
Rpichon^n, liriii^:^ upon the Prussian companies whenever they 
attempted to debouch from the CJifert forest. The two squadrons 
of the 7th Dragoons, attached to the Division, were watching 
the Siiubach against any surpri8e froin that direction, 
uoon Stirir^ ^^ ^'^ o'clock the 2nd battahon 74th Regiment came up on 
Weildel. " ^^^^ extreme right flank of the Prussian line at Drathzug. That 

homestead was occupied by a company; two othera having 
ensconced themselves on either side of the railway ; the com- 
pany left originally at the Saar bridge was also called up. 
During this advance the enemy was not seen. As the north- 
east corner of the Stiring copse appeared to be unoccupied, the 
skirmishing division of the Oth company was thrown into it. By 
degi-ees the enemy appeared to become aware of the presence 
of Prussian troops, and threw some shells into the homestead. 

In pursuance of the orders received from General v. Francjois, 
the 3rd battalion 39th Reg-iment now came up from the drill 
ground to the Folster heights, advancing in three company- 
columns between the high-road and the railway. Some hostile 
g\ms, which were hitherto unobserved, came rapidly into action 
between the high-road and Stiringcopse, and opened a vigorous 
fire upon the battalion, the infantry also firing from the 
Spicheren slopes; little damage, however, was done. The 
skirmishing division of the 12th company was pushed forward 
towards the high-road to protect the left flank, and the battahon 
after crossing the Folster heights at once moved towards the 
copse. Whilst moving through it, connection was established 
with the skinnishing division of the 74th, which was at this 
time engaged with the enemy's advancing lines of skirmishera. 
Verge's Division, forming tlie left wing of the French position, 
was at this time distributed as follows: Of JoH vet's Brigade at 
Stiring Wendel, the 77th Regiment was occupying that village 
and the iron foundry, and sweeping the railway and the adjacent 
Hkirts of the forest with its lire. A half-battalicm, as ah'eady 
mentiunrd, was pushed forward towards Schoneck. The 7l)tK 
Regiment and tiie 3rd Rifle battalion were deployed in firat 
line to the north and north-east of Stiring Wendel, most of the 
rifles l)eing in Stiring copse. Both regiments of Valaze's 
Brigade were still on the Kanincheuberg near Forbach; the 
three batteries of the Division were in action between the copse 
and the high-road. They soon however had to retire to the 
heights abutting on the east of Stiring Wendel, in consequence 
of the annoyance they suffered from the advance of the Prus- 
sian infantry. 

The 39th, under Major v. Wangenheim, had pressed onward 
as far as the middle of the co[)se, regardless of the brisk fire 
from the enemy's musketry and mitrailleuses. The increasing 
thickness of the undergrowth, and the superiority of the enemy's 
force, which became more and more apparent at every step, 
prevented, however, any further progi-ess. The three companies 


established themselves in the wood, as well as they could, but 
held out with difficiJty and not witliout severe loss against the 
successive onslaughts of the adversary's troops, particularly of 
the rifles. Just as little head was made by the skirmishing 
division detached towards the high-road, as the enemy held the 
homesteads at that point. The division took up a position in 
a hollow road, about a thousand paces from the custom house, 
and kept up a brisk fire from this covered position upon the 
French infantry and artillery. 

In order to keep pace with the advance of the 3i)th, the 2nd 
battalion 74th Regiment, on its right, had crossed the railway 
under a heavy mitrailleuse fire ; only the skirmishing division 
of the 6th company was left in the Stiring copse. The battalion, 
under Major v. Eberstein, advanced into the Saarbriicken parish 
wood, which was not occupied by the enemy ; the 7th company, 
leading the advance, reached the southern margin at 1.30 p.m. 
Breaking up entirely into lines of skirmishers, this company at 
once commenced a sharp skirmish with strong detachments of 
the 77th French Regiment on the heights to the nortli of Old 
Stiringen. It suffered heavily ; Captani Osterwald, commanding 
the company, was severely wounded. Tlic two divisions of the 
Cth company (;ame up on tlie right of tlie 7th, in (u-der to 
extend the line of fire; in rear of all moved the remainder of 
the battalion in company-columns at open intervals. 

As an unfavourable turn in the action on the further side of 
the railway had meanwhile become apparent, the commander 
of the battalion sent back the 8th company, as a temporaiy 
measure, to the railway-crossing west of Urathzug, where its 
skirmishing division became shortly involved in a vigorous fight 
on the permanent way, losing many men. On the other hand, 
the company succeeded in repulsing a Frencli column moving 
by the side of the pond, by reserving their fire until it had 
approached to within 100 paces. 

The whole of Jolivet*s Brigade with the rifle battalion had 
now deployed within and on both flanks of the Stiring copse, 
and had pressed back the three companies of the 3i)th more and 
more to tlie rear. Under these circumstances, Major v. Kberatein 
brought over the remainder of his battalion to the east side of 
the railway without being followed by the enemy, and at the 
same time the much needed support came up to the SDtli from 
the rear. 

The two battalions of the 74th,* originally held in reserve, 
were, as we shall presently see, also in the act of moving for- 
ward at this period f between 1 and 2 o'clock). Tlio 3rd com- 
pany had already skiiied the eastern edge of the parish wood 
via Deutsch Mill, their object being, if possible, to approach 
unobserved the left flank of tho enemy's artillery on the Rother- 
berg, the shells from which had wrought considerable damage 
to both battaUons when making their first ascent of the heights 
south of Saarbriicken. The other seven companies, the fusfliers 

* The let and the fusilier battalione. 


Firit advance 
upon the 

in first line, were advancing upon the Rotherberg, when General 
V. Fraiifois received intimation of the didtressed state of his 
right wing. In consequence of this, he ordered the 1st and 
2nd companies to proceed in the direction of the Stiring copse. 
They were joined, when passing over the Folster heights, by 
paii; of the 3rd company, which had meanwhile debouched 
n*om the parish wood at Drathzug, and had already suffered 
heavily from the musketry and mitrailleuses. The remainder 
of this company moved towards the high road. 

After advancing from the Folster heights into the Stiring 
copse for about HOG paces, the 2nd company joined the hard 
pressed right flank ot the 39th whilst the 1st companv further 
to the left lent its support to the detachments as they lell back, 
and again led them iorward. 

These fresh troops effected a change in the situation of affairs, 
in that soon after 3 p.m. the southern and western edges of the 
copse were mastered. The two companies of the 74th which 
during the contest in the wood had entirely moved up on the 
right flank of the 39th, emerged from the western edge and 
advanced towards the railwuy, sullering but little loss from the 
brisk musketry fire of the enemy. They now came within range 
of the French artillery east of Stiring Vv endel, which swept the 
whole of the ground between the parish wood and Old Stiringen. 
The fire of a French battalion from the yard of the foundry 
also caused them much annoyance, and in order to oppose it 
Captain Weber, with half of the 1st company, pressed forward 
across a marshy swamp, in which the men sank up to their hips, 
towards a house on the railway close to Old Stiringen. They 
occupied it, and brought an effective flanking fire to bear upon 
the hostile battalion from both stories. 

As the fight in the copse turned in favour of the Prussian 
arms, the 2nd battalion 74th Regiment resumed its old position 
at the southern edge of the parish wood. Towards 3 o'clock 
the skirmishing diviKitms of the 5th, Gth,* and 7th companies 
stormed the heights of the old coal pits in front of Old Stiringen, 
which were then occupied by the 5th company. This latter 
afterwards extended its line of skirmisliers to the right as far 
as the true Stiring forest, the Gth and 7th companies throwing 
themselves into the cutting on the Old Stiringen-Sehiineck 
high-road. The 8th company drawn fonvard likewise from the 
railway remained in reserve at the northern foot of these heights. 

We must again revert to the period anterior to 1 o'clock. 

The Rotherberg, conspicuous at a distance by its glowing 
red hue. projecting like a bastion from the enemy's front, and 
flanking all lines of approach along the open gi'ound, miisi be 
captured if it be desired to eject the enemy from his strong 

1'lie difliculty, nay inipossibility, of an unaided fx'ontal attack 
on that point could not oe disguised^ and a flank movement to 

* This Bkinnishing diTision, originally left in tbe Stiring copte, had meanwhile 
rejoined iU battalion. 


the left and right was therefore resorted to with a view to 
facilitating the assault. 

As Colonel v. Eskens* advance in the former direction with 
the Ist and 2nd battalions 39th Regiment now appeared to be 
making headway through the Oifert forest, the coininauder of 
the Division gave orders for the attack of the llotherborg. 
Shortly after 1 o'clock General v. Frangois led thither in person 
the two battalions of the 74th from the drill-ground.* 

To support this movement the tliree batteries were brought 
forward from the Wiiiterberg to tlie Galgenberg. Although 
wthin range of the enemy's musketry, they directed their fire 
upon the troops on the Spi<-here!i heights. 

The fusilier battalion had deployed mto line with its companies 
at 80 paces interval, the whole of its skirmishing di\nBion8 being 
from 150-200 paces in front. In this formation it traversed the 
open hollow from the Reppertsberg and Galgenberg under a 
destructive fire from the enemy's batteries and shelter-trenches. 
With every moment the losses increased, but the attenuated 
ranks closed again, and without a waver reached the foot of the 
heights. Major v. d. Mulbe commanding the battalion had long 
recognised the difficulty of his und(»,rtaking. Ho deemed a 
direct ascent of the steep ami rocky slopes impracjtieable, with- 
out a corresponding flanking movement. Restraining the 
attempts of some of the more foolhardy, he ordered every man 
to get under cover below the heiglits, at the same time keeping 
up out a moderate fire upon the enemy's riflemen j)ercliod above 
them. As the enemy swept the entire foot of the hei^jhts from 
his shelter-trenches, which lined the edge of the piecipice, cover 
was only to be obtained by crouching under the rocky walls. 

Meanwhile General v. Fran^-ois had retnrned to the 1st bat- 
talion, which was following the, fusiliers at some little distance 
and overlapping them on the right. It will be remembered that 
ui consequence of intelligence from the riglit wing, the General 
had ordered the Ist and 2nd companies into the S tiring copse, 
and that the 3rd company was also employed partly there and 
partly towards the liigh road. The 4th company had also been 
originally assigned a south-Avcsterly direction ; it afterwards 
received a contrary order to move towards the east side of the 
Rotherberg, with a view to supporting the debouch from the 
Gifeii; forest. Without much loss the company reached the 
north-west corner of that forest, where it found protection 
against the enemy's projc^ctiles imder one of the i)rojecting 
natural teiTaces, and took up the connection on the left with the 
6th company 39th Regiment. The i)th company of ihe latter 
regiment, wliich had iust arrived on the drill ground, was also 
brouffht up towards the Rotherberg. 

Colonel V. Pannwitz, commanding the Tith Regimont, who 
had accompanied his fusilier battalion in the first instance, was 
now returning to the rest of his command. General v. Francois 

* The Ist and the fusilier battalion. The 9th company 80th Regiment ovdorcd up from 
Neadorf to that phice, had not yet arrived. See p. 210. 


gave him the command of the right wing of the fighting line, 
and after making the necessary arrangements, again rode forward 
to the Rotherbcrg. 

But nt this point it was imposyible to advance for the present, 
so that the stniggle was confined for a time to the cflbrts of the 
artillery. Tlieir well-aimed fire compelled the adversary's bat- 
teries still visible on the Rotherberg to Umber up. Less success- 
ful was the effect upon those French guns which were originally 
at Golden Bremm, out had subsequently withdi'awn nearer to 
Stiriug Wendel on the approach of tlie Prussian infantry through 
the copse. The battery of the advanced guard, however, came 
into action against them from the neighbourhood of Drathzu^, 
whither it had advanced from its second position* about 3 o'clocK. 
A French ammunition wagon was blown up ; the hostile batteries 
ceased firing shortly after and retired. In order to improve this 
advantage the 2nd heavy battery was also brought over to the 
west side of the high road ; but the withdrawal of the French 
artillery had left it nothing to fire at. It therefore took up a 
position on the northern point of the Folster heights, and sub- 
sequently opened an ellective fire upon columns of French 
infiuitry moving forward upon the Spichoren heights.! 
Arrixml of the Towards 3 p.m. the 28th Brigade gmdually came up into the 
28tk Brigade, action On the right flank between the high-road and the Stiring 


In accordance with General Kameke*s already mentioned 
orders^ the brigade (5 battalions strong §) commenced to cross 
the railway bridge south-west of ilalstatt at 12 o'clock, and 
subsequently moved without halting along both sides of the 

The advance was led by the 1st and 4th companies of the 
53rd Regiment ; the remainder of the regiment followed in three 
half-battalions, the rear being brought up by the 77th Regiment. 

As the parish wood was already found m the occupation of 
the 2nd battalion of the 74th, which was then preparing for the 
previously described attack upon the old coal pits, General v. 
VVoyna resolved to movu against the enemy's left flank, lie 
swept round to the right with the 1st battalion 53rd Regiment, 
and advanced along the slope of the Stiring forest under a 
heavy fire from the adversiiry. The two half-battalions of 
fusiliers followed this movement with some difficulty through 
the thick undergrowth, gradually losing contact with the leading 
battalion. The skirmishing division of the 11th company, thrown 
out to the left as flankers, moved on the east of the railway 
towards Stiring Wendel. We shall see presently that both bat- 
talions gradually came into action to the north of the village on 
the extreme right wing. 

The 77th Regiment, following in rear, came up from a variety of 

• See p. 210. 
f Down's brigade. 
t See p. 209. 

§ The 2nd battalion 53rd Regiment, acting at escort to the corpt artillery, did not 
reach the field of battle until erening. 

unp pa/^- 2i7 



directions into the foremost fighting line. The 2nd and 3rd com- 
panies had ascended the Schanzenberg at Deutsch Mill, and were 
now forcing their way by a long detour through the thick under- 
growth of the parish wood, so as to gain the enemy's left flank 
as had been prescribed to them. The 1st and 4th companies 
moved along tlic railway, and tnwnnls l\ o'clock the former side 
by side with the 31>th occupied the soutlicrn angle of the 
Stiring copse, the latter regiment gaining a position abreast of 
them on the permanent way. The two other battalions followed 
at first in the same du'ection. On reaching the south side of 
Deutsch Mill, between 1 and 2 o'clock, they were requested* to 
eject the enemy from the copse through which he was still 
advancing, and afterwards to move towards the Spichoren 
heights. In order to comply with this request the 2nd battalion 
entered the copse shortly before 3 o'clock. 

The fuHiliers, who had followi^d the 2nd battaHon in tho first 
instance, quitted the railway at Drathzug, crossed the north- 
east corner of the copse, and subsequently moved over the open 
ground towards the Golden Brcnun and naraque Motitou home- 
steads situated on the high-road. 

The l«5th Hussars had taken up a position south of the drill- 
ground in the Ehrenthal in order to maintain the connection 
between the two ^vings of the extended line of battle. 

The sketch opposite shows the distribution of the Prussian 
troops up to 3 p.m. and will serve to explain the proceedings 
now about to be described. 

At the commencement of the action the whole of the bat- Sifcuation on 
talions of the foremost brigade (v. Francois) were enij>loyed in ^*** "**** •* 
attacking, as simultaneously as circuinstanc(,»s W(ml(l alloNv, the ^*"* 
front and flanks of the adversary's position. As it then became 
apparent that these forces were insufficient for the purpose, all 
the reinforcements had to be drawn from the brigade (v. 
Woyna) which followed. The arrival of the latter at various 
points of the line of battle mixed the brigades and rendered the 
exercise of command very difficult, especially on the right 
whig, where the battalions of different regiments had already 
become intermingled. 

On the French side, in addition to the 3rd Chasseur battalion, 
the whole of Jolivet's Brigade was brought forward by degi'ces 
uito the foremost fighting line of the left whiff eastward of 
Stiring Wendel. But as these troops gmdually Tost ground in 
the vigorous and fluctuating engagement, General Frospard also 
ordered the 32nd Regiment of Valaze's Brigade to advance from 
the Kaninchenberg to Ktiring Wendel. As the left flank was 
at that time already threatened from the direction of the forest, 
General Verge threw two battalions of this regiment into the 

• Thia request waa preferred to them by the adjutant of the 74tli, who, on being 
wounded, had come out of action in order to fetch fresh lior^cs for himself and hi^ 
chief. The latter had told him to ai<k any troops which he might meet on the ruad, 
to more to the western slopes of the Spichcren heiglits. 


iron foundry, and retained the third in the village as reserve. 
The artillery of Verge's Division in action to the eastward of 
Stiring Wendel, although reinforced later by a 12-pounder 
battery from the resei've, was unable, as we have seen, to hold 
its ground against the fire of the Prussian artillery. On the 
bloAving up 01 an ammunition wagon it commenced its retreat, 
in effecting which it was obliged to abandon five guns on the 
Old Stiriugen-Spicheren road, owing to casualties among the 

In order to secure his position at this point against any 
attempt to force it. General Frossard brought up to the neigh- 
bourhood of Stiring another battery of horse artillery from the 
reserve and two squadrons of the 4th Chasseurs, the latter 
taking up a position to the south of the village with the two 
squadrons of the 7th Dragoons attached to Verge's Division. 

General Laveaucoupet had brought up his rifle battalion and 
the whole of Michelei-'s Brigade into the action on the Spichereu 
heights, partly to the Rotherberg, partly against the two 
Prussian bji^ttalions pressing forward in tlie Gifeii; forest. But 
as the aiiimuuition of the French troops was partially expended 
and their resistance commenced to relax, Doen s Brigade was 
set in movement to make an enveloping attack towards 
3 o'clock : the 2nd Regiment against the Prussian left wing, the 
63rd to the Rotherberg. The latter in its advance came under 
the already mentioned fire of the Prussian artillery on the 
Folster liuiglits. 

Whilst the wliole of Laveaucoupet's Division was tlius 
gradually l)rought forward into the engagement, the head of 
Bataille's Division reached the Spicheren plateau from Oetingen. 
BastouFs Brigade, reinforced by a battalion of the 23rd Regiment 
and a battery, had marched ni the forenoon directly the can- 
nonade was audible to the northward. On finding that the 
Stiring positions were also threatened, General Bataille ordered 
up the rest of his Division in this direction. Only the rifle 
battalion and a company of engineers were left behind to guard 
the camp at Oetingen. 

We may here state that the G7th Regiment of Bastoul's 
Brigade subsequently moved towards the north-western slopes 
of the Spicheren heights, from which the low groimd at Stinng 
is commanded. Of the GGth Regiment, one battalion advanc^^d 
to the Rotherberg ; another, with the battalion of the 23rd 
Regiment, moved olF further to the right, in order to support 
Micheler*8 Brigade, engaged in the Gifert forest. The 3rd 
battalion of the GOth Regiment took up a position at Spicheren. 
The battery which had come up with Bastoul's Brigade rein- 
forced the artillery of Laveaucoupet's Division, which was firing 
iiTCgularly for want of ammunition. The other two batteries 
marched to Stiring Wendel. 

Of the other troops of Bataillo's Division set in movemeut 
towards that place, the two battalions of the 23rd were subse* 
quently employed, partly in the village itself and partly on the 
extreme left ^ving, to meet the outnanking movement which 


was constantly threatening from the Stiring forest. A battjilion 
of the 8th took up a position south-east of Stiring Wendel in 
reserve; the other two were called up to the Spicliuruii heights 
by General Bataille. 

At 3 o'clock the whole of Verge's Division, with the exception 
of the 55th Regiment at F(»rl)ach, was engaged in tlie low ground 
at Stiring ; Laveaucoupet's Division was on the SjucHieren heights. 
Bataille*s Division was in the act of advancing towards both 
wings of the line of battle ; part of it had already arrived on the 
Spicheren plateau. 

As aheady mentioned,* the French batteries on the Rother- Storming of 
berg and on the Forbach high-road had been compelled tore- the Bother- 
treat, owing to the visible superiority of the Prussian artillery ; ^^th of 
the infantry on the arrival of the 28th Brigade also made unmis- Genenl r. 
takeable progress in the direction of Stiriiig Wendtil. Under iJ'ratov*'"- 
these apparently favourable circumstances, Litnit-Qeneral v. 
Kameke repeated his former order to attack the enemy and drive 
him from the Rothorbcrg. When those instnictions reached 
General v. Francois towards *i o*(^lock, th(* fusilier battalion of 
the 74tht was holding its grouiul in the nuinner already de- 
scribed on the slopes of the heights. The moment for tlie assault 
was happily chosen, in so far as at this time the firing from the 
enemy's shelter trenches was on the wane ; the adversary's 
attention was turned more to the right, where the participation 
of the 4th company of the regiment,t in conjunction with the 
39th under Colonel v. Eskens in the Gifert forest, was now 
making itself felt. The 9th company 39th Regiment.t under 
GapUiin Heniihold, which had been ordered uj) by General v. 
Fran9ois, was also approaching the foot of the heights. 

Leaving a small cletachment in rear, the fusiliers of the 74th 
Regiment, led by their general, commenced scaling the steep 
and rocky slopes. Climbing with cUlficulty from Icnigi? to hidge, 
and resolved to attack the enemy with butt and Uiyonet, they 
approached nearer and nearer the edge of the heights. After a 
few minutes th(^ foremost shelter tri^nch skirting the edge was 
reached, to the evident surprise of the French riilemen, who 
were driven out after a short resistance and took refuge behind 
an undulation of the higher gi'ound. Small though the room 
and murdenms the fire, the men speedily rallied round their 
cliiefs for a further advance, as the French infantry were making 
a vigorous counter-attack from the direction of the Gifert forc^st. 
At this moment, the Uth company of tlie I)9th, encouragiMl by 
the cheers of General v. Franrois, also reached the heights. The 
general, placing himself at tlu»ir head and waving his sword on 
high, exclaimed, " Forward, my bravo Thirty-ninth I " and led 
the small band with drum beating against the outnumbering 

• See p. 216. 
t Sec p. 215. 


Pierced with five bullets, the brave general sank to the earth* 
The annihilating file-fire of the French rendered any further 
advance impossible ; the remnant of the five companies,* how- 
ever, remained unflinchingly by the side of their dying com- 

General v. Francois expired after a few minutes, breathing the 

words, " It is indeed glorious to die on the field of battle. I die 

*' in peace, for I see that the battle progresses onward." 

l^»ej«| ot In order to meet the danger threatemng from the Qifert forest, 

£e GH^^ *° considerable bodies of French had, as we have seen, been set in 

forert. movement in that direction, part of which acted in immediate 

support of Micheler's Brigade, while part endeavoured to out- 
flanic the extreme Prussian left. 

The 1st battalion 39th Regiment, which was here engaged, 
resisted, in the most heroic way, the ever-increasing superiority 
of the French. Major v. Wichmann, commanding the battalion, 
fell; several officers wore placed hors de combat; no supervision 
or unity of action was possible on the steep and woody slopes. 
The men, exhausted by the long struggle, liad partly fired away 
their ammuniticm ; there was neither support at hand nor the 
wherewithal to replenisli their pouches. Under these circum- 
stances, with three hostile battalions attacking them in front and 
at the same time outflanked on their left, the Prussians ulti- 
mately found themselves compelled to retreat. The enemy 
followed as far as the northern skirt of the wood, from whence 
he directed a destinictive file-fire upon our shattered troops as 
they retired to the Winterberg, but without making any further 
advance. He seemed satisfied with occupving the depression 
between the Gifert and Pfaffen forests, and the adjacent out- 
skirts with the 2nd Regiment ; the 24th was again withdrawn.! 

At the same time that the Prussian battalion on the left flank 
was engaged with the two lust-named regiments, a similar 
unequal struggle was taking place further to the right, where 
Major V. d. Hardt with 3 companies of the 2nd battalion was 
opposed to the 40th French regiment of the line. The 6th com- 
pany maintained its position in front of the Rotherbcrg,} from 
whence it had supported v. Fran^ujis' attack with its fire. On 
the other hand, the two companies pushed forward to the 
southern border of the Gifert forest were forced to retire by 
degrees to the ridge, and part even as far as the northern edge 
of the wood. As the enemy did not press after them, but rather 
moved off to the left towards the Rotherberg, the 7th company 
succeeded in maintaining its position on the northern slopes of 
the Gifert forest. The 5th company, close on its left, again 
advanced to the ridgo, and the greater part of the 3rd company, 
on the left wing, conformed. Onl}*^ a division of the latter com- 

* The fusilier battalion of the 74th and 9th coinpany 39th Bef^ment. 

t There is no doubt that this caution on the part of the enemy may be ascribed to 
his having remarked the adyanco of fresh Prussian reiuforeements, to which we 
shall presentlj allude. 

I See p. 211. 


pany had joined the other part« of the lot battalion in the rear- 
ward movement to the Winterberg. Towards 4 p.m. tlie latter 
took post there alongside of the recently arrived reinforcements. 

The arrival of fresh forces had nnqucstionably become of the 
greatest importance to the Prussians, in order to support the 14th 
Division, extended over a front of nearly 3 miles, in its hitherto 
unequal struggle. The dense columns of Bastoul's Brigade could 
at tliis time be distinctly seen descending the PfaflTenberg 
towards Spicheren. At any moment we might expect our 
attenuated front fighting line to be driven back or pierced by a 
general advance of the enemy's overwhelming force. 

CtouRSB OP THE Action later in the Afternoon. 

On his arrival at Saarbriicken, General v. Goeben, as the senior AmT»l of tbr 
general officer present, assumed the chief command on the battle- ^f "*^'^*?' 
field. This occurred at the time when the 28th Brigade had j^thWvSSoL. 
moved into the wooded country at Stiring, when General v. 
Fran9oi8 was storming the sides of the Rotherberg, and when 
the troops in the Gifert Forest were already giving way before 
the enemv's superior forces. A speedy reinforcement was urgently 
required by the weak and evidently hard-pressed left wmg in 
the Gifert forest and on the Rotherberg. General v. Goeben 
therefore resolved to employ the arriving troops against the 
steep and wooded northern slopes of the Spicheren heights, so 
as to obtain a permanent footing there, and taking the enemy's 
positions in flank, press forward to the plateau. It seemed 
unadvisable at the present juncture to hold back any reserves, it 
being above all things necessary to restore the wavering fight. 
In case of need, the parts of the Ilird and Vlllth Army Corps, 
which might be expected later on, would form a reserve. 

For the present — ^between 3 and 4 o'clock — the only troops 
at disposal were the foremost detachments of the 5th and 16th 
Divisions, which arrived almost simultaneously, the one on the 
Winterberg, the other on the Reppertsberg. 

The 9th Hussars and the two batteries led the advance of the 
16th Division. They reached the Reppertsberg soon after 
8 o'clock, and took up a position in the Ehrenthal next to the 
15th Hussars. 

Of the batteries, the heavy one was the first to advance west 
of the high-road to the Galgenberg, where it was followed by 
the light, moving on the east of the road, as the great distance 
of the Reppertsberg precluded any good effect against the 
enemy's artillery on the Spicheren heights. The fire of these 
fresh rrussian guns was airectetl for a time chiefly upon the 
mitrailleuse battery of Laveaucoupet's Division, which, on the 
withdrawal of the Prussian companies in the Gifert forest, had 
advanced to the south-west angle of that wood. 

By 4 o'clock the three battalions of the 40th Regiment had 
come up by degrees to the Reppertsberg behind the batteries. 


The first six companies were set in movement towards the 
Botherberg, the other five* towards the Gifert forest. 

The commander of the 5th Division, General v. Stulpnagel,t 
had reached the battle-field with the light battery after 2 o'clock ; 
he had ordered the squadron of dragoons to proceed along the 
light bank of the Saar, to observe Saargemiind. After 3 oxlock 
the remaining troops of his advanced guard reached the Winter- 
berg, having crossed the old bridge of St. Johann in rapid 

The renewed ofFensive movements which were in preparation 
from the Reppertsberg and Win terberg now took place under the 
effective co-operation of these G batteries of the Finst Army. 

The respective positions winch these batteries maintained 
until after G p.m. are shown on the sketch below. 


Shoioing the positioiis of the batteries of theht Army at 3.30-6 j>.m. 






EXFLAVATIOK. — ^Tlie figures in the numerators denote tbe numbers of tlie batteries 

(Boman >■ heayy; Arabic ■■ light). The numbers in the de* 
nominators indicate the regiments to which the batteries belong. 

The batteiy on the Folster heights, with its front to the south- 
east, maintained an effective flanking fire upon the Spichcren 
heights. Hostile columns of infantry, which on several occasions 
endeavoured to gain the Kotherberg from the rear, wore forced 

* See remark, p. 207t 
t See p. 206. 


by its fire to retire. It also hindevod two hostile liattoriee in 
tneir attempt to come into action on tlie lioiglitfl againRt it. It 
also dismonnted two pieces of a mitrailleuse battery, which had 
appeared during the course of the action on the spur of the 
Forbacjh lieights projectnig towards (Jolden r>ronnn, and com- 
pelled it hkemse to retire. 

The two batteries between the high road and Drathzug had 
engaged with success the enemy's artillery at Stiring Wendel, 
and gave eflfectivo support to the fusiliers of the 77th in their 
advance upon the two nomesteads on the high-road. They sub- 
sequently impeded the advance of hostile columns which were 
attempting to descend from the Forbach heights to the farm 
buildings. In this they wore assiHtcd by the nearest battery on 
the east of the high road, whilst the two batteries on the left 
flank brought then* fire to bear upon the hostile troops on the 
Rotherberg or on the high-road, according as the fluctuations of 
the infantiy fight demanded, until the decisive advance of the 
Prussian infantry ultimately masked the fire of the ai-tillery and 
caused its suspension. 

After the 48th Regiment had assembled and formed up on the 
Winterberg, General v. Doring, with the concurrence of the com- 
mander of t^e 5th Division, oraered the Ist and fusilier battalions 
under Colonel ▼• Garrelts to advance against the Gifert forest 
at half-past 3 o'clock. The troops proceeded in the direction 
previously taken by Colonel v. Eskens, towards the saddle of the 
mil between the (jifert and Pfaffen forests, which was recog- 
nizable by the thinness of the wood at that point. The 2nd 
squadron of the 12th Dragoons scoured the flank towards 
St. Amual, on the left bank of the Saar ; the battery at first 
remained on the Winterberg, and sulisequently advanced to the 
line of guns on the Galgenberg, but owing to the want of a suit- 
able object did not open fire. 

The debris of the 1st battalion 39th Regiment was moved into 
a supporting position further to the rear. 

At this time the Ist battalion 12th Regiment* had likewise 
reached St. Johann by rail. It advanced at once to the Repperts- 
berg, and was thence set in movement for tlie Rotherberg at 
4 p.m. The 2nd battalion of the regiment, which an-ived half 
an hour later, followed, taking a direction more to the left towards 
the east side of the heights. 

General v. Alvensleben, commanding the Ilird AiTiiy Coips, 
had also travelled by one of these trains to St. Johann. He 
hastened forthwith to the battle-field, where he fully agreed 
with General v. Stiilpnagel tliat the hitended attack on the 
French right wing must be followed up with all possible vigour. 
In consequence of this, the latter officer at 4.30 p.m. ordered the 
2nd battalion 48th Regiment to advance from the Winteibcrg, in 
order to fill in the first place the gap between Colonel v. Gan*elts' 
two battalions and the troops coming from the Keppci-tsberg. 

These and the subsequent measures, although emanating irom 

• Bee pp. 206>7. 


the generals of different army corps and armies, were in unison 
with the general control of the action assumed bj General v. 
Goeben, and were for the most part mutuallj" agreed upon by 
the various commanders. Generally speakmi^, Generals v. 
Doeriug, v. Stiilpnagel, and v. Alvensleben led the advance from 
the Wiiiterberg: Generals v. Kameke, v. Bamekow, and v. 
Goeben that by the Reppertsberg and Galgenberg. 

At half-past 4 in the afternoon General v. Zastrow, command* 
ing the Yllth Army Coips, arrived on the battle-field, and 
assumed the chief command as the senior in rank. 
Benewed A tremendous struggle for the possession of the heights now 

Gitot^orett** ^lifi^ed on the Rotherberc, and in the Gifertand Pfaffen forests, 
and on the In firat line on the French aide counting from the left, were the 
Botherberg, 63rd Regiment, the lOth (/haAseur Imttalion, and the 2nd Regi- 
4^imd7 ment ; opposed to them at the outset, and with difficulty main- 

taining the ground which they had gained, were the 10 com- 
panies* of the 14th Division, as the previously mentioned 8 bat- 
talions of the 5th and 16th Divisions only joined in by degrees. 
The course of the struggle admits of the main features being 
alone depicted, as the troops of the four different brigades became 
mixed up at an early period, and owing to the difficulty of fixing 
precisely the times of the different phases of the action, no great 
exactness in the details can be attempted. Let us commence 
with the left wing. 

The two battalions of the 48th Regiment under Colonel v. 
Garrelts advanced in the following formation towards the eastern 
part of the Gifeit forest ; the fusiliers in first line, the 9th and 
12th companies in company-columns, the remainder as a half- 
battalion in rear ; in rear of all came the Ist battalion, likewise 
in half-battalions. These troops reached tlie foot of the heights 
not far from the oft-mentioned saddle, under a slight shell and 
musketry fire, passing the last strip of ground at the double. 
Whilst tlie 1st battalion remained tem[»orarily in reserve behhid 
an eai-thern bank, the fusiliers commenced to ascend the wooded 
slopes of the ravine. The adveraary, crouching in the ditches 
ana under cover of tlio large trees, received them with a brisk 
fire. On finding himsulf, however, taken in flank by the 9th 
company, which luul brought up its right shoulder, he withdrew 
skirmishuig through the high wood. The fusiliers retaining 
generally their original formation, followed, losing many men 
and reached the southern skirt of the wood about 6 p.m. The 
enemy withdrew across the open between the Gifert and Pfaffen 
forests, just as he had done in the first attack of the 89th, 
with a view to making another stand in the deep ditches of 
the road leading to it from the south, and there overwhelming 
the fusiliers with superior forces. Mennwhile, at the instance of 
Lieut.-General v. Stillnnnpel then present, the Ist battalion had 
advanced with the object of turning the adversary's right. 
Covering its own left flank with a division, it reached the out- 

* The fusilier buttnlion nnd the 4th co ni pan r 74th Segiuicnt ; 9th, 5th, 6th, 
7th, and t>ro*thirds of the Srd conipaD}r 301 h Kegiroent. 


skirt of the wood half an hour after the fusilierfl, just at the 
moment when the enemy was making a vigorous forward 
movement with strong bodic's of skirmishers. It succeeded in 
repulsing thom at all points, and maintaining the edge of the 
wood which had been captured. 

On the Rotherberg the situation of the five Prussian com- 
panies* had assutned so unfavourable an appearance after General 
V. Francois' death, that a support became more and more 
neccssaiy. Ammunition had ah-eady begun to fail, and it was 
only by exemplaiy steadiness that the shelter trenches firet 
captured on the extreme edge of the heights could be maintained. 
On the ridge gently shaping upwards from thence, the enemy 
had strongly occupied two other defensive positions. The 
nearest was on a swell of the ground commaii<ling the entire 
slope as far as the lower edge* of the heights ; the second position 
consisted of shelter trenches on the most elevated part of the 
ridge, the adjacent wood forming a safe support. Ihe infantrv 
defence of both positions was supplemented by artillerv, which 
was advantageously posted further to the rear on the heigh t8,t 
any advance on tlie part of the Prussians along the naiTow 
tongue of the heights would l)e flanked by the French from the 
Gifert forests The Prussian Fusiliers only awaited the arrival 
of the first reinforcement to commence this movi'inent. 

The 3rd battalion 40th Regiment was in point of fact at this 
moment apnroacliing. When the 9th company of the regiment 
commenced the ascent of the Uotheiberg, the Prussian com 
batants had almost entirely ext)ended their ammunition. Ad- 
vancing together they captured the nearest hostile jjosition on 
the swell of the gnmnd. The 12th company, which had made 
a wider circuit to the eastward, and had thereby gained the 
right flank of the third position along the ridge, came into view 
soon after. After a short but vigorous musketry action, th© 
adversary gave up this positicm as well, and threw hunself into 
the nearest part of the Gifert forest and into the pits in front, 
which liere brought the action to a standstill. General v. 
Bamekow now ordered the other two companies to advance 
into the foremost fighting line. After rapidly climbing the 
heights, the lOth followed the western slope, captured HO men 
in a small ravine, and then operated against the enemy's left 
flank from the nearest heights ; the 1 1th took part in the front 

Whilst the Prussians were thus fighting transversely to the 
ridge in a long line at open intervals, strong detachments of the 
lOtn French Chasseur battalion and 6iird Kegiuient broke out 
of the Gifert forest against their left flank. 

At this critical moment, however, fresh forces on the Prussian 
side took a decisive part in the most opportune manner. 

* Fusilier battalion 74tb Regiment and 0th company 3!)tli R4*gimont. 

t It may here be noticed that a deeply sunken Tulley seiMirates the Stifts and 
Oifert forests, and also the Rotherberg from the more open hrighte on the noui h. 
See Plan. 




Of the iBt battalion 12th Regiment, tlie let company advancing 
on the treat of the road from Saavhriicken to Spicheren, had 
climbed the Ki»therberg, and in concert with the troopR fighting 
on the open ridg(5 repnlned the fiiBt oflensive movement of the 
enemy. Kastivard of the wime road, the 2nd company had 
meanwhile dashed up to within 300 paces of the strongly occu- 
ied northern edge of the Gifert forest, ensconced itself in a 
lollow in front, and thereby supported the half-battalion, which 
was following, in its advance up the eastern slope of the Rother- 
berg. This latter was thus enabled, after sending forward strong 
bodies of skirminhers vn\\\ closely following 8ni)poi*t8, to partici- 

Iiate in the violent st in ggle on the heights. The positi(»ns which 
lad been gninedwere successfully maintained against two fresh 
atUicks of the French, in which Colonel v. Renter, connnanding 
the 12tli Regime]it, who accompanied his leading battalion, was 
mortally wounded. 

The western ixirt of the (li/ert forest was, however, still in the 
enemy's hands, and to that point chiefly were now directed the 
combined eflbrts of the fresh reinforcements, which arrived in 
rapid succession from the AVinterberg and Reppei-tKberg. 

The 2nd battalion 48th Regiment, which was intended, as we 
are aware, to fill the gaj) between the troops advancing from 
both points, had formed into company-columns at open intervals 
on approaching the northern edge of the forest. Those of the 
right wing moved towards a steep and strongly occupied ravine, 
stonned it Avitli heavy loss,* and then skirting the western edge 
of the wood drove before them the encany who still offered I'esis- 
tancc (m the heights. The two companies of the left wing had 
penetrated into tlie wood further eastward. With loud cheers 
and with drums beating they slormcd the ridge within the wood 
m conjunction M'ith the troops already engaged at that point.f 

The 1st battalion lOth Regiment had originally advanced from 
the Rei)pertsberg in half-battalions, but on approaching the 
heights also formed company-columns. The 1st and 4th moved 
to the eastern slope of the Rotherberg and seized the north-west 
comer of the Gifert forest, with the assistance of the troops 
fighting there. The 2nd and Hrd (;ompanies penetrated into the 
wood further to the left. Both whigs of the battalion met with 
a very violent resistance ; several officers were badly wounded, 
Befon^ 5 t>'eloek the 2nd battalion 40th Regimentt came up in 
rear of the last two companies, and also took part ni the stnig- 
gle which was surging backwards and forwards in the wood. 
The fui-ther they penetrated into the forest, the more violent the 
firing and therefore the more stubborn the enemy's resistance. 

Tlu^ 2nd battalion 12th Regiment, which only disembarked in 
St. Johann at 4 o'clock, had in its advance from the Reppertsberg 

• Tlio coinniniMkr of tlio 6th company, Captain Werner, ivat among the killed. 

t Tho 2nd conipinij of (be 12ih, the 4tli company of the 74th, and the 2nd batta- 
lion of the 39th Kegimeiitft. 

X See note on p. 207. The 7th compiiny al»o made its appearance during the later 
part of the action on the Spicheren plateau. 

loUhct vojcte, 22€. 


taken a direction midway between the Rotherberg^ and the eastern 
part of the Gifert forest, with a view to maintaining the com- 
munication between the separated \^4ng8 of the 5th Division, a 
duty which had been originally assigned to the 2nd battalion 
48th Regiment. When this battalion also joiiiud the action at 5 
o'clock, the fighting was still raging round the highest point of 
the heights in the forest ; the Prussian troops, however, were 
already in general gaining ground towards the southern edge. 

Independently of the more isolated action in which the 1st and 
fusilier battalions 48th Regiment were engaged at the Pfatfen 
forest, there were 32 Prussian companies employed Ijetween 
5 and 6 p.m. in the Gifert forest, and on the bare ridge to the 
westward ; of these the fu.siliei*s of the 74th Regiment were 
ahme collected as a battalion.* 

Ilicy met with a very stout opjxwiticm from Laveaucoupet's 
Division, the whole of which was now engaged; parts of 
IhistouFs biig-ade had also come up into line. 

The struggle swayed backwards and forwards, advantages 
being gained and lost according as fresh troops came up to the 
one side or the other. 

This obstinate wood fighting entailed heavy losses. Even the 
companies w^ere much mixed up ; those detachments wliich had 
lost their oflicers joining themselves on to other troops. The 
Prussians were however making more and more progi-ess. They 
drove the advei-sary down from the most elevated point, and 
by degrees almost out of the Gifert forest, nearly the entire 
southern edge of which was reached and in their hands by (> 
o'clock. Somewhat later the enemy was completely driven out 
of the Pfaffen forest and forced down into the ravine on the 
southern side. The south-west angle of the first-mentioned 
forest was the only place the Prussians coidd not pennanently 
maintain, as the enemy redoubled his efforts espec^ially in that 
direction, and supported his repeated attacks with a heavy fire 
of guns and mitmdleuscs. The configuration of the ground ^vas 
favourable to the French, in so far that while giving an open 
field for artillery, it permitted the deployment of a broad front 
against the nanow ridge, fnmi alone the whole of the 
Prussian troops as yet m the Gifert forest <and on thi», Rotlier- 
berg were endeavouring to press for%vurd. In order to eject the 
enemy from his present position, it was first nc^cessjiry to gain 
the saddle between the Spicheren and Forbach heights from 
the west side of the Rotherberg, and thence the enemy's loft 
flank. We shall see how the reinforcements which subsequently 
an-ived were employed for this purpose. 

• Fiisilier battalion and compnrv 7ltli Rr^iTuent -= 5 cos. \ ^..., p:^:.:^- 
6tli. 6tli, 7t1., yili.niulgrfutrrjmiiVf :5rtUo.31MhKcgt..- 4}, „ 1 1 ^t"" ^*v««on. 

40th Krgimcnt -11 ,, KJHiDiTision. 

1st and 2Dd bottrilionf, 12th Ui'gimciit • - '" ? " l^ 5th Dimion 

»» J 

2nd bait alien, 48Hi Regiment "4 

Total - - 32J 

See adjoining sketch. 

F 2 


at Stiring 
Wendel and 
on tlio liigli 
road: 3to6 

While in the niauner just dotuiled, the PinfMrian left wing esta- 
blished itself on the northern portion of the Spicheren heights, 
the engagement in the hiw ground at Stiring nad also received 
a fresh inipnlse by the arrival of the 28th Hngade, without pro- 
ducing any immediate results. The movement for enveloping 
the enemy's left flank, initiated from the north by the 53rd Uegi- 
ment, was wanting in the necessary support, because the greater 
part (»f the 77th Regiment, which followed, was, as we know, 
employed in another direction. The detachments which came up 
by degrees into the battle-field north-east of Old Stiringen, 
were, as has been mentioned, not fighting either as a regiment 
or brigade ; unity of ccmimand was also hampered by the im- 
possibility of seeing over the wooded country, Un<ler these 
circumstances, iu spite of all the bravery of the connnanders 
and of the troops, the forward movements undertaken after 4 in 
the afteriujon only led to isolated and transient successes. 

But as the attacks from thU side threatened the principal 
communi(;ati()ns of the French, they must have appeared so 
dangerous to General Frossard as to induce him, tt»wards4p.m., 
to bring forward liis last regiment, the 55th, which had been 
kept in rear at Forbacli, and the remaiinler of the artillery re- 
serve to Stiring Wendel. Thus not only was Verge's entire 
Division engaged against eight partially isolated Prussian bat- 
talions, but half of Kataille's DiWsion had also, as we are 
aware, taken the (hnction of Stiring Wendel, and had joined 
by degrees in the action at that phu.*e. 

With this premise, let us consider the separate struggles which 
deveh>ped from the situation of the action at 3 o'clock.* 

General v. Woyna had continued his turning movement against 
the enemy's left wi/nj with the 1st battalion 58rd Regiment, 
Driving detachments <»f the 3rd French Chasseiu* battmion iu 
the Stiring forest before him, he reached about 4.30 p m. the 
neighbcmniood of the branch railway coming from the old coal- 
pits, where it bends southward toStuing Wendel at the.edgo of 
the wood. I'he battalion took up a position opposite the jnace, 
which was found however ho strongly occupied, that an attack 
without reserves held out no pronjiso of succeHs. A vigorous 
fire was shortly directed from the church tower and factories 
S(mth of thii main line of rail upon the detac^hment thus suddenly 
ai)pearing within such dangerous proximity, which, however, had 
become disconnected during its rauid advance in the Avood from 
the two half-battalions of the fusilierH following in rear. This 
to all a]»j)enr.ince isohited situa1i(»n in front of the well-known 
extremely strong i)ositi(m of the adveniary, decided General v, 
Woyna to withdraw the battalion (ov the pm|)osti of firat re- 
gaining tlie connection with the rest of the brigade. He was 
ign(»rant. however, of the fact that the latter had meanwhile 
been othenvise employed.! The battalion moved iu about the 
direction of Drathzug, leaving at first the 4tli company at the 

* Spo okctoli facing |i. 217. 
t See p. 2L6. 


branch railway to protect the retreat, and when tliis withdrew 
to follow the battalion, a skirmiHhing division for the same 

When the old coal-pits, as we have scon, fell into the hands of 
the 2nd battalion 74tn Regiment at 3 o'clock, the latter pro- 
ceeded to occupy the nearest houses in Old Stiriuj^en. Parts of 
this battalion, m concert with the two companies of the Ist 
battalion,* which had advanced from the Stiring copse, then 
caotured a brick-kiln close to tlio main railway. 

Meanwhile 1st Lieutenant Wachs, witli tl»o4th company 77th 
Regiment, was approaching this part of the field of battle from 
the railway embankment. As the enemy aj)peared to be aban- 
doning the outlying homesteads of Old 8tiringen, this company 
followed him into the place, and pressing forward from house to 
house reached, shoiily after 4 o'clock, a railway arch strongly 
occupied by hostile riflemen and infantry. After a long mus- 
ketry action the company carried it by storm and occupied the 
nearest houses on the other side of the railway. They captured 
some 30 prisoners, besides killing and wounding many of the 

The three companies of the 39th Regiment, which had been 
fighting since noon in the Stiring copse, were joined in first line 
about 3 p.nL by the Ist company 77th Regiment, under Captain 
T. Manstein. The musketry and artillery fire from the enemy's 

C'tion at Stiring and from the main road, caused them heavy 
; the commander of the company was killed, and two other 
officers were wounded. The enemy made repe^ited attempts to 
regain the southern edge of the wood, in which he was success- 
ful towards 4 o'clock. His further advance, however, was tem- 
porarily stopped by the arrival of the 2nd battalion 77 th Regi- 
ment. This battalion, as we know, had entered the wood at 
3 o'clock from the direction of I)rathzug,t the Gth and 7th 
companies in first line, the two others following as a half-bat- 
talion. The 7th company on the left flank subsequently emerged 
from the wood in order to move towards the mam road. Major 
V. Koeppen with the remainder reached the fighting line of the 
39th just at the critical moment previously mentioned. The enemy 
opposed the most vigorous resistance to the advance of these 
fresh troops. Mitrailleuses rattled away from the spur projecting 
from the Forbach heights towards Golden Bremm ; numerous 
rounds of case were fired from Stiring-Wendel ; an unin- 
terrupted musketry fire was kept up from the borders of the 
village and from the shelter trenches alongside the liigh-road. 
Our brave troops, however, succeeded in retaking the soutliern 
edge of the wood at a heavy loss, and in ultimately wresting 
from the enemy the south-eastern angle which he had so stub- 
bornly defended. The 6th company now occupied a steep 
declivity to the south-west of the wood; the 5th company 

• See p. 214. 

t Some offioen ftnd men of the 58r(1 Regiment alao took part in thin attack. 

t See p. 217. 


cjiidoavoiirecl to croHs the open and ruach the five hostile guns 
which had been left there, but wjie compelled to give up the 
attempt in consequence of the anniliilating cross-fire. On the 
other luind, the remains of a partially broken up camp, which 
had been left stunding at the south-tiast border of the co))SC, 
besides a quantity of camp-equipage, were captured, and later 
m the day six filled limbera. 

Two additional attacks which the enemy made upon the edge 
of the wood in the interval up to 5.30 p.m. were successfully 
repulsed; but most of the officei-s, among them three company 
leaders, were now wounded, and the adjutant of the battalion 

From the <;()mmenceniei»t of the struggle for the copse, the 
Prussians had been careful to protect themselves on the side of 
the Forbach high-road. The enemy had pushed forward strong 
bodies of skirmisherK into the open ground between it and the 
copse, the massively built and strongly occupied homesteads of 
Baraque Mouton and Golden Bremm serving them as points of 
suppoi-t. On the anival of Bataille's Division upon the battle- 
fiela, portions of the 8th and a battjilion of the UGth llogiment 
had been pushed forward to this point to form a suitable link 
between the troops on the plateau and those on the lower 
ground. For this purpose they occupied the two aforesaid farms 
and the wooded slope of the Spiclieren heights immediately con- 

The skirmishing division of the 12th company 39th Regiment 
had originally undei*t{iken the duty of guarding this flank ; later 
on the greater part of the 3rd company 74th Regiment.* After 
3 o'clock the 7th company, detachmg itself from the 77th Regi- 
ment, came up to this point, and in company with the other two 
detachments moved upon the custcmi house, which forms the 
easternmost of the group of houses on the high-road. Under the 
enemy's ^vithering fire, causing the troops heavy loss and placing 
all the officers of the 7th company 77th liai^ment fwrs de combat^ 
the progi-ess towards the chosen object of attack was slow but 

Col(»n(?l V. Paiinwitz, conniianding tlui 71th Hcgimcnt, had 
now assumed the connnand at this part of the battle-field 
whither tlie fuHiliors of the 77th Regiment were also advancing 
from the Stiring copse.f They had formed in two half-battaUons, 
following one another at full distance, and were moving forward 
in the hollow at the scmth-eastern edge of the wood with the 
intention of thence gaining the heights ascending to the hij^h- 
road. As they wheeled to the left on reaching the last pomt 
the f<mr ccmipanies became so arranged that those of the leading 
hall-battalion (Dili and 12th) now forming the right wing and 
taking the <liriiction of Bamque Mcmton, the others moving upon 
Golden Bremm. Thus some six companies, inclusive of the 

• Soo pp. 212 ami 213. 
t >oo p. 217. 


detachments already advancing upon the custom liouso, were 
now moving upon the group of houses previously indicMted. 

The custom house was first captured. The two half-bat- 
talions, however, which reached the heights to the west of it, 
suddenly came under a murderous fire from the French skir- 
mishers and guns on the slopes. The hulf-battahon on the right 
flank lost in a short time its commander, Captain v. Daum, and 
more than 100 men. Under these circumstances the only chance 
of success lay in a bold attack. Major Bressler, connnanding 
the battalion, placed himself at the head of the two attenuated 
companies and led them, drums boating, to the storm of Baraque 
Mouton, whilst the other half-battalion pressed forward in like 
manner upon Golden Bremm. The enemy's skinnishers were 
thrown back into the farm buildings, wliich they defended with 
great pertinacity until 4 o'clock, when they fell into the hands 
of the stormers, after a hard struggle and at a gi-eat sacrifice of 
life. These now commenced to strengthen themselves in the 
captured buildings. They succeeded in maintaining themselves 
permanently in spite of the enemy's almost uninterrupted fire 
from the strongly occupied noii;h-west slopes of the Forbach 
heights, which covered tliem with every sort of missile. 

During this fortunate, but otherwise isolated succtiss, on the 
front of the French left wing, the latter was now threatened 
with a new danger on the flank. 

The two fusilier half-batt^ilions of the 53rd Regiment had 
advanced (m the right of the first battalion into the Stirhig 
forest, sti'iking the issue from it to the west of the point where 
the latter battalion had taken up a temporary position fronting 
Stiring Wendel.* Whilst the I2th company remained in a sup- 
porting position on the skirt of the wood for the protection of 
the right flank, the 9th traveled the small open space westward 
of the coal tramway, and with loud cheers forced the hostile 
detachments in their front from the railway embankment back 
upon the factory buildings lying to the south of it. Captain v. 
Bastineller now burst open the doors of the nearest houses, 
occupied them, and arranged them for defence. A well aimed 
fire from every story of these houses forced the adversary to 
evacuate the north-western part of the j^lace, and to tlirow 
himself into the loopholed building of the u'on foundry. The 
company, however, deemed it advisable to retreat towards the 
forest, as the 12tJi company reported the advance of larger 
hostile detachments upon the right flank. 

Soon after, however, fresh forces appeared on the scene. The 
2nd and 3rd companies 77th Regiment, under Captain v. Frank- 
enberg, advanced from the coal tramway upon the factory 
buildings situated outside the foundry. In this attack the 9tn 
company 53rd Regiment again joined ; the buildings were re- 
taken, maintained, and the enemy pressed back into the iron- 

* See p. 228. 


'Works tlionimlves. The skinniHliing ilivifiion of the 4tli coiiipaiiy 
SiJrd Kof^iinent, which had been left in rear,* also took part in 
tluH contest. Further to the right the other fuBilier half-bat- 
talion of the wune regiment participated in the action at Stiring 
Windel ; tlie 1 1 th company following the enemy in hifi rear- 
ward movement in the forest had advanced in)on Verrerie 
Sophie, captured the heights in front, and from thence moved 
upon Stiring ^Yendel ; the lOtli had from the commencement 
moved away more to the left and taken part m the fighting at 
the north-west side of the village. 

The struggle at this j)(>int passed by degrees uito a stationary 
musketry ac^tion, which was (jam'iul on by the French with con- 
stant reinforcements from the IWd diasseur Imttaliim, and from 
the 32nd and 77th Iteghnents (»f the line, A Piiiusiau detach- 
ment endeavoured from tht^ railway cutting to timi the left 
flank of the straggling buildings near the iron foundiy, in doing 
which the skirmishers were within 70 paces of (me another, the 
French eusccmchig themselves behind coal wagons and piles of 
rails. The Piiissians were unable to make any further progress ; 
still thev maintained the captiued buildings under the enemy's 
liefivy shell lire. 

The French position at Stiriiig Wendel was thus partly taken 
in rear; but the Prussijuis had no intact body of troops to serve 
them as re8ei-\'e and enable them to follow up the successes 
gained with such bravery, or even permanently to maintain 
their positions. About 5 o'clock the 7 Ith Regiment from their 
more elevated jxisition at Old Stiring(?n, observed the approach 
of masses of hostile infantry and guns along the 6lo])e8 of the 
S)>icheren wood south of Stiiing Wendel. This was a detach- 
ment of BatailK's Division,! the batteiy of which at once opened 
lire upon the Prussian tr4)o])s at Ohl St iringen and reached them 
with its shells. At the same time oflensive hostile movements 
Avere i»bserved along the high-r(»ad to the east of Stiring Wendel. 
Major Werner, who had assumed the commandas the senior field 
oflicer, did not deem it advisable under the circumstances to 
continue any longer in a ])osition ait such (;lose quarters to the 
enemy, when thctni was no pr<»Npeet of suppint or of furtlua* 
success; he therefore gave orders for the retreat of the six 
companies of the 74th liegimcntj towards Drathzug. We shall 
shortly see that the remainder of the troops fighting in the low 
groiuid about Stiring were nujre or less mvolved in this rear 
ward movement, due to the general forward movement of the 
French, which was now commencing. 

• See p. 22t>. 

t Seopp. 2IHuik1 221. 

{ let au<l 2n(l ('oni))uitit'd uiid tin; 2ik1 battalion, 71i)i Kcgiuient. See p. 2:i0. 


The Battle after 6 p.m. 

Daring the action at Stiring Wendel, whica we have just Oeneral id* 
Bketched, very considerable forces* had been by degrees brought ▼»*"'• ^^ *^« 
up on the French side. As, however, these appeared inadequate R^jJ^^enfc of 
to restrain the forward pressure of the adversary, General Bat- the Pruflsaaa 
taille, who was present, ordered up his G7th Re^jiiaeut, which was "g'^fc ^^ ^ 
at that time on the Forbach heights close to tlie Spicheren Old Jj^^^^ 
Stiringen road, and was now moving along it down into the Wendel. 
valley. A battalion occupied the U'on foundry and commenced 
a musketry action with the Prussian detachments enclosing it on 
all sides ; the other two battalions formed up behind a steep 
slope eastward of the foundry. Under cover ol these fresh troops 
the French batteries again advanced to the east side of the village 
and opened a vigorous fire upon the Stiring copse. But as the 
effect produced did not answer their expectations, and the 
Prussians continued to maintain the wood, General Battaille 
ordered both battalions to advance to the attack. The 8th | 

Regiment, which had been held in reserve on the south-east of 
the village followed in second line. With skirnn*Hhei-8 in front, 
the remainder in column, the open ground towards the south- 
east angle of the copse was crossed under a most eflTective cross 
fire from that point and from the railway embankment. The 
Prussian detacnments much attenuated by their previous stnig- 
les and deprived of many of their leaders, could no longer hold 

eir position against the enemy's energetic advance in superior 
force. The three French battalions succeeded at the first rush 
in reaching the wood and in gaining a firm footing therein.f 

The Ist company 77th Regiment which had up to this time 
held its groimd in spite of all its losses, was almost entirely dis- 
persed ; 1st Lieut. Hoppe collected and led back the weak rem- 
nant. The debris of the three companies of the 2nd battalion 
found themselves after a desperate struggle gradually pressed 
back with the 39th as far as the middle of the copse. 

Some French batteries followed their infantry as far as the 
Schoneck road^ and in concert with the artillery on the Forbach 
heights commenced to cannonade the open ground between the 
copse and the Spicheren heights. Other batteries remained in 
reserve on the slopes of the heights south of Stiring Wendel 
and swept the ground to the north of the village and railway. 
Simultaneously ^vith this attack on the Stiring copse the French 
troops had also advanced from Stiring Wendel in other directions 
and taken possession of the surrounding ground as far as the .' 

borders of the forest. 


* The whole of Verge's DhiBioii and tlie reterre aitillerj, parte of Talabr^gue't 
Caraliy DiTision, 2 battalions of the SSrd and 1 battalion of the 8th Regimente, and 
2 baiterie* of Bataille's Pi? inon. See alto pp. 218-220, and p. 228. 

t On this occasion the if rench recaptured the flTe guns which they had preTiously. 


The rearward movement of the 74th,* ordered hy Major Wer- 
ner, took place as follows : part followed the line of rail, pai-t along 
the Schoueck road, then turning to the right through the forest 
moved likewise upon Drathzug. Smaller detachments of the 
39th, 53rd, and 77th Regiments, which had been engaged in the 
struggle in this neighbourhood, joined in the movement ; the 
4th company 77 th llcgiment which had remained alone at 
the railway culvei-t eflfected its retreat with no inconsiderable 

The detixchments engaged in the noithem part of Stiring 
Wendelt and the vicinity retired slowly towards the Stiring 
forest. Parts of the 11th and 12th companies dSrd Regiment 
covercMl the rittreat by t4iking up a finii positidu on the flank at 
the railway cutting in I'ront of Vcrrene Sophie. The enemy 
followed them from Stiring AVendel over the railway embank- 
ment, but failed to capture tlie edge of the wood, which 
was obstinately held by the 2nd and 3rd companies 77th 

Simultaneouslj'' with the general forward movement from 
Stiring Wendel, which pressed back the right ^ving of the Prus- 
sian fighting line, |)ai*ts of the 8th Regiment also advanced from 
the Forbach heights into the long ravine leading down towards 
Baraque Mouton, in order to endeavour to recaptiu'e the group 
of houses occupied by the fnsilier battalion 77th Regiment.J 
With the aid of reinforcements drawn from Golden Bremm, and 
with the co-operation of the batteries on the Galgenberg and 
Folster heights, they succeeded in beating off the French attack. 

The last arriving reinforcements of Bataille's Division were 
now also in action on the Spicheren plateau. The two battalions 
of the 8th Regiment, which had been despatched there, partici- 

Eated in the general forward movement of Laveaucoupet's 
division towards the Rotherberg and the Gifert forest, which 
somewhat pressed back the foremost Prussian detachments, so 
that at G p.m. the French were in ])Ossession of the s(mth-west 
angle of the Gileit forest, and the heights at the Pfaffen 

Some time j>revi<)n.sly the Generals commanding the Ilird, 
Vllth, and VI ilth Army Corps had met upon the road on the 
Galgenberg heights, for the purpose of concerting as to the 
further measures for carrying on the contest. At that time the 
positions in front of Stiring Wendel (m the right wing were still 
in our hands, while in the action on the heights to Uie left the 
Prussian troops were observed to be gradually gaining ground ; 
the success of the day was to all appearance ensured. A provi- 
sional telegrai)hic report to this eflect was sent by General v, 
Goebcn from the field of l)attle to His llajesty the King, (ieneral 
v. Alvensleben, who had been for some tune watching the course 
of the atition from tlie Wintcnberg, deemed it however advisable 

" oee noie 4. i»o j*. *.uji<. 

t The 2nd and Srd companies 77th Regiment, and the greater part ot tlie fusilier 

ittaliou 53rd Regiment. See p. 231. 

J See pp. 230 231. 


to eive aa increased impulse to the forward movement on the 
Spicheren plateau. He supervised the employment to that end 
01 the troops of his corps as they camo up, and took general 
command on that section of the battle-fiehf. 

General v. Zastrow on his w.iy to tiie scoiio of action had 
already sent an officer to \^'»lkll!».li;ou to make tlio VMh Division 
acquainted with the change in the situation since thi» despatch of 
the corps ordci's from Dilsbnrg.* He supposed tliat the Division 
was on the march to Forbach. Reports, liowever, now came in 
of the unfavoumble tuni of the action at Stiring Wendel, and 
the enemy's shells bursting on the Galgenbcrg showed only too 
plainly the progress which he was maknig. In consequence of 
this, the General rode forward over the Folster heights in order 
to judge for hhnself as to the state of affairs on the right wing ; 
he also ordered the batteries on the Galenberg to move to the 
Folster heights, with a view to preparing a counter attack. 
From that point they were able to play a more efficient part in 
the action on the heights, which was now iiu'liiiing towards the 
Forbach ridges. 

We must now follow the farther course* of the battle on the Progrewof 

Spicheren plateau. Ihesji^i^n 

The main body of the 9th Brigadef had quitted its Quarters at plateau, after 
Friedrichsthal and Bildstock towards 2 o'clock, anci, without 6 p.m. 
halting, traversed the 9 miles to St. Johaun, where the vanguard 
arrived before 5 o'clock. 

In the huiTy of leaving, the 3rd Rifle battalion had inserted 
itself betweeti tJie companies of" the leading battalion of the 
Body-gnard Grenadiers, in such wise that 3 ccmipanics of the 
latter followed in rear of tluj rifles. The AVinterberg was ap- 
pointed as the general place of asscunbly of the troops. 

It had been originally intended to move the whole of the 
Body-guard Regiment through the Stifts forest upon the adver- 
sary's right flank, a direction wliicli, in point of fact, was taken 
by the commander of the 1st battalion with the leading 3rd 
company. The other three companies, which came up afterwards 
for the reason just stated, received, however, orders to advance 
towards the western slope of the Spicheren heights for the pur- 

1)0se of gaining possession of the saddle south of the Rotlicr- 

With this object in view, Capt^ain Blumenhagen led the 1st 
and 4tli co!nj)anies np the flat gully, which ascends in an easterly 
direction from the custom hcmse on the Forbach high-road 
towards the saddle in question ; the 2nd company followed. 
When the first line reached the ridge, it was received with a 
witheruig fire. But the grenadiei*s dashed forward from the 
edge of the wood at the double, wrested the southermost knoll 
of the Rotherberg from the enemy, in spite of his obstinate 
defence, and forced their way into the south-west corner of the 

» Soc p. 20S. 
t Sec p. 2(Hi. 


Gifcrt foreet. The 2nd company remained on tlie western slope 
of the heights, co-operating in the defence of the homesteads 
on the high-road,* which still continued to be threatened by the 

This resolute advance of the three companies forced back the 
centre of the enemy's line of battle as far as the southernmost 
and more elevated point of the Spicheren heights and the busliy 
slopes of that wooa. No further progress could, however, be 
made for the present ; the enemy rather persevered in his eflForts 
to regain the gi'ound which he had lost (m the plateau. 

Before even the action hud tissumod this phase, the superior 
commanded were unanimously in favour of bringing up cavalry 
and artillery to the Spicheren pliittuiu, so as to give mure decisive 
efleet to the present successes of the infantry ; Colonel v. Rex, 
commanding the 82nd Briga<le, wlio had been present at the 
struggles of the 40th Regiment, had particularly begged for the 
support of artillery. 

General v. Alvenslebcn, cm returning to the left flank from the 
council, which had been held as already mentioned on the high- 
road, charged General v. Biilow commandhig the artillery of the 
Ilird Army Corps with the special arrangements refemng to his 
arm ; he alKo requested (Jeneral v. Itheinbaben to endeavour to 
move forward his cavalry, which, hurrying up from all sides on 
hearing the roar of the cannonade, had been assembling since 
noon on the battle-field. 

The 17th (Brunswick) Ilussai-s, following the advance of its 
outpost squadron through Saarbriicken, had reached the Ehreu- 
that, at 3 o'clock. The 19th (Oldenburg) Dragoons, which after 
returning from a reconnaiss«ince towards St. Avoldt had com- 
menced to take up quartera on the right bank of the Saar, again 
advanced by way of Volklingen and Schoneck, reaching Drath- 
zug at 4 o'clock, (leneral v. Kheinbaben had brought up both 
regiments to his position on the northein slopes of the Galgen- 
berg, so that from 5 p.m. 10 squadrons, inclusive of the de« 
tachments which had been there sines noon,| were united under 
his ordei*H. He ordered the Brunswick Hussars for the intended 
enterprise. The 11th Hussars, which had assembled near 
Wehrden at noon, also ariived somewhat later by way of 
Drathzug, and shortly after (> o'clock the remainder of the 6th 
Cuirassiers, so that, exclusive of the cavalry regiments of the 
three Infantry Divisions, there wore now 17 squadrons on the 

• See p. 234. 
t See p. 202. 

X k Bquodron from each of tlio following : 6th Cuimssien, 3rd Lanccn, and I7th 
Ilusaars. See pp. 202 and 204. 

§ 17th Hussars • - - 4 squadrons. 

19th Drafc'oons - - -4 „ 

11th llusitars - - -4 „ 

6th Cuirassiers • - 4 „ 

3rd Lancers • • - 1 squadron. 

Total 17 squadrons. 


The Brunswick HuRsars, breaking into column of divisions 
to the riglit, trotted forward into the h)w ground west of the 
Spicheren heights. As the officers sent on in front could find 
no path, the regiment endeavoured to clamber up the steep and 
in places rocky slopes, but came under a violent musketry fire 
which compelh^l them to retrace their stepH with Ioks. In com- 
pliance with General v. AlvoiiKleben's requoRt to renew the 
attempt, the regiment now moved towanfs the north side of 
the Rotherberg, where the Saarbriicken road leads along an 
embankment formed of logs of wood before rising to the Spi- 
cheren heights. It is not possible to turn off this road, as a 
precipitous wall rises on the right hand, and on the left the 
slope falls with a steep descent, while some places are scai'ped 
like cuttings. On reaching the high ground, the 1st squadron, 
leading the advance, endeavoured to form up. The ground, m 
consequence of the quarries, loose stones, and shelter trenches 
was scarcely passable for cavalry; moreover, the adversary 
directed an artillery and musketry fire wherever a horseman 
showed himself. The attempt had to be abandoned and a 
retreat made to the hollow road, which the other squadrons 
were on the point of ascending. The regiment remained for 
some time close under the rocky escai-pment, formed in twos,* 
suffering considerable losses from the ceaseless bursting of 
shells. The hussars were subsequently removed to a position at 
the foot of the heights. 

Dtu*ing these devoted but fruitless efforts on the part of the 
hussars. General v. Billow had ordered up artillery to the 
heights. For this pui-pose there were at disposal the two 
batteries (3rd hght and 3rd heavy) of the 0th Brigade under 
Major V. Lvncker, the same which General v. Stiilpnagel had 
brought with him, and which on reaching the battle-field had 
joined the left flank of the line of artillery on the Galgenberg. 
Both batteries had received instructions to follow the first 
advance of the Brunswick Hussars, but their attempts to mount 
the heights fi'om the west side were equally unsuccessful, and 
they subsequently took the same road Ibnned of logs of wood, 
which has previously been described. This road, at all times 
difficult, was plougned up by the constant bursting of shells, 
and was so narrowed by the hussars halting there, that 1st 
Lieutenant v. Pressentin and the leading gun of the 3rd light 
battery, led by Sergeant Schmidt were alone able to reach the 
heights. A j'>yful (^iieer from the struggling infantry greeted 
this first appearance of the wished- for arm. 

In order to obtain a suitable range upon the ground, which 
rose in terraces towardH the south, the gun was driven along 
the edge of the Gifert forest to beyond the extreme line of 
Prussian skirmishers ; but as its h»Kse8 began to increase rapidly, 
it was again withdrawn some 100 paces to the rear, undcT cover 
of an earthen bank. A few minutes later. Captain Stumpff 
bi*ought up to the same position the rest of the battery, which 

• Or " Half- sections,*' ns it would be called in our service.— Tr. 


had been delayed by No. 2 gim capsizing over the log embank- 
ment. Of the heavy battery, Avitn which Captain Vot^e shoiily 
followed only one division at firftt wae able to come into action 
c-loBC to the western edge of the heights. The great recoil on 
the shelving groinid luoretiver rindered the service of the gims 

Facing these 8 guns, at a distance of only 800 paces, and 

wx'll protected behind shelter trenches, was a line of French 

infantry, which, in concert with three batteries further to the 

rear, directed a vigorous fire nnon them. The effect of the 

Prussian shells, however, C(>mi)elled tlu! eui'my by degrees to 

abandon the field, so that after a short time tlie remaining four 

guns of th(! heavy battery wcn^ enabled to come into a<'tion to 

the left rear of the light battery dose to the (iifert forcKt. Tjje 

glorious struggle maintained by these two battcriis cost them 

nearly half their gunners. The comma ndir of the division, 

Major V. Lyncker, and several other officers were wounded. 

The butteries steadfastly maintaiiicd their ))ositi«>n8 until the 

end of the battle against the superior force of artillery opposed 

to them, and in face of the repeated forward movements made 

by the enemy from the Forbach heights and the Spicheren 


Cspitmof The reinforcements advancing to the Rotherberg aiid Gifert 

h**ht«****^* forest after half-past 3 o'clock had given a favonrable turn to 

Course of the the situation of the fight at that jjoint. but being naiTowed by 

battle on the the long ravine on the south, this ontllanking movement had 

plateau. j^qj; produced the anticipated impression on the enemy's position. 

Nor had the anival of the three companies of the Body-gmird 
Grenadicra and the two batteries as yet sup(;rinduced any deci- 
sive change. For the naiTow space for deployment on the 
Prussian side hampered their advance, which had to be pur- 
chased at the heaviest sacriiices. 1'he enemy still occupied a 
more elevated position and a broader front ahmg the entire 
northern sh)pe of the Forbach lu'ights fn»m the Spiel leren forest 
to the northward ol the viUage of that nami*. Repeated attacks 
froni this strongly occupied position gave umnistakeable indica- 
tions of an eiVort to regjiin tluj lost ground, to retain which 
every eflort of the Prussians had to be solely directed. 

It was, however, still possible to reach the position occuj)ied 
by the enemy, by endeavouring to jness forward from the wcast 
through the Spicheren forest towards the Foi'bach heights. 
Such an ofl'ensive movement was in some measure prej»ared by 
Captain Blumenhagen's companies having gained a firm footing 
on the heights from that direction, and by the detachments of 
the 14th Division* having also maintained the farm biiildings on 
the high-road, as they had repulsed with slaughter all the 
attacks from the Spicheren forest as well as a cavalry charge 
fronj the direction of Stiring Wemlel. 

For these reasons, tlie (jieneral commanding the Ilird Army 
Coips, after communicating with the other generals of his Coips 

• See p. 284 


who were present, resolved to employ the battalions not yet 
brought into the action in a forward movement along the high- 
road against the west side of the Forbach heightR. 

At this time the absent portions of tlie 5th Division had 
reached the battle-field. Firnt came the fusilier battalion 12tli 
Kegiment, which had been near tlie viiKivard on tlio Wiiiter- 
berg since 5 o'clock, followed by the rifl(i battalion an<l the 2nd 
battalion Body-guard Oreiiaclii'rK, wliicli had taken np positions 
on the drill gnmnd and the Keppertsberg. In addition to these, 
General v. Schwerin,* with his two squadrons of dragoons 
and two batteries anived shortly before (5 o'clock ; tlie latter 
had joined the artillery on the (uilgenberg, the fire, from which 
had been mute for some time owing to the want of suitable 
objects. The head of the 52nd Regnnent was also close up, 
and at 6.15 p.m. Captain Schmidt with the 4tli light battery of 
the Ist Anny Corps reported his arrival.t 

Whilst the bloody struggle on the Spicheren heights was 
maintained on both sides witli ecjual obstinacy, the chief efforts 
of the assailants Avere now directed against the Forbach heights 
and Stiring Wendel. We shall se(^ that the whole of the rein- 
forcements which came up mov(Ml in the fii*st instance in the 
former direction, the 52nd Regiment participathig iu the 
renewed atlvance on Stiring Wendel. 

This decisive advance was powerfully supported by the 
artillery, which moved forward to the Folster heights at 
(5.30 p.m. in pursuance of the i)reviously nuntioncd or«uT fr<»m 
General v. Zastrow. The thne batteries of the 14th Division 
first took post there, west of the high-road, ironting towards 
Stiring Wendel ; their right flank was joined by the 2nd heavy 
battery from the direction of Uratlizug,t so that Major v. 
Eynatteu ccmld employ the concentrated fire of his 24 puns 
either against the hostile troops which had advanced by Stiring 
Wendel or against the Forbach heights. This fine of guns was 
extended to the eastward of the high-road by the two Latteries 
attached to the 10th Brigade, which especially directed a very 
effective and successful fire upon the nivine leacUng down from 
the Forbach heights in a nortlierly direction towards the custom 
house. The light batteiy of the l<)th Division and the battery 
of the Ist Army Coi-ps were also employed at first in this direc- 
tion. Rut {18 the space was too limited for 4 batteries, and as 
no suitable place could be found on the R(»therberg, the two 
Iwitteries were withdrawn to the foot of the heights in rc»ar as 

• Of the 10th Brigade, the 12th Pcpiinent., «s we saw, had hcon forwarded hy 
nil from Neuukirchen ; the remainder of the DiTision mnri-lied from St. Ingbert. 
See p. 207. 

T This batterj had come direct from KOnigslerg, in Pniraia, in the same train, 
and was to hare disembarked at Neunkirclicn. In consequence of tlie report of au 
action raging to the south of Sunrhri'trken, the commander of the battery at onee 
resolTcd to continue his journey to St. Johnnn, and thence to the field of 

X This batterr had up to thnt time directed its five with good cflTcct upon the 
hostile trco{<s Hud La'tcries visible on the Spicheren plateau. 


Let us first connider the atruggUfor the Farbach heights. 

About the same time as the artillery advance, the fusilier 
battalion 12th Regiment moved by General D5riug*8 orders at 
first in tlie siime direction which CapUiin Blumenhagen had 
taken with the 1st battalion Body-guard Grenadiers. 

Towards 7 o'clock General v. Alvensleben ordered the 2nd 
battalion of this latter reghnent and the 3rd Rifle l)sittalion to 
follow from the Reppertsberg. In order to establish unity in 
the command, Licut.-Colonel v. Lewtticq was placed in charge 
of the three battalions. The 3rd company of the Body-guard 
Grenadiers,* which had been originally despatched in the 
direction of the Stilts foreMt, was fctche<l back and temporarily 
attacluMl to tin; 2n<l battalion. 

The funilirr battalion 12th Regiment to which Licut.-Cyolonel 
V. Lcstocq betook himself had meanwhile moved oft* from the 
right in company-colnnnis, and advanced along the western 
foot of the Spicheren heights. Undaunted by the very heavy 
losses caused by the vigorous nmsketry and mitrailleuse Are 
from the northern spur of the Forbach heights, it gained the 
foot. The 9th company, leading the advance, pressed forward 
up the slopes; the other three which had come up to the home- 
steads on the high-road, were also ordered by Lieut.-Colonel v. 
Lestocq to climb the hillside. This officer then moved away to 
join the rifle battilion. 

The latter had meanwhile advanced along the ravine east- 
ward of the custom house, and had thence worked its way 
onward. Itw line of skirmiKhers, pushed forward along the edge 
of the heights, had come in contact on the left with the com- 
panies under (!^aptain Hhnnenhagen,t wliich ha<l been established 
there for some time ; the remainder of the battalion endeavoured 
to gain as much cover as possible from the annihilating fire of 
the enemy's inlantry on the Forbach heights.} 

Lieut.-Colonel v. Lestocq felt very soon convinced of the 
impracticability of a frontal attache from this side upon the 
Forlmch heiglits, where m(»roover the number of troops already 

!)reHent was suffic-icnt to hold the adversary in check. He there- 
ore determined to load the riflis and the 2nd battalion Body- 
giuird Grenadiers, now approaching along the slopes of the 
heighis, back to the high-road, with a view to (»nerating from 
the homesteads by a movement iurther to the right. The last- 
named battalion first desrended the slopes, traversed the open 
f)lain to the foot of the lieights at the double under a sharp 
lostile fire, and commenced the ascent of the slopes of the 
Spicheren forest from Golden Brenjm. The 3rd company of the 
regin»ent joined in this advance ; the 5th was, however, left at 
(iolden Bivnim, as the former occupants had advanced for the 
most part with the fusilier battalion of the 12th Regiment. 

• See p. 2:j5. 

t Seo ))». 2a8 niid 235. 

t Major y. Jena, the comninndorof i\w battalion, had been bad!}' wounded and 

carried from the iield. 


The rifles quickl^r followed this movement from the slopes of 
the heights to the high-road. While traversing the open plain 
also at the double they were overwhelmed by a file-fire from 
the enemy's troops, which had advanced to the attack along the 
ravine stretching northwards from the Forbach heights. But at 
this juncture the Prussian detachments moving to tlie westward 
of the ravine came upon the flank of the hostilo advance, which 
was also played upon by the hatterica on the Folster heights. 
The enemy was repulsed. 

Generally speaking the fusilier battalion of the 12th formed 
the advanced left flank of the attacking lino in the Spicheren 
forest, which was prolongcnl to the right rear by the 6th, 7th, 
8th, and 3rd companies of the Boflv-ffuard Grenadiers. The 
latter were followed W the 3rd Rifle oattalion, which thereby 
protected the right flank against the gully ascending from 
Baraque Mouton. Of the miscellaneous detachments of the 
14th Division,* which had previously captured the homesteads 
on the high-road and as yet maintained them successfully, some 
joined in the attack on the Forbach heights, the remainder 
shared in the simultaneous advance on Stiring Wendel. The 
two batteries of the 10th Brigade on the Folstor heights had 
also followed the advance of the infantry by superior orders, but 
as there was no suitable position for them at the foot of the 
Forbach heights, they returned to their original position, which 
offered far greater advantages. 

The French offered a tough and desperate resistance to the 
fosilier battaUon 12th Regiment, but being worsted in repeated 
liand-to-hand fighting, they were driven back over the northern 
ridge of the Forbach heights with the loss of many prisoners 
The 9th companv and the skirmishing divisions of the llth and 
12th companies followed beyond the eastern edge of the wood. 
Lieutenants Schroder and rabst, although both wounded, had 
brought their leading men to within 200 paces of some French 
artillery posted on a higher knoll, when a hostile battalion 
advanced and drove these weak detachments back into the 
wood. The French forward movement, however, came to an 
end as the successive Pmssian companies emerged from the 
wood and fell upon the advensary's right flank. 

The four companies of the Body-guard Grenadiers also met 
with a vigorous resistance when ascending the slopes of the 
Spicheren forest further to the south, whilst the 5th company, 
from its position at Barac^uo Mouton on the lii^h-road, swept 
the long ravine with its fire. After a ^ort skirmish which was 
effectively supported by the flanking fire from the left of the 
12th company 12th Regiment, the enemy withdrew towards 
Spicheren as the evening was closing in. Two full ammunition 
waffons were captured. 

The rifle battalion, as we know, had followed this movement 
of the Body-guard Grenadier companies, and supporting their 

* The 7th companj and tho fusilier battalion, 77th Regiment, parts of the 
3rd companji 74th Kogimcnt, and of tho 12th company 39th Regiment. 


advance ou the right flauk, reached the Bouthernmost angle ol 
the Spicheren forest at nightfalL Still further to the rieht 
General v. Schwerin had brought up the 52nd Regiment. That 
Regiment, on advancing from the Keppertsberg, bad formed its 
first line of the fusiliers in company-columns, and had passed 
through the PruBsian line of ^uns to the westward of the high- 
road. Just as our troops on me hill north of Golden Bremm had 
commenced to wheel to the left towards the Forbach heights, 
the enemy again opened a murderous fire of artilleiy from 
Stiriug Weiidel. In conHcqucncoof this the subsequent advance 
was made in two directions by order of Geneml v. Schwerin, 
six companies gradually moving in the direction of Stiring 
Weudel, and only the 11th company and the 2ud battalion 
continuing the wheeling movement wnich had been commenced 
towards the Forbach heights. This battalion had thrown out its 
flank companies, the remainder following them as a half- 
battalion ; the 11th company formed the right wing. Although 
the enemy still held the western edge of the ravine ascending 
from Baraaue lilouton, the farm buildings on the high-road were 
gained witli little loss. From thence, after a brisk action with 
the enemy's skinnishers, our troops passed to a general attack 
upon the opposite borders of the wood, which were evacuated 
by the adversaiy in favour of the plateau after a slight resist- 
ance. The two flank companies followed him along the sides 
of the ravine, the half-battalion advanced in column along the 
trough of the valley; the 11th company was on its right and 
conforming to its movements. 

It was now dark, and the enemy in retreat at all points ; 
wounded men abandoned by the enemy were alone met with. 
On reaching the further edge of tho forest, the hidf-battation 
proceeded to search the wood lyuig to the eastward on the road 
to Spicheren ; the two flank companies followed the retreating 
enemy in the direction of the most elevated bare knoll, on the 
southern slope of which tho difierent parts of the battalion re- 

This onvolonnunt of tho For) )aeh heigh tn had boon consider- 
ably facilitated 1>y tho circuniHtauco that the enemy had 
employed his last mau in tho continuous strugKle on the side 
of the Uotherbeiy and Gi/ert fovcist^ so that he nad no fm*ther 
reinforcements available ior tho struggle at the Spieheren forest 

At 7 p.m. Layeaucoupet's Diviaion, supported oy those parts 
of Bataiue's Division on the plateau, haa again advanced to a 
general attack upon the positions captured by the Prussian 
troons. The stroke was directed from the southern knoU of the 
Spicheren heights towards tho saddle bordering the Rotherberg 
on the south, a nearly simultaneous advance oeing made from 
the long ravine north-cast of Spicheren upon the southern edges 
of the Sifert and Pfaffen forests. These offenhive movements 
were supported by a vigorous infautiy fire from the shelter 
trenches on the ridgeB to the noith ol Spicheren, and by the 
batteries in action on the northern rfope of the Pfaffenberg. 

Owing to the severe loeses from the t-nemy'sfire the Prussian 


detaohmentB in the Gifert forest* foimd tbemselves once more 
compelled to yield to the violence of the blow, so that the 
adversary held possession of the slopes south of that wood for a 
short time after nightfall. 

On the other hand, he had not succeeded in making any 
progress on the side of the Rotherberg. The advance of the 
Bocfy-ffuard Grenadier companies, under Captain Bluraenhagen, 
upon the flank of this oflFeiisive movement of the French, and 
the first appearance of the 3rd Rifle battalion on the western 
slopes of the Spicheren heights, had exercised an influence from 
the verj'- commencement, and broke the force of the blow to a 
certain extent. The Prussian detachments maintained their 
position on the saddle ^vith obstinacy, the two batteries of the 
vth Brigade continuing; an effective fire. 

The storm which shortly after threatened to burst from the 
Spicheren forest, completely paralysed the offensive movement 
in preparation towards the north. The enemy withdrew to the 
Forbach heights, and,beine att'icked in flank and rear, abandoned 
this last position after a short but vivid musketry action. At 
nightfall the French troops retired from the plateau at all points, 
under cover of a brisk fire of artillery, which was once more 
opened at half-past 7 o'clock from the numerous batteries 
concentrated on the Pfaffenberg for this particular purpose. 

The Commander-in-Chief of the ^ 1st Armv had received 
reports from the Quartermaster-in-Chief as well as information 
of the advance of the 16th Division to Saarbriicken. In conse- 

auence of these, General v. Steinmetz had moved at once to 
lie field of battle, which he reached at 7 o'clock and immediately 
rode forward to the Spicheren heights. The thunder of the 
French spms from the Pfaffenberg, mingled with a slight rattle 
of musketry, proclaimed the last heavings of the mighty 
struggle. Cannon shots were also heard further off towards 
Forbach, which seemed to indicate the arrival of the 13th 
Division on the battle-field. The fighting was still very brisk 
in the low ground at Stiring, where the rrussian troops were 
once more assuming the offensive. 

The energetic advance of General Bataille had, as we have Capture of 
Been, not only relieved the French in the immediate neighbour- Stiring 
hood of Stiring Wendel, but also enabled them to recapture the "Won^*- 
southern part of the Stiring copse. 

The 77th had already retired from tho copse in order to 
re-form at Drathzug, and it was only with great difliculty that 
the 89th held the northern part of the wood, which they were 
ordered to do at all hazaros by General v. Zastrow who was 

The advance of the French left wing, so successful at first, 
had already begun to falter under the effective fire of the 
batteries on the Folster heights, just as General v. Woyna, at 
7 o'clock, again brought forward tho united portions of his 

* TliMe, AS we know, oonsistad of companios of the 89tb, 46th, 12th, and 40th 
Bagimenta which had been engaged in the preTiouB action. 

G 2 


brigade* from Drathzug. Whilst he, iu concert with the 39th, 
Boon made decided progress in the copse, the 52nd Regiment 
was also gaining ground in the open countiy to the eastward. 
The 10th company was leading the advance of that portion of 
this regiment, which was moving on StiringWendel.t It threw 
forward its skinnisliing division along^ a gentle degression 
leading towards the village with a view to dislodgmg the 
enemy s batteries in that dn*ection ; the 9th and 12th companies 
followed. The 4 th company, on the right wing of the regiment, 
moved along the south-eastern edge of the wood ; in rear of it 
came the 2]id and 3rd compauii's as a half-battalion. 

The troops advancing in tho copse met with no fmlher 
serious opposition ; tho open ground was, however, still swept 
by muuketrv from the Forbach heights and from the direction of 
Stiring. The hostile batteries at Stiring Wendel again put 
forward eveiy effort, and thereby stayed the progress of the 
52nd between the high-road and the copse. In consequence 
of this Major v. Eynatten ordered Captam Gotz with the 2nd 
light battery of the 14th Division to advance to the level heights 
north of Golden Bremm, where it overAvhelmed the enemy's 
gims with a heavy fire at a distance of only 1,400 paces, and 
speedily silenced them. 

Meanwhile, General v. Woyna had driven back the waveiing 
foe upon Stiring Wendel, and had occupied the southern edge 
of the copse, Avhere he was joined by the 4th company 52nd 
Regiment. Wliilst the echoes of the trumpet soundmg the 
French retreat on the Spichoren heights were falling upon the 
ear, the 39th, with that company, and with detachments of the 
77th Regiment, moved forward to the attack of the foundry 
and the slag-heap which surrounded it, behmd which the enemy 
was posted. This bulwark, so obstinately defended in the 
preceahig struggles, was taken by stonn at 8.15 p.m. J At the 
same moment, the 2nd, 3rd, and 9th companies 52nd Regiment, 
by a vigorously executed charge, drove the hostile troops, still 
holding out to the eastward of Htiring Wendel, back upon tho 
village, without giving them time to occupy tho shelter trenches 
in front of it. 

The tightin^- biuaine more languid ; the enemy appeared to 
be in retreat, (loneral v. JSchworin, however, did not deem it 
advisable to remain for the night immediately ui front of a 
jilace not entnely abandoned by the enemy, ana therefore, with 
tho concuiTcnce of the commander of the Division, \vithdrew 
the troops, who had meanwhile re-foimed, to Stirinff Wendel 
at 8.45 p.m. Some isolated hostile detachments stul offered 
stubborn resistance at this point. In order to prevent our own 
men from firing into ona another in the dark, the General 

* The Ist and part of the fusUior battalion, 58rd Ecgimont, the 2nd and parts of 
the lit battalion, 77th Bogiment. 

t Seep. 242. 

t Lieut. Wagner, 62nd Begiment, here captured a camp colour belonging to the 
3rd Vrenoh ObiMaeur battalion. 


sounded the ** cease firing,'^ and ordered the whole of the troops 
to advance with loud hurrahs against the west side of the 
place, whereupon the eneray^ gradually ceased to offer any 
lurther resistance. The Prussian outposts could be established 
on both sides of the Forbach high-road, the right wing resting 
on Verrerie Sophie. 

Whilst the 52nd thus captured the greater part of the south 
of Stiring Wendel, and while searching it made 300 more 

Erisoners, Major v. Wangenheim with the remainder of the 3rd 
attalion 39tn Regiment* scoured the northern farm buildings 
and slag-heaps, wnere isolated combats attended with heavy 
loss did not come to an end until after 11 o'clock. 

The struggle on the Spicheren heights, as we have seen, had 
died out somewhat earlier. The Prussian troops formed a 
broad bow round the village, stretching fi-om the Schoneck road 
along the eastern and soutliem edges of the forest to beyond 
the plantation at the Pfaffea forest. In rear of this extended 
line of troops, which were for the most part exhausted and 
mixed up owing to the long and obstinate struggle, a fresh 
reserve had collected towards nightfall at the foot of the 
Rotherberg and the Spicheren heights. Besides cavalry it 
included the three batteries present of the Vlllth and 1st .Mmy 
Corps, and also the infantry wliich airived on the field of battle 
after 6.30 p.m. These were the fusilier battaUons of the Body- 
guard Grenadiers and 20th Regiment, and last of all the 2nd 
battalion 53rd Regiment, which had marched 27^ miles in 13 

As the enemy held out for a time on the highest point of the 
Forbach heights. General v. Doering determined to employ the 
fresh troops for a forward movement in that direction, and sub- 
sequently to advance upon Forbach with a mixed detachment 
of various regiments. Both enterprises were, however, coimter- 
manded by General Stiilpnagel in consequence of the darkness 
having meanwhile set in and the appai'ently general retreat of 
the French. The Prussian troops on the plateau began to make 
arrangements for a bivouac and to place outposts ; the latter 
were subsequently reUeved by the last anived oattalions of the 
Illrd Army Corps. 

Advanced Guard Action op the 13th Division at Forbach 

ON THE Evening op the 6th August. 

In pursuance of the previous day's order, the advanced 
guard of the 13th Division]: reached Volklingen towards noon, 
and occupied the district abutting on the Saar with the van- 

* The three companiee, which had been fighting since noon in the oopee, 
mustered onlj 6 officers and 150 men in the erening. 

t This battalion, as we know, was destined to escort the corps artiUe^i Tilth 
Annj CJorps, and had marehed with it at 6 a.m. from Wadem 9id Nnnkirchen to 
Lebaeh } it was there leUered from that duty and continued its march, almost with- 
ont halting, to Saarbrackon. 

1 19ee Appendix ZIII and p. 208. 


guard. As the hussar patrols, which had been recounoitring 
on the left bank, reported the advance of hostile battalions from 
Great Uossel, General v. d. Goltz pushed forward as a tem- 
porary measure the rifle battalion nud a squadron of hussara by 
way of Wehrden. A report of this circumstance reached 
General v, Gliimer coiunianding the Division between 12 and 
1 o'clock, just as he and his main body had reached the neigh- 
bourhood of Piittlingen, where it was to occupy close quarters. 
He at once rode forward with the 4 th squaaron and the 6th 
light battery to the advanced guard at Wehrden. 

Meanwhile a continuous thunder of ^ns from the south- 
east had been audible for some time at this latter village. As, 
according to the latest reports, the enemy was said to be fight- 
ing between Stiring Wendel and Forbach, General v. d. Goltz 
resolved to bring the whole of the advanced ^ard to bear 
against his left flank. The commander of the Division approved 
of this course, and sent ordera to Piittlingen for the main body 
to get under arms and follow the advanced guard. 

The latter now proceeded on ita march to Great Rossel, 
accompanied by the reinforcements brought by General v. 
Gliimer ; a company of rifles and a division of hussai'S had 
already been puslied forward by Clarenthal upon Schoneck. 
When the troops were approaching the neighbourhood of Great 
Rossel at 4 o'clock, they received the orders which had been 
issued by the general commanding the corps from Dilsburg 
3 hours before.* The general tenor of the movements therein 
prescribed had been already carried out. The troops had 
marched 23 miles since 5 a.m. without halting to cook, and up 
to this time had seen nothing of the enemy. A considerable 
camp on the Forbach heiglits could alone be seen in the 
distance. The distant roar of artillery from the eastward, the 
echoes of whicli wore deadened by tne gi'eat forests, was no 
longorlieard; the action in that direction seemed to have come 
to an end. 'Phe commander of the Di\asion who was with the 
advanced guard, had also received a communication from* the 
head-quarters of the 1st Army, from which it transpired that the 
Commander-in-Chief had no intention of entering upon a serioui 
engagement on tlio left bank of the Saar that day. Under 
these circumstances (icncral v. Gliimer ordered the troops to 
halt to the north of Great Rossel and place their outposts; the 
main body was ordered to bivouac at Volklingen. 

At G o'clock the cannonade again became audil>le at Great 
Rossel; tlie hussar patrols, which had been sent forward, re- 
ported at the same nour the continuance of the fight to the 
south of Saarbriicken. At this moment the officer despa'.i/hed 
by General v. Zastrowj amved, bringing intelligence that the 
14th Division was biiskly en^ged at the Spicneren heights, 
and requesting the 13th Division to co-operate in the action. 
In consequence of this, General v. dL Goltz at once set off 

• See p. 208. 
t See p. 235. 


towards Forback along both banks of the Rossel. The fusilier 
battalion 55th Regiment, the Srd squadron and the 5th light 
battery took the direction of Emraersweiler through Great 
Rossei ; the three rifle companies present moved fonvard on the 
right bank towards Weber's Tan-mill ; the remainder marched 
along the direct road from Little Rossel to Forbaeli. The 1st 
squadron, sent forward to reconnoitre, reported that the heights 
west of the town wore entrenched, and, in common with 
Forbach, appeared to be strongly occupied. This had been the 
more expected, as these positions covered the adversary's main 
line of retreat. 

The two musketeer battalions of the 55th Regiment now 
formed in half-battalions in the Leisch forest, nrepaiatorv to a 
further advance along both sides of the high-road. The 6th 
light battery opened fire against the Kaninchenberg and the 
ground in rear of it. 

After General Frossard had gradually ordered up the whole 
of Valaz^'s Brigade for the defence of Stiring Wendel, there 
were only 2 squadrons of the 12th Dragoons and about 100 
engineers left behind at Forbach, which were subsequently re- 
inforced by 200 reserves of the 12th Regiment. Lieut.-Colonel 
Dulac had occupied the shelter trenches on the Kaninchenberg 
with these men, and dismounted some of his dragoons for the 
same purpose. 

mien the companies of the Prussian left-flank coliunu de- 
bouched, they were received by a brisk shower of bidlets ; they 
thereupon took up a position close to the high-road, behind the 
bushes and undulations of the gi*omid, with a view to engaging 
the enem^ in front. The battery also came up nearer, and 
directed its fire chiefly upon the outskirts of tlie town, in which 
hostile troops and eolumns appeared to be in constant motion. 
A train which was starting westward wns compelled to put back 
in consequence. The fast approaching twilight, and the dense 
powder smoke enveloping tne heights, did not allow of the 
strength and occupation of the enemy's position being observed. 
The greater part of the 2nd battalion had moved on the south 
of the high-road towards the western slopes of the heights and 
seized one of the enemy's shelter trenches. 

The three companies of rifles ascended the south-western 
slopes of the heignts from Weber's Tan-mill, and opened up 
a communication with the detachments of the loft flank column. 

The French, being thus outflanked on the left and almost 
taken in rear, commenced their retreat. 

As, however, it was already in jeopardy, the French com- 
mander ordered the dragoons, who had meanwhile mounted, to 
move forward to the attack. 

Though boldly executed in the failing light of the evening, 
the attack was repulsed with great loss by the 5th company 
55th Regiment and the Srd rifle company,* who reserved their 

* According to Lieut.*Coloael Dulao's report, 4 officers wcr« killed riuI irottn(!cd 
SS ineti and as manj officers were placed hors de combat. 


fire until the adversary had approached to close quarters. The 
anrival of night precluded any further continuance of the action ; 
only some isolated Prussian detachments followed the enemy in 
his retreat to Forbach. He kept up so brisk a fire, especially 
on the high-road at the railway arch, that it did not seem 
advisable to commit the ti'oops to a street fight at night merely 
for the sake of occupying the town. The advanced Prussian 
detachments were therefore brought back to the French 
entrenchments on the Kaninchenber^. 

The right-wing column had reacned Emmei-sweiler, and its 
battery had taken up a position on the heights west of the 
village. From that point an effective fire was directed mainly 
upon the Forbach-Morsbach road and the railway, causing some 
hostile reinforcements, which wei-e moving up irom St. Avoid, 
to retrace their steps. 

Meanwhile General v. Oliimer had also started the main 
body of his Division on its march to Little Rossel. A report 
from the battle-field, received on the road, caused the 15th 
Begiment to bend away towards Stiiing Wendel. As the dark- 
ness prevented it from regaining its connection with the 14th 
Division, this regiment also came up to Little Rossel, where the 
remainder of the troops arrived towai'ds 9 o'clock at night* 

Positions of the Contending Forces on the Evening of 

THE 6th, and in the NiGIIT 6TH-7TH AUGUST. 

At the conclusion of the stniggle at Spicheren, General v. 
Steinmetz gave orders for the scattered troops to re-form as far 
as possible, and to bivouac generally on the battle-field. The 
Ilird Armv Corps drew forward its two last arriving battalions 
to the plateau, and iumished the outposts. The * fusilier 
battalion Body-guard Regiment threw them out south of the 
Gifert forest, as far as the crest of the Spicheren heights, upon 
which the two batteries of the 9th Brigade also remained. 
Touching them on the right were the fusiher battalions of the 
20th and 12th Regiments, the former extending to the northern 
slope of the Forbach heights, the latter on tlieir western 
declivity. Between the Kreiitzberg and VeiTerie Sophie, but 
not immediately connected with the troops on the Spicheren 
plateau, were the outposts of the 52ud Ilegiment, which had 
been assembled to the west of Stuing Wendel; in front of 
Forbach was the advanced guard of the 13th Division. 

The main body of the 13th Division was at Little Rossel in 
rear of the right flank of the entire position. That part of the 
infantry of the 5th Division which was not employed on out- 
post duty (.'oncentrated at the Kt^ppertsberg. Tlie two 
inuskc'tccr battalions of tlic 2()tli Uogiment, which reached St. 
Johaun by rail late iii the evening, followed their fusilier 
battalion to the foot of tlie Forbach heights. 

The 14th Division assembled generiuly in the low ground 
aboiit Stiring, roimd the copse ; some 1>attaUous, among them 


thoee of tho 39th Regiment, remained for the night at the 
various points of the battle-field where they Imd been last 

The artillery bivouacked ffencrally in their final positions on 
the Folster heights, and on the Oalgenber^. Besides tho bat- 
teries alreadv mentioned, the whole of the horse artillery of the 
Ilird and VUth Army Corps and two field batteries of the 6th 
Division came up from different directions during the evening ; a 
second battery of the 1st Anny Corps also arrived by rail from 
Neunkirchen. These batteries had taken no part in the action, 
but were placed under cover in the neighboiurhood of the battle- 

The main body of the 16th Division, owing to the lonff dis- 
tance separating its quarters from the field of battle, did not 
arrive until the struggle was over ; it bivouacked between St. 
Johann and Malstatt, where it was joined by part of the 40th 

For reasons previously stated, the attempt to employ the 
cavalry in the struggle on the Spicheren plateau was relinamshed; 
since noon only 2 squadrons of the 12tn Dragoons had oeen on 
reconnaissance duty up the Saar. Tho 1st squadron ordered to 
reconnoitre towards Saargemiind, had sent forward a division 
alou^ the left bank, which was however prevented from proceed- 
ing beyond St. Arnual by a more numerous body of hostile 
horsemen ; the squadron sent along the right bank, however, 
reached the neiRnbom*hood of Saargcmiincl. Its patrols had 
been fired at by hostile infautry'to the north of Wolferdinff ; two 
hostile squadrons were seen on the heights south-east of Zmsdng. 
Between S€iargemund and the neighboming village of Neun- 
kirchen very considerable bodies of troops were ob8ei*ved, the 
strength of which was estimated at 20,000 men.* A division of 
the 2nd squadron, which was watching the ground on the left 
flank of the infantiy engaged in the Oifert forest, had advanced 
as far as Grosbliedersdorf. A French squadron endeavoured to 
cut off its retreat, but left the road clear for it without any 
apparent reason. Another oflicer's patrol had trotted onward to 
darling, westward of the battle-field, but on being attacked by 
a detachment of mounted chasseurs, withdrew by Lauterbach. 

The darkness of tho night and tho gcncrjillv unfavourable 
nature of the ground on the Spicheren plateau, did not render it 
advisable to send largo bodies of cavalry in pursuit of the enemy, 
who was retreating in good order. The 3rd and 4th squadrons 
of the 12th Draffoons, who had dismounted between 8 and 9 
o'clock and led tneir horses up the eastern ravine of the Forbach 
heights, were fired on while assembling on the summit by some 
infimtr^ stragglers in the copse on the bpicheren-Schoneck road. 
Two divisions which trotted forward towards Spicheren and 
Etzling found a camp still occupied at the latter village. In 
the course of the night two squadrons of the Brmiswick Hussars 

* HoDtaucloii*! PiTinon and LapMflct'i Brigade. 


advanced by St. Amual and Oroabliedersdorf, where they cap- 
tured some more prisoners. 

Qeneral Frossard had gradually brought up the whole ot his 
corps into the struggle,* and was seriously engaged at all points 
when the last arriying Prussian reinforcementa prepared to 
break through the centre of the French line of battle on the 
Forbach heights. To this may be added the exceedingly 
threatening appearance of Prussian troops on the left flank at 
Forbach, by which all oommunications to the rear were en- 
dangered. As, moreover, there were no signs of the expected 
reinforcements from the 3rd French Corps, General Frossard, 
under these critical circumstances, issued orders for retreat as the 
sun was going down. But as the high-road to St. Avoid was 
already commanded by the Prussian fire at Forbach, Generals 
Verff6 and Bataille first received instructions to withdraw from 
the Tow ground at Stiring towards Oetingen. The right wing 
of the corps on the Spicheren plateau assembled under cover of 
ilie artillerj^ on the Plaffenberg to the south t)f Spicheren, and 
likewise retired upon Oetingen at 10 o'clock. Dunng the nip;ht, 
General Frossard ordered Verge's and Laveaucoupeta Divisions 
to continue their retreat on Saargemiind, to cover which General 
Bataille|s Division took up a position close to his recent camp on 
the Oetingen heights. Sendmg on his ai-tillery and train in front, 
the latter also followed at daybreak on the 7th of August. ^ 

As these movements were not int^ered witii by the Prussians, 
they could be effected in fair order. Notwithstanding this, 1,200 
to 1,500 unwounded prisoners fell into the hands of the victor, 
besjdes many wounded men and the camp eijuipment abandonea 
on the battle-field by the Ist and 3rd Divisions ; on the day 
after the battle the large army stores collected at Forbach, and 
a bridge train, were also seized. 

The nature of the contest here described was such that the 
toss on the Prussian side exceeded that of the French. In the 
former case it amounted to : — 

Killed - - - 49 officers 794 men. 

Wounded- - 174 „ 3,482 

Missing - - — „ 372 

Total- - 223 „ 4,648t 


General Frossard states his loss as follows: — 

Killed - - - 87 officers 283 men. 

Wounded. - 168 „ 1,494 
Missing - - 44 ,, 2,052 

Total . - 249 „ 3,829 

* Bxdudiug the rifle battaliou of Bataillo's Division, which wa« left at Oetingen, 
39 battAlioni were eonced in the battle, 
t See Appendix XlV. 


We muBt not omit to make honourable mention of the pon- 
daot of the inhabitants of Bt. Johann and Saarbrticken, who 
had not hesitated to expose themselves to the enemy's artillery 
fire while bearing refreshments to the troops and succour to the 

In conclusion, it will bo of interest to watch the action of 
those parts of the Prencli army which might have been able to 
extena their much-expected co-operation in the battle on the 
6th August. As early as the forenoon, about the time of the 
advance of the 14th Division to Saarbriicken, General Frossard 
had teleeraphed to Marshal Bazaine at St. Avoid his conception 
of the situation of affairs, and proposed that reinforcements 
should be held in readiness to meet any circmnstance whioh 
might arise. The Marshal ^roxnised this, and had issued orders 
to that effect to the three Divisions at SaargemQnd, Puttelange, 
and Maiienthal^ none of which were on an average more than 
9 miles from the field of battle.* It would appear that the 
Marshal considered the force at St. Avoid indispensable for the 
protection of the great road at that point, as from a communi- 
cation sent to him by the Imperial nead-quarters he expected 
the adversary to attack that town from Calling. AVhen the 
Marshal later in the afternoon began to feel uneasy as to the 
issue of the struggle, he sent up a regiment by rail to Forbach, 
but it could no longer reach tlie place, as the line was com- 
manded bv the fire of the I3th Division, and returned without 
accomplishing its mission. 

IMetmann's Division at Marienthal, which had set out in the 
forenoon for Forbach via Bening, in accordance with the 
Mai^shars orders, must have marched very slowly and with 
frequent halts. When Juniac's cavalry brigade, leading tlie 
advance, was approaching the battle-field, General Frossard, 
who had no lack of that arm, ordered the brigade to return to 
Benmg, as he very probably foresaw^ the necessitv of keeping 
the great road clear, more especially for his carriages. Met- 
mann's Division only reached r orbacn late in the evening, and 
moved to the heights east of the town, wliich were not yet 
occupied by the Prussians. Here it received intelligence of the 
retreat of the 2nd Corps, and at once marched away, reaching 
Puttelange at daybrealc on the 7th August. 

General Castaffny, on hearing the distant cannonade about 
noon, moved off Tiis Division on his own responsibility from 
Puttelange, but took a direction too much to the right. As the 
action in a northerly direction had apparently ceased after he 
had proceeded about 4 miles, his Division retraced its steps to 
Puttelange. He had scarcely reached the place when the 
echoes of the cannonade were heard afresh. The Division once 
more commenced its march at 6 p.m.^ this time straight on 
Forbach, and while on the road received orders from the 
Marshal to join General Frossard. After reaching Folcklingen at 
9 p.m., and pushing forward vanguards to Forbach, it received 

• 3«e p. 143. 


intelligence of the retreat of the 2ud Corps. The Division 
returned for the second time to Puttelauge, where it anived 
with Metmann's Division at daybreak on the 7 th. 

Neither did the brisk cannonade pass unobserved at Saar- 
gemiind, wliere Montaudon's Division arrived on the morning of 
the 6th, to rehevo General Failly's troops. But not until the 
receipt of orders from St. Avoid to advance to Grosbliedersdorf 
did it commence its march ; leaving at 4 p.m., it reached the 
neighbourhood of Rouliug at 7 p.m. As the evening was noAv 
setting in, General Montaudon sent forward an officer to pro- 
mise his assistance for tlie following dav; but on hearing the 
result of the battle at midnight, ho joined Metmann's and 
Castagny's Divisions in the neighbourhood of Puttelange on the 
morning of the 7th August. 

(JoNCLUDixo Remarks. 

At Spicheren, as at WiJrlh, a forward pressure of the van- 
guards towards the foe had brought about a decisive action 
which was never contemplated for the 6th of August. 

On the Sauer it was known that the foe was in front of us, 
and it was therefore assumed that he would make a stand. The 
preparations for a battle had been already arranged, and they 
were only anticipated by twenty-four houi-s. 

On the Saar it was conjectured that the adversary was in 
retreat. If we wished to hold him fast, or at any rate not lose 
his touch, action was necessary. This was lelt instinctively, so 
to speak, by every one ; and as it was no longer a question of 
days, but probably of a few hours only, tlie leadmg troops 
lapsed into action of their own will and without loss of time. 
This conduct was in perfect accord with the views of those in 
authority, although at the moment the resolution was taken no 
ordera had been received from that quarter. 

At the time when General v. Steinmetz at Eiweiler sanc- 
tioned the passage of the Saar contemplated by the Vllth Army 
Coi^ps, the 14th Division was already engaged with the enemy 
on the left bank. And before Prince Frederick Charles' orders 
were received to keep the French at the sword point, and also 
to hold the passage at Saarbriicken, the van of the 9th Brigade, 
which had been set in movement by General v. Doering, was 
approaching the field of battle. 

The advance of General von Kameke did not clash with the 
arrangements of the authorities, as it was directed against an 
enemy in the act of retiring. Under this supposition, the autho- 
rities at ^lainz had already on the evening of the 5th declared 
the passage of the frontier below Saarbriicken open to the 1st 
Army. The independent offensive of the 14th Division was 
therefore perfectly in unison with the spirit of the German 
generalship, which directed every effort to hang closely on the 
adversaiy. It is perfectly true that the attack in q^uestion might 
in all probability have tailed, had the 14th Division remained 


^thout Bupports. But even iii this case the adversary would 
have been Drought to bay, and the isolated failure of a small 
part of the army in presence of superior forces would have had 
no real influence on the course of tlie operations. 

Supposing, on the other hand, that General Frossard had 
fwt been attacked on the 6th August, we must remember that 
before that date, or at a time when the Imperial head-quarters 
might still look for fresh strength by a junction with MacMahon's 
army, the retreat of the 2nd Cc^rps was in contemplation.* It 
may therefore be assumed that the Army of the Rhino, on 
receiving intelligence on the morning of the 7th of the result of 
the battle of Worth, would have commenced its retreat without 
being attacked. In this case it would in all probability have 
reached the Moselle without having previously sustainecl a loss 
in the defeat of one of its corps. 

A comparison of the course of the two battles fought on this 
day shows, in the case both of Worth and Spichcren, tlic French 
in a strong and well-prepared defensive position. 

In front of the former place there were on the eve of the 
battle about one and a half German army coras, and the re- 
mainder were on the mommg of the 6th en route tor the positions 
from whence the attack was to take place on the following day. 
It was thus rendered possible to deploy a superior outflanking 
force in the course of the battle, by which the victory was 
decided in the afternoon, and its fruit reaped while there was 
still daylight. 

At Spicheren, on the other hand, only the vanguards of the 
nearest army corps were present, feeling their way towards the 
Saar, and it was not until noon that one of these advanced 
guards encountered the enemy's superior force. The magnetic 
efiect of the thunder of the cannonade brought up reinforce- 
ments, some promised, others imexpcctcd; but arriving from 
distances even of a day's march they could not be effective imtil 
late in the day, leaving the assailant in the minority during the 
whole course of the battle. The forward launch of a few fresh 
battalions at a moment when the retreat was threatened from 
in rear of the flank at Forbach, and the French commander had 
no more reserves in hand, consummated the victory. 

The attack of the 13th Division would evidently have 
operated more decisively, had it reached and occupied Forbach 
before darkness set in ; this was however prevented by circum- 
stances already adverted to. On the other hand, it must not be 
forgotten that the enemy's superiority would have been still 
more marked, if, on his side as well, instead of the eccentric 
rovings of tlu-eo Divisions in rear of the battle-field, all the 
forces available within the bomids of time and distance had 
co-operated in the common cause. That perpetual eagerness on 
the part of the Germans to close with the enemy, that comrade- 
like tie between one commander and the other, and that 
assumption of responsibility in view of a well-timed co-opei*ation 

• See p. 143 


do not appear to have existed to the same ezteat in the French 


la a tactical point of view^ the confonnatiou of the. gpx)und 
at Worth admitted of all arms being employed in a most advan- 
tag^eons manner. There were more than 850 German gnns in^ 
action ; the French cavalry was vigoronsly employed in the 
struggle. The confi&^uration of the ground at Spicheren, on the 
oUier hand, precluded the emplo^ent of cavalry almost 
entirely, and tne action of the Prussian artillery was limited to 
a few points, with, in many cases, but narrow space for deploy- 
ment, of which, however, regardless of their losses, they 
effectually availed themselves. At first there were but 24 guns 
present to aid the infantiy in its diflicult task, and, till towards 
the end of the battle, inclusive of the batteries at Fortnch, 
there were not more than 13 Prussian batteries in action. 

But it was not to this cause alone that were due the flpreat 
losses in the infantry, giving to this battle so especially bloody 
a character, but rather to the fact that firom the commencement 
the circumstances on the Prussian side were antagonistic to the 
exercise of a single controlling power in the action, and that 
durinflr the whole course of the struggle there was never a large 
unbroken reserve available. Singly, as the reinforcements came 
up, they were at once moved into the fighting line, to reinstate 
it in itsposition or to feed it. It was only the last assault upon 
the Forbach heights, coupled with the flank attack of the 13th 
Division, which forced the exhausted adversary to retreat ; the 
immediate pursuit was precluded by the setting in of night. 

Under tnese circumstances the material gains from the battle 
of Smcheren could not nearly compare with the rich trophies of 
/ the tllrd Army at Worth. iBut tne moral value of a victory 
'^' extends far beyond the limits of the battle-field. It bears its 
significance on its face. The entirely unlooked-for intelliffenoe 
of a simultaneous defeat in Alsace and Lorraine came Eke a 
thunderclap in the sunshine upon the over-confident capital of 
France ; even in the Imperial head-auarters all resistance was 
renounced for the moment. Thus in tne course of the following 
week the whole land, as far as the Moselle^ fell into the hands of 
the Germans. 


Retreat op Marshal MacMahon's Army upon Chalons 
AND Advance of the IIIrd Army to the Moselle. 

The interval since the 2nd August had demanded very severe 
efforts and considerable sacrifices on tlie part of the IIIrd Army. 
After toilsome marches, bivouacs under torrents of rain, and 
two severe engagements, the necessity of a day's rest became 
imperative. Consequently the majority of the troops remained 
on the 7th August hi tlie quarters and bivouacs whitih they 
had occupied hi the vicinity of the battle-field. Tlie only excep- 
tions were that the Ilnd Bavarian Corps concentrated around 
Niederbronn, and the 2ud Bavarian Di\nsion advanced from 
Preuschdorf to Oberbronn. The P>adeii Division occupied Hage- 
nau, where 14 French ofRcei-s and 103 men were taken prisoners 
and a number of service wagons and stores captured. 

As we are already aware, the pursuit instituted by the 
cavalry was discimtinued at the entrances to the difficult moun- 
tain passes, and thus even on (he 7th August all contact with the 
enemy had ceased to exist. Owing to this circumstance the 
extent of the disorder prevaiHng in the French army after the 
battle of Worth, as well as the real direction of its retreat, 
could not be precisely estimated by the headquarters at Sulz. 
The earUer report* from the cavalry, and the known fact that 
Abbatucci*8 French brigade had retired upon Bitsch, led to the 
supposition that Marshal MacMahon had likewise taken this 
direction with a view to closing in uj)on the main Imperial 

The arrangements for continuing the advance were based on 
these presumptions. 

In order to traverse the northern Vosges by all the available 
roads, it was necessary in the first place to bring up the marching 
columns of the left wing to the more southern entrances of the 
mountains. From these points the chief lines of communication 
tend generally noy-f/i-westward ; on emerging from tlie passes 
they resume in many iiistanc<^s a «(>M///-weHterly direction. The 
mountain roads were, as a rule, very bad, an<l for the most part 
barred by forts. According to report the inhabitants were in 
arms. There seemed every po88il)ility of meeting ^vith the 
enemy in force on the westeiTi side of the mountains. 

Under these circumstances it was resolved to move towards 
the Saar, in such a manner that the whole of the marcliing 
columns should simultaneously reach the line Saarunion-Sane- 
bourg about the 12th August. 

The French, however, had bent away in another direction, 
and by forced marches gained more and more gi-ound in their 
retreat. CoDsequently the immediate contact with the enemy 
was not regained for the present. 

When the 5th Corps under General de Failly joined the 

A 2 


Marshal at Sarrebourg on the evening of the 8th Augiiflt,* the 
ai-my of the latter was still deficient of the greater part of the 
7th (^orps, of which, as we have seen, Conseil Dumesnil's Divi- 
sion had alone been involved in the defeat at Worth. Dumont*s 
Division, wiih a brigade of Ameil's Cavaliy Division, was still at 
Lyons on the 6th AiigiiRt, for the pm^pose of maintaining public 
order in that city. Liebeil's Division, with the other brigade 
of that Cavalry Division and the reserve artillery of the 7th 
Coi-ps, was pushed forward from Belfort to Miihlhansen, with a 
view to protecting southern Alsace from the enterprisef w^hich, 
to all appearance, was then threatening from the German side 
of the Upper Rhine. 

The subseouent proceedings of this force are so significant 
of the internal condition of the French army at that time that 
we will examine them here somewhat closely.} 

When Lieberts Division reached MiihlhauHcn on the 6th 
August, no preparations had been ma<le for its sul>sistence. In 
the evening rations were, it is true, issued to the troops, but they 
could not be cooked as no wood was given out until the following 
nioniing. When at length the cooking kettles were on the fire, 
orders arrived at \) o'clock for an immediate march. In addition 
to the news of the defeat at Worth, a report was current that the 
Prussians had crossed the Rhine at Markolsheim and Huningen. 
As it was considered that from the latter point the line of retreat 
on Belfoi*t by Altkirch was seriously menaced, the march to 
Belfort was at once commenced, without making a single attempt 
to find (mt for certain whether there was any truth in the rumour. 

This nimecessary haste in the departure, the claims of hunger, 
and a three-hours' delay in crossing the canal bridge, had such a 
veiy injurious eftcct upon the temper of the troops that all control 
over them during the rest of the march was lost. Arms and 
knapsacks were thrown away without number; the road was 
covered with stragglers abusing their officers. 

In the villages this entirely unexpected retreat produced 
the greatest consternation ; the inhabitiints fled into the woods 
with their goods and chattels. Even at this stage the ci^^l 
authorities mcited them to this measure, and wherever it was 
complied with the people suff*ercd m<n'e damage than if they had 
remained at home and put up Avilh the billeting. 

Without having seen an enemy, Liebert's Division bivouacked 
at Dannemarie on the evening of the 7th August with only half 
its effective, and resuming its march as early as 4 o'clock the next 
morning reached the bivouac at Belfort on the evening of the 8th 
August, by a road c()vered with carts belonging to the fugitives. 

The Division remained there for more than a week, employ- 
ing the time in strengthening the works of the fortress, tne 
garrison of which consisted at that time of only 500 partly 
formed Gardes Mohiles. 

• * re p. 2lX). 
t Sec p. 140. 
X Extract from tho " Ilioloire de rArmio de Ch&lons, par im Tolontaire." 


On the 12th Aneuet, after the arrival of Dumont's Division 
from Lyons, the 7th Corps at Belfort numbered about 20,(X)0 
men and 90 guns.* But even now tliey neither moved to meet 
the enemy, wlio was ah-eadv in front of StraHKburg, nor did they 
attempt to join the Ist and 5th Corps. 

These two Corps had continued their retreat from the neigh- 
b(mrhood of Sarrebourg on the 9th August, moving in three 
cohunns, rid Uechicourt and Bhimontim Liuievillo, and byCirey 
on Baccarat. 

Although the 5th Corps had been placed under Mai-shal llao- 
Mahon from the 5th Augustf it neverthelesR continued to receive, 
even after the 7th, direct communications from the Imperial head- 
quarters, prescribing independent movements of a most contra- 
dictoiy nature. For instance, an order was received at Rechicourt 
from the Emperor, summoning the 5th Corps to Nanoy. A dis- 
patch h'om Marahal Leboeuf, which came subsequently at 10 p.m., 
explained this order, leaving it an open question, that in case of 
necessity the movement might take place in the almost opposite 
direction of Ijangres. 

From what has already been stated, it follows that a retreat 
by Nancy might still have taken place without interrupti(m ; the 
railway was as yet also available. But nimour had already placed 
the Prussians at Pont-a-M(nxRRon, and the condition of the 
French troops did not appear to allow of their being again 
brought in contact with the enemy for the present. General 
Failly consequently did well in selecthig the direc^ticm of Langres. 
On arriving at Charmes, however, he received distinct orders to 
march upon Toul, witli the idtimate object of being called up 
to Metz or Chalons. After commencing his movement to Toul 
on the 1 2th. in accordance with these orders, he received a tele- 
grnm from Marshal Leboeuf in the nftvrnoon, ordering him to 
take the road to Paiis which seemed the most suitable; tlio 
ca'der to march upon Toul had been revoked by the Emperor. 
General Failly at once inclined away to the left and proceeded 
by Mirecourt and Lamarche to Chamont, where he arrived on 
the IGth. On the 17th he received instructions that he was 
again placed under Marshal MacMahon, and that the latter was 
retiring to the Camp of Chalons. 

The Marabal had meanwhile also bent away southwards in his 
retreat, in order to reach the less exposed railway in the uppor 
valley of the Marno. Destroying the bi-idgrs in tin 'ir rear, iiis 
forccHt crossed the Moselle at Bayou on the 1 Itli August; they 
reached the river Madon at llaroue on the 12th, the lileuse near 
Keufehateau and above that place on the 14th; they halted on 
the 15th. 

On the inth the transport of the 1st Corps by railway com- 

• According to '* Le 7*. Corps par le Priuco Bibesco." Paris, 1872. 

t See p. 142. 

X The Ist Corps, Conseil Dumesnirfl Diyision And Bonnernains* CaTalrj Division. 


meuced ut llaiiuis,* and this wan coutiimed on the following 
days from the st^itions of the Upper Marne railway. The whole 
of the caviih-y and part of the artillery continued uieir march by 

By the evening of tlui 19th the Corps was completely as- 
sembled in the camp of Chalons. The 5tli Corps, moving chiefly 
by road, reac^hcd the camp on the 20th and 2l8t. The reserve 
artillery of this corps was forwarded by rail through Bar sur 
Aube to Paris, and from thence to Kheinis. The 7th Corps took 
the same route. 

On tlie l()th Angnst the 7th Corp.s recc;iv<'d telegraphic ordei*s 
from Paris to move to Chalons. The two Divisions were trans- 
ported to Kheims by 52 trains between tlie 17th and 22nd 
August by way of Vesonl, Langi'ca, Chaumont, Troyes, and 
Paris. Many deieetH were hen; brought to hght; in particular 
neither the time nor the means for cooking or for watering the 
lioi*ses were considered. 

At Chalons, Conseil Dunusnirs Division rejoined the 7th 
Coips. At this place General Trochu had meanwhile collected 
the 12t.h Corps, of Avhich General Lebrun now received the 
command. 'Ihis Corps was composed of some regiments de 
marche and marines, of parts of the ()th Corpsf which had not 
been dispatched by rau with it to the Moselle and of the 
regiments of the line brought up from Toulouse. 

llarshal MacMahou was appointed Commantler-in-Chief of 
the four aniiy corpsj assembling at Chalons, to Avhich was also 

i'oined Margueritte's Cavalry Division in addition to that of 

AuvANci: OF THE IIIkd Army to the Saar. 
Sth to the 12rii August. 

On the 8th August the Ilird Army moved off on a broad front 
towards the VoKges, the two Bavarian Corns§ forming for the 
most part the right, and the two Prussian Corps the left wing. 
The \Vurttembergl)ivision was in the centre and, as long as the 
direction of the march allowed, formed the advanced guard of 
the Vth Army Ct>rns, to which it was assigned for this object. 
The nil Cavalry l)ivisi»»n n^mained fiu* a time at Buxwiller and 
Steiid)urg in rear i>f the left wing, so as to cross the mountains 
behind tlie inf. intry uf the Xlth Army Corps. The 12tli Division 
marching imlepemleiitly formed the extreme right wing. In its 
advance I'rom JStiirzelbri»mi|| it was aliso to give support in the 
direction of the Ilnd Army in the possible event of the IV^th 
Corps being involved in an ai:tii)n at Kohrbach, but if not. it was 

• Station on tlie line lutwoon Noufi-liattMU inul Chaumont. 
t The (M'llti's M lit t%) t lii< rurpd. luul its (•on.-ciiucnt iiiovementd, uill be more par- 
tiou1url> iillu(ti'il to in iIom ribin*; tlte advance of the lat and Ilnd Armici). 
X 'V\w l.-t, Tilb, 7tb, :ii d 12ili. 
§ 'I'bc .L>u\uriuii Luiia.-.icT lirig;;ilc was a^:iin ussii^niHl to tbc 1st liavaiian 

II Sto p. L*(;). 


■2. , 


to follow to Saanmion in rear of the Ilnd Bavarian CorpB. The 
troopB received inatnictions to carry 3 days' iron rations* with 
them; the trains were to remain two mnrclics in rear and were 
not to enter the mount^iin passes until tliey had been traversed 
hy the troops. The colnnms W(3ro to maintain conimnni cation 
with each otJier and in tlie evunt of any fighting were to afford 
as much mutual support as p()F?Ril)lo. 

Tlic 11th Division, the rcinaindor of the Vltli Anny C'orps, 
and the 2nd Cavalry Division were gradually asKonibliug at 
SiUz and Ilagenau in rear of tlie advancing araiy. The trans* 
port by rail of these troops was impeded by the trains of 
wounded and prisonera coming in the reverse direction, and 
was not finished imtil the 11th August. 

The Baden Division reached Brumath on the 8th August and 
remained there for a time watching Strassburg.f 

On the right flank of the army, as early as tlie 8th August, 8th and 0th 
the fortress of Bitsch, which closes the road to Rohrbach, had -^"K"**- 
to be taken into consideration. 

The Ilnd Bavarian Oorps, which was in bivouac this day 
at Egelshardt, pushed forward a brigade to witln'n a mile of the 
place. The 12th Division had received orders in the forenoon 
to advance to Klein Redercliing, east of Rohrbach ; when its 
leading detachment came withm range of the guns of the 
fortress in the afternoon, it was received with a brisk cannonade. 
La Roche's Bavarian batteiy responded, throwing incendiary 
shells into the town ; as, however, no visible good was eftecteci, 
the firing was shortly suspended. Some of the gunners were 
wounded and a gun-carriage destroved. 

The indifferent bye-roads, which the small though almost 
unassailable fort forced us to use in order to pas» round it, were 
at once reconnoitred and improved as much as possible. The 
12th Division which had at first moved into bivouac at 
Herzoffshand, made a night march as far as Haspelscheidt, 
crossed the Hanviller plateau with some difficulty (m the 

* The " iron ration " oonrists of a snpp] j of bacon, biscuit, rice, coflcc, and salt, 
and is carried as far as possible by the men thcniselTcs. Tlieno radons arc held in 
reserro, and are intended to provide against the troi>pH being left witlioutfiHjdntany 
time. — Tr. 

t With regard to the advance of tbc IFInl Anny to the Soar between 8th-12th 
August, attention is directed to the sketch opposite, upon which the lines of march 
and chief 6tappes of the nmin columns for each day are indicated. When there 
was not suflicient room in the ncnrent villagcH for quartering the troop.% thoy had 
to birouac during their march through the mountains. 

Beferences to sketch : — 

- ■■ Line of march of main columns and advanced 


A. n. Q. « Army Iiead-qnartcrs. 

v., XI. = Vth, Xlth Army Corps. 

I. B. and II. B. «* 1st Bavarian and Ilnd Bar. Corps. 

12 D. - 12th Division. 

W. D. and Bd. D. — Wurttcmbcrg Dim. and Baden Divn. 

4 C. D. "B 4th Cavalry Division. 

The other Arabic numerals denote the dates in August on whlcli the respective 
columns occupied the Tillages. 


followiii*^ (lay, and l)y this circTiitouH route reached the neigh- 
bourliood of Schorhach and Loug-eUlieini on the i)th. 

Tlio Ilnd Bavnviau (/orps, Iravin*]^ a battalion and a sijuadron 
temporarily heliind to observe Hitseh. made a detour on the l»th 
Au^-ust round the »onili <ii' the pl;ic<* alonp^ iorewt roads over the 
Ibihenkopr and reaehed Lenibei*^, whieh had been ori^nally 
designated as the niareliing* point of the l8t liavaii \\\ (^orps. 
'^rhis hitter ('orps, after hivouaeking at IWrenthal and 3b>uter- 
hausen on tlie 8th, moved on the \)\\\ bciyond Lemberg as far as 
Euelienberg", the cuiransier l)rij;*a(U' to ftbaitbronn. 

The Wihttendierg I)ivisi(»n liad advanced as far aw the 
entrances to the mountain [kinsib near In4»;\viller on the 8th 
Au.i»ust, and lia<l (h'spatched a Hanking (Uitaclnnont to Slench- 
hoifen and another to Itotlihuch. While the hittm* under Li<;u- 
tenant Kurzof th(! It h Cavalry, was reconnoitring hi tin* direction 
of the little fortof Liehteid) was tired at whereupon the Divi- 
sion received orders to atta<'k the mountain fastness on the *Jth. 
General v. Obernitz detaihcl for the enterprise the 1st and iJrd 
Kiile Battalions, half a scpuidnui of the 4th Cavalry Regiment, 
the 2nd and 3rd batteries (4 Prs.), and a pioneer detachment. 
General V. Iliigel was appointed to the cimimand of those troops. 

On the *Jth they ap])roaehed Lichtenberg from two sides. 
The main e(»hnnn, of M'hich the two batteries formed a jmrt, 
marched from IngwilKa* along the VVhnmenaii road over the 
BoUenberg against the west side of the place. The 3nl |{ifle 
Battalion and a division of cuirassiers to<»k the road along the 
Itothbach valley, and thence moved partly from Neumiihle 
against the north fnait, and partly by another steep forest path 
against the east front. 

lioth batteries of the main c(»hunn t(K)k up their first position 
at a distance of 2,200 paires from the fort. As, however, the etleet 
of the tire could not be observed owing to a thick mist, they 
advanced some 800 paces forward and took up a new position 
on both sides of the road where, bending to the eastward, it 
emerges from the wood. They lunt made use of a mitrailleuse 
which ha(lb(»en captured at Worth but it speedily became unser- 
vicc^jible. The fort answen^'d with a vigorous but almost in- 
effective fire of shell and small arms. A CiJUipany of the IstUiflo 
l>attalit)n remaimd as iscort t'> the gims. the other three ad- 
vanced to the (»ast sidi^ of the village of Liihtenberg, which was 
unoccupird by the enemy, where they to<ik up a ])OHitioii and 
corniected thenisrlvi.s with the skirmishers of the 'M\\ Rillc 
Battalit)n. At half-past U o'clock two more companies of the 
2nd Regiment under JIajor v. (iravenitz appeared before the 
south-east angle of the tort. These had originally remained 
behiml to garrison Lauterbach, but were now following their 
Division anil had spontaneously hastened to the scene of action. 
The skirmishers of this crmipan)'' succeeded in api»roaching 
within 100 paces of the rampart unperceived by the enemy and 
in gaining a firm position there. A division forced its way 
close up to the palisades. 


At half-past 10 o'clock the French artillery was reduced to 
silence ; the reconnaissanccR carried out in the interim had, 
however, shown that the fort was quite secure against escalade, 
and that the 4-pr8. were incapable of making a breach. The best 
marksmen havuig been told off to fire at the embrasures, our 
immediate efforts were limited to throwing shells into the 
interior of the fort. 

When General v. Ol^ernitz received a report of the st^te of 
affairs, he despatched a 6-pr. battery, which arrived at nocm and 
opened fire on the left of the 4-prs. The effect produced being by 
no means decisive, Lieut.-Colonel v. Marchthaler brought four 
guns of the 6-pr. batteiy to within (>()() paces of the south-east 
angle of the fort and set fire to the buildings in the interior. But 
the fort still showed no signs of a surrender. A parlementaire 
calling upon it to do so was received with a shower of bullets. 

Orders arrived shortly after from Genei-al v. Obernitz to 
cease firing, and merely invest the fort, in the event of the 
6-prs. being likewise unsuccessful. 

In accordance with this, General v. Hiigel ordered the Ist 
Rifle Battiilion to occupv those points which were of importance 
for the investment. While caiTying this out, Lieut.-Colonel v. 
Steiger commanding the battalion was mortally wounded, and 
Captain Borst placed liors de combat About 4 o'clock the 
General moved off with the rest of his troops to rejoin the 
Division, which had meanwhile advanced from Ingwiller in a 
north-westerly direction towards Meisenthal and Puberg. 

The two companies of the 2nd Infantry Regiment, which it 
will be remembered had established themselves close up to the 
fort, were not able to withdraw to Rothbach without loss. The 
defender fired repeated volleys after them, neglecting, apparently, 
all attempts to extinguish the fire. As the flames were now seen 
to rise aoove the principal building, Lieut.-Colonel v. March- 
thaler again bnmght forward the 6-pr. battery, which was alriady 
retiring, and continued to throw shells into the conflagration 
until tne main building fell in. At 8 p.m. the fort hoisted 
the white flag. Captain Sussdorf, who nad succeeded to the 
command of tiie rifle battiilion, concluded a capitulation with 
the commandant, 2nd Lieut. Archer, 96th Regiment of the Line, 
by which the fort and the war material therein were to be 
handed over on the following day, and 3 officers and 2LS men* 
composing the garrisim, made prisoners of war. The trophies 
of victory consisted of 7 guns and 260 chassei^ot rifles, with 
ammunition. The loss of the Wurttembergers amounted to 
12 killed and 24 wounded, besides the ofiicei'8 mentioned. 

The Vth Army Corps, on the left of the Wiirttember^ Divi- 
sion had reached the foot of the mountains at Weiterswiller on 
the 9th August, and had pushed in a detachment as far as 
Eckartswiller. Captain v. otruenseo of the General Staff made 
a reconnaissance of Fort Liitzelstein which lay on the future 

* Including 34 wounded. 


line of march of the corps. As it proved to be al)aiidouecl by 
the enemy, it was occupied by the Ist battiHon 37th Ke^ment. 
Twenty-thi'ee French straggh^rs were there taken prisoners, 
and G guns with ammunition captured. Information was also 
received that on the night of the 7th-8th some of General de 
Failly*s troops had bivouacked near tlie fort. 
lOth August. The 1 lira Army, wliicli had been marching westward with 

an increasing breadth of front on the 8th and Uth August, now 
again naiTowed its front in advancing towards the scmth-west. 
This Avas occasioned by tlie circumstance, that, on the first in- 
correct report of Ifarshal llacMahon's line of retreat, the Ilnd 
Army had ivceived orders from the royal head-quarters to anti- 
cipjitc the Marshal with their left wing by Rohrbach. In con- 
Bciiurnce of tliis tlic hkuI from that place to Lorcntzrn was 
already occupied by the IVtli Army Oorps on tliu 8th Au;^iist, 
so that the hne of luart^h to Uohrbach originally prescribed for 
the Bavarians had to be given up by tliem, and they had to 
take a road more to tlie south by Diemeringen. The 12th 
Division alone marched by way of liohrbach. 

At 3 a.m. on the lOth August, the following telegiam from 
the royal lu'ad-cpiartcrs reached the Crown Prince's head- 
quarters, which iiad been transferred on the 8th to Merzwiller, 
within the rayon of the Xlth Army Corps. 

'*Ist and Ilnd Army connnonce their advance to the i\b)sellc 
on tlu' loth. iJiri'ct ion of right wing of Ilird Army, Saar- 
imion-Dieuze ; cavalry well iu front." 

This telegram was followed in the afternoon |)y an ix- 
[)lanatory despatch to the folK»wing efleot from (jeneral v. 
kloltke, adtlrcsHcd to all three army head-quarters, dated Saar- 
briicken iUh August, 8 p.m. : — 

Ue)>orts receiveil lead to the supposition that the enemy 
has withdrawn behind the ^loselle or Seille. 

All three armies will follow this movement. The Ilird Army 
takes the road ISmunmion-Dieuze and those south ; the Ilnd 
Anny the road St. Avold-Ni)meny and those soutli ; the Ist 
Army the road Saarlouis-Boulay-les Etangs and those south. 

In ordiT to cover the march, the cavalry is to be sent 
forward to a (MUisiderable distamus and is to be sunported by 
advanced guards thrown out well to the front, so tliat, should 
the necessity arise, each army may hfivc time to close up. 

Any deviations from those lines of inarch a^iU bo ordered 
by His Majesty, as the position or movements of the enemy 
may demand. 

The loth August may be employed by the Ist and Ilnd 
Armies in giving the troops rest, or in placing them on the 
roads designated for them. 

As the left wing cannot n-iwh the Saar until the 12th, the 
Corps of the right wing will have comparatively short marches. 

Whilst, in pursuance of these orders, the columns of the right 
wing of the llird Army gave way to their left in the manner 



already deBcribed, the Wurttemberffers advanced to Adams- 
wilier on the 10th Au^URt, and the Vtli Army Corps as far as the 
vicinity of Woj^er, out cavalry detucliments from the north, 
belongini^ to the IV th Army Corps, had already scom^ed the 
ground along the front as far as Fenestrange and Sarrebourg. 

The Xlth Army Corps, the command of which had devolved 
upon General v. GersdorfF after General v. Bose's severe wound 
at Worth, formed the extreme left wing of the army, and roa(rhed 
the neighbourhood of Hattmatt and Dossenheim on the Dtli 
August. According to instiiictions from army head-quarters it 
waa to reach Sarrebourg by the 12th, making use as well of the 
Zinzelthal road, and invest* the fortress of Pfalzburg which lay 
on its line of march. 

In accordance with this order General v. Gersdorff marched 
on the 10th August with the 21st Division and the coi-ps artillery 
from Hattmatt along the main road by Zabem, in the direction 
of the fortress, as far as Quatre Vents, and ordered a recon- 
naissance of the environs. 

The 22nd Division, at present under General v. Schkopp, 
a<lvanced fi'om Dossenheim by way of the Zinzelthal to ^letting. 
Close in rear followed the 4th (3avalry Division.f 

The reconnaissance had shown that Pfalzburg was com- 
pletely armed, abundantly provided with food, and garrisoned 
by 1,200 men,J under an energetic commander, Major Taillant. 
The summons to surrender sent by both Divisions of the Xlth 
CoiTps was decisively rejected by the commandant ; to the 
threat of a bombardment, he sent the laconic reply, '* J*accepte 
*' le bombardement." 

General Haussman now ordered the artillery to take up the 
positions previously selected : the four batteries of the 21st Divi- 
sion at Les Barraques, 2,800 paces S.E. of the fortress ; the six 
Uitteries of the corps artillery 4,600 paces E. of it, with their 
left flank resting on the road. As soon as it was dark these 60 
g^ins commenced a brisk cannonade, to which the fortress only 
replied with ten guns, which opened fire bjr degrees and caused no 
damage to the Prussian batteries. As it was impossible to ob- 
serve the effect of our fire owing to the darkness and the pouring 
rain, the bombardment was discontinued ; the Prussian batteries 
had expended nearly 1,000 shells in three-quarters of an hour. 

The Xlth Army Corps was this evening at Mittelbnmn and 
Netting on its two lines of march ; the investment of Pfalzburg 
was handed over to the advancing troops of the Vlth Army 

* A clerical error m the order made eintekliessen (inyest) into tituehittMen (bom- 

t This Dirision should not hare crotsed the mountains before the 11th, but in 
its anxiety to meet the enemy again, had mored forward on the 10th on its own 

{ According to the official report of the French court of inquiry upon the capi- 
tulations, the garrison consisted of the 4ith battn. 63rd Regiment, and a battalion of 
Garde Mobile, besides 52 artillerymen and some 200 vtragglers from the 1st Corps, 
making a total of 1,232 men. 


11th August. Tlicro waH now no loup^or any doubt that the French Iiad 

retreated from Woi-tii and Hiti^uh upon Barrebourg. The Cnnvn 
Prince, whose headqnartera had been at Peterebach since the 
10th, liud roceivt'd a comrnnnication from the IVth Army Corps 
at Saarunion. that it inti'iuk'd remaining in that neighlhiurhood 
during the llth. Under thuse circumstances it now became 
necessary to bring the army to tlie Saar on a still more con- 
tracted front. But in order to enable it to open out during 
its Hulmequent advance, the 4th Cavalry Division was ordered 
provisionally to press forward through SaiTebourg and recon- 
noitre the neighbomhood of Luneville and Nancy in the course 
of the next few days, whilst the Xlth Army corps was to follow 
by ISarrebourg. 

In accordanee with tlieHeiiiKtrncticms the 4th Cavalry Division 
roach(;d the; crons roads at ileming on the llth. The 2iid 
Body-guard Mussai-H, which, with two companies of the lK5th, 
formed the advanced guard, occupied iSt. Georges on the 
LunevilK; road; a squadron of lancera was pushed forAvard 
from Sarrebourg to Langatte, on the north-west. 

Shoi-tly bi'fore the anival of the cavalry the bridge at Dianne 
Capelle had been blown up ; a pioneer detachment of the Xlth 
Corps, wliieh was despateht;d on wagons from Sarrebourg, coia- 
pleted a bridge of boats 200 paces south of the spot by the next 
afternoon. Other explosions led to the conclusion that there 
were demolitions elsewhere. 

Under cover of the Cavalry Division, the Army reached 
the line of the Saar betwtjon Pistorf and SaiTebourg* with three 
Corps and the AViirttend)erg Division. As the neighbourhood 
of Saarunion was at this time otherwise occupied, and an there 
was a deficiency of roads for a sinmltaneous movement in the 
narrow tract available for the fc»rward march, the 12th Division 
and the Ilnd Bavarian Coi-ps had to remain temporarily in roar 
at Lorentzen and Diemeringen. 
12th August. By the 12th August the army had fim'shod its deployment, 

as the IIn(l Bavarian Corps, and the 12th Dlviwion, had tujw 
also come up into front hiiu, and all parts of the army were on 
the roads wliieh they were to make use of in their subsequent 
advance to the Moselle. For this purpose, the 1st Bavarian Corps 
moved from Pistorf up the Saar towards the neighbourhood of 

Thus the army on the evening^ of the 12th August had four 
Coips and the \Vui*ttemberg Division extended over the nine 
miles of ground between Sarrebourg and Fenestrangci ; the luU 
vauee<l guards were pusluul forwanl totlu; left bank of the Saar. 
The 12th Division alone (ux'upied a detached position on tlio 
right of Saarunion. The troops had now ret-eivod instructions 
to call up their trains to the Saar, The army head-quarters 
remained at Petersba(jh on the 12th. 

The 4th Cavalry Division had on this day made considerable 

Seo sketch fuoing p. 250. 


proffresfl. The let squadron of the 2nd Body Guard Huwars 
made incursions as far as Luneville, "whorc it only met with 
some wounded French soldiers who had been loft Ix^hind. 
The burgomaster handed over the gold(»n key of the town to 
Captahi V, E^oncet., with a letter to the (Jrown Prince, wherein 
he promised to comply with all demands of the Gennan troops, 
in return for which he begged f(»r the protection of the town and 
its iidiabit^intf). The sqnadron bivouack(;d to the* (»aM of the 
town. The Division reached the neighbom'hood of Moyonvicj on 
the road to Nancy, and occupied that village Avith the advanced 
guard. A parlementaire wlio had ridden forwai'd to demand the 
Bun'ender of the neighbouring fortress of Mar^al was received 
"with fire. 

On this day Colonel Wright with the 5th Dragoons reached 
Dieuze from Saarunion. Tins regiment likewise belonged to the 
4th Cavahy Division, but had, as we have seen, carried out the 
reconnoitnng duties along the Palatinate frontier under great 
fatigues from the commencement of the campaign. After assemb- 
ling at Zweibriicken on the ()th August, the regiment moved on 
the 7th to rejoin its Division. On this day it made a reconais- 
sance in the direction of Bitsch, after receiving intelligence of 
the battle at Worth. It was hoped that the debris of MacMahon's 
aimy would bo met with, but such, however, was not the caise. 
The 4th Squadron (5ame so near the fortress, that it was fired 
upon and suffered a loss of 4 killed and 5 wounded. Its further 
advance as far as Saarunion was carried out in conjunction with 
the 8th Infantry Division. At this point the regiment was once 
more united to the 4th Cavalry Division, and Krosigk's brigade, 
to which it belonged, with the two already mentioned companies 
of the 95th, foi-med thenceforth the advanced guard of that 

While the Ilird Anny was advancing to the Saar the Baden 
Division had despatched on the 6th from Bnimath its three 
regiments of dragoons, nine batteries, and six comi)anies of 
infantry on waggons, towards Strassburg. The cavalry earned 
its reconnaissance to the glacis of the fortress, and exchanged 
shots with the gannson, which decisively declined to suiTonder. 
Although there was no prospect of gaining possession of the 
impoilant place by a coup do main, still tlie line of railway 
from Strassburg to Lyons and the teh^gi'aphs were sucees^fully 
destroyed; Vendenheim, an imi)ortant point as regardinl our 
own communications, was als(» orcjupied. 

On the evening of the lOth August, tlie Divimon received 
direct orders from General v. Moltke at the royal head-quarters, 
to prevent any reinforcements of hostile troops or matenal being 
brought to Strassburg, especially from the S(mthward. ** A 
" complete investment the best ; reinforcements to that end on 
" the way," were the words of the order. 

The Baden Division, having thus ro(;eived an independent 
mission, was uicluded no longer as a part of the Ilird Army. 

The forces meanwhile collected at Sulz and llageuau under 



General v. Tumpling* had followed after the army, and their 
advanced parties reached the eastern foot of the VosgeH at 
Bux wilier and Ingwiller on tlie 11th August; the c(»ps artillery 
of the YIth Amiy Corps was still at Hagenau. The general 
etappen inspection had also been moved to Buxwiller, and had 
placed the railway as far as Steinburg in working order. General 
V. Tumpling had received instructions likewise to cross the 
mountams, and while doing so to invest the foi-tress of Pfalzbure 
in such a way that the troops on the march should be secured 
against the sorties of the garrison. 

The lltli Division stai-ted for the mountains at 3 a.m. on 
the 12th August. It moved generally in fighting order, and 
with caution through the ZinzoUlml, as the naiTow pass was 
said to bo occui)ied by VoHges si laq) shooters. The roads were 
so inip.'iKsablc that it was evening before the neip^hbourhood of 
Vesciicini was reached. The coi'jiS artillery moved from llagenau 
to Buxwiller. 

The investment of Pfalzburgwas ontnisted toMajor-Gcueral 
V. Eckartsberg ; the 38th Fusiliers, the 6th Rifle Battalion, the 
4th souadnm 8th Dragoons, and the 1st Heavy Battery were 
placeci at his disposal for the pui-pose. 

The rifle battalion formed a left^flanking party on the manrh 
from the eastwaid as far as Quatre Vents, and threw forward an 
advanced picquot to La Poste des chevaux. The other troops 
marched along the Zinzelthal road by way of HoberhofT to 
Vilsberg, and took up a position west and north of the fortress 
as follows : — The Iwt battn. 38tli Uegiment at Mittelbronn, the 
3v(l buttn. on the roads ti» Saanniion, Vilsberg, and Biichelberg, 
kL'Ci)ing up conmmnicatiou with the rifles ; the remainder as a 
general reserve at Vescheim. The outposts were pushed forward 
on all three sides almost to the glacis of the fortress. The 
commandant was sunnnoned to surrender, but again refused to 
do so. As preparations for aiming the ramparts of the fortress 
had been observed from the Mittelbnmn side, fire from the 
heavy batteiy was opened against this point at half-past 5 o'clock 
in the afteniotm. The ganison answered vigorously along the 
whole front with musketry and artillery, continuing to do so 
throughout the nif;ht, but in a loss degree. The Prussian out- 
posts found cover in the buildings suiTounding the fortress, but 
m spite of this had a loss of 5 killed and 13 wounded. 

As IMalzburg closed the important road over tlie Vosgesfrom 
Zabern to Sarrebourg and was a standing menace to the rail* 
way in the valley of the Zorn, it was in every way desirable 
to gain speedy possession of the place, and avoid a protracted 
investment. Tl\o more complete reconnaissance ordered from 
army head-cpiarters had led to the idea that the end might bo 
attained by a vigorous bombardment with field artillery, and 

• See p. 269. 


General v, Tumpling received instructions to make the 

In addition to the troops already mentioned, the General 
brought up the 51st Regiment on the 13th August, surrounded 
the fortress completely, and ordered the corpw artillery to como 
up from Buxwiller by way of the Zinzenthul and Metting. 

Meanwhile, with the help of men detailed from the 2lBt 
Brigade at Hangwiller, emplacements for lotteries were thrown 
up on the heights 1,500 paces soutlx of Vescheim, on both sides 
of the road, and the guns were placed m position during the 

At 7.30 a.m. on the 14th the whole of the ten batteries of the 
corps artillery and 11th Division opened fire at ranges varjring 
from 3,300 to 4,000 paces. The tortress answered with eight 
or ten guns, of which two were 24-prs. and one mortar. At the 
end of half an hour a conflagration was o1)6erved in the town, 
and although the cannonade only lasted until 5 p.m., fires 
broke out at several places. 

The artillery had expended 1,800 projectiles; a division of * 
the 51st Regiment had moved from Mittelbronn as far as the 

flacis and exchanged shots with the garrison. The commander, 
owever, obstinatelv refused to surrender, and it was therefore 
manifest that the place was not to be subdued by field artillery. 
In order, therefore, to make up in some degree for the time 
which had been lost in the attempt, General v. Tumpling 
followed the army to Sarrebourg on the evening of the 14th. 
The two musketeer battalions of the 51st and a squadron of 
dragoons remained provisionally before Pfalzburg, and observed 
the fortress from the north and south until they were relieved 
by landw^ehr troops on the 19th and 20th August. 

Thb Adyancf. of thb IIIrd Abut to thi Mosellb. 

After the main forces of the IIIrd Army had completed their 
concentration on the Saar in the manner already described, 
orders were received from the Crown Prince in the afternoon of 
the 12th August for a further advance to the Moselle. Such an 
advance had been contemplated almost simultaneoiisly by the 
royal head-quarters at St. Avoid, for on the night of the 12th- 
13th a dispatch from thence intimated that the Ist Army 
would advance to the Nied in the direction of Metz, the Ilnd 

moving abreast of it with the left wing on Chateau Salins ; 

it then went on to say that " the II Ird Army was to continue 
*• its advance towards the line Nancy-Luneville. Its further 
** movements will be decided upon in the next few days. The 
" trains may foUaw the Army Corps in all cases as far as the 
'* Meurthe and Moselle." 

In accordance with this the IIIrd Anny moved ofi* towards iSth Anguit. 
the Moselle once more on a broader front.* On the 13th August 

* Soe iikotcli opposite p. 26S. 


a sqiiadron of the 4 th Cavahy Division connected themselves at 
Chateau Salins with the left wing of the Ilnd Army. The 
advanced guard of the Division* had invested the small fortress 
of Marsiil dui-ing the morning. As the commandtmt did not 
accede to the proposals made to him, and would only surrender 
on the condition of the garrison being allowed a free departure, 
the horse artillery l)atterie8, which were passing with the main 
body of the Division, threw 87 shells into tiie place ; the garrison 
responded with a sinale shell, received the troops advancing to 
the glacis with musketry fire, but even now renised to capitu- 

A report was meanwhile received from the squadron of hus- 
sarst which had proceeded to the other side of Luneville, that 
Nancy was also unoccupied. In consequence of this, the Divi- 
sion continued to advance in this direction on the 13th as far as 
Moncel, the advanced guard to Champenoux. 

Four squadrons remained provisionally in observation before 

The main body of the aimy reached the line Dieuze-Blamont 
this day, and occupied double its fonner extent of front. 
The 12th Division was alone on the Saar at Fenestrange. On 
the right wing, the advanced guard of the Ilnd Bavarian Corps 
aiTived at Dieuze, and pushed forward three l^ttalions and a 
regiment of Che vaux- lagers that evening to Marsal. relieving 
the same night the detachment left behind by the 4th Cavalry 

On the extreme left flank the Xlth Army Corps advanced 
to Blamont and Avricouit. The 13th Hussars made incursions 
as far as Baccarat, and there destroyed the telegraphic com- 
munication. Army headquarters moved to SaiTebourg. 
14Ui August. The 4th Cavalry Division reached Nancy on the following 

day, occupied the town, and pushed forward the 5th Dragoons 
beyond tlie place to the westward. The French post of the 
preceding day, amongst which were letters from Metz of the 
loth to the 13th August, fell into their hands. It aj^peared from 
the contents that a considerable portion of the French army was 
in that neighbonrhood, and that a l)attle was expected daily. 
Considerable bodies of troops were said to be assembling at 

The cavalry patrols pushed forward in various directions 
found the bridges over the Moselle at Frouard and Pont St. 
Vincent uninjured, but the stone bridge further up at Basse- 
Flavigny w^as dcKtroyed. Communication was opened with the 
5th C:ivalry Division by way u( Frouard and intelligence, was 
received that Pont a MoussiUi was occupied by infantry of the 
Ilnd Army. 

The Mini Army moved forward this day as far as the Hue 
Moyenvi(;-Luiicville ; the 12th l)ivisiou and the 1st Bavarian 
Corps remained iu second line at I^ieuze and Maizieres. 

* Tilt' lOth I'uvulry Jiri^ailo and two cos. l)5th Kegimcnt. Sec p. 2(M. 
t Sec p. 2<ij. 


Considerable stores of supplies were found at Luiieville, 
especially of oats. After abundantly satisfying the wants of the 

{>assiug troops, the remainder were formed into a grand depot 
or the use of the army. Intelliffenee was received that 
Marshal MacMahon had retired to ChalouB ; General Failiy was 
said to have moved away southwards with a view to taking up 
a firm position in the southern passes of the Vosges. 

The Ilnd Bavarian Coips had during its march by Dieuze to 
Movenvic invested the fortress of Marsal on both banks of the 
Seille with the 7th Infantry Brigade, the Lancer Brigade, and 
seven batteries of reserve artillery. The guns had been placed 
in position to the north and south of the fortress, and a battery 
Iiad just opened fire by mistake, when the commandant con- 
cluded a capitulation with the parlementaire sent to him. The 
garrison were made prisoners of war, and 60 guns, 8,000 rifles, 
considerable stores of ammunition and other war material fell 
into the hands of the Bavarians. Among the prisoners there 
was not a single artilleryman. This circumstance explained why 
only one cannon shot had been fired from the fortress. General 
V. Martmann occupied the place with a company of the 9th 

The Vlth Army Corps reached Sarrebourg on the night of 
the 14th- 15th ; army headquarters moved to Blamont. 

On the following day the 4th Cavalry Division on the right W*^^««"»«^ 
wing I'emained at Nancy. The Vth Corps reached the Meurthe 
at St. Nicholas and Rosiires, and pushea two advanced guards 
over the river. The Xlth Coi-ps on the left wing advanced from 
Luneville to Bayon on the Moselle, where the stone bridge was 
found to be destroyed. After constructing two pontoon bridges, 
the 44th Brigade, the 13th Hussars, and two oatteries moved 
forward as advanced guard, the outposts taking up a position 
between Harou^ and Vaudeville on the river Maaon. 

Both Bavarian corps, the Wurttemberg and the 12th Divisions 
were in second line at Einville, Moncel, Sommervilliers, and 
Arracourt; the Vlth Corps remained at Sarrebourg. The 
Crown Prince transferred his headquai*ters to Luneville. On 
this day the 2nd Cavalry Division also came under his direct 
orders. It had left Mainz on the 7th August, on being placed 
imder the commander of the Ilird Army, and had received 
instructions from the royal headquarters to follow this army 
with all possible speed. The Division crossed the firontier at 
Weissenbur^ on the llth August, and followed tlie YIth Cori>s 
across the Vosges. After a nme days' march, during which it 
traversed a distance of 160 miles, St. Georges was reached on 
the 15th August. 

On the 16th August the Ilnd Bavarian Corps came up into 10^ Angnti. 
the first line at Nancy, and the Vth Corps pushed forward ad- 
vanced guards to Richardmenil and Basse Flavigny on the 
Moselle. The bridge which had been blown up at the latter place 
was again made passable by the pioneers within 27 hours, and 
by means of the bridge trains a second passage was constructed. 



The Xlth Corps, the WUrttembereera, the let Bavarian Corpii, 
and the 12th Division remained in the positions which they had 
taken up on the 15th August ; the other parts of the Vltii Uorps 
followed from Sarrebonr^ as far as Blamont. 

The 2nd Cavalry Division advanced in the direction of Bac- 
carat as far as the neighbourhood of Montigny, As the pre- 
viously mentioned rumour of General Failly*8 retreat towards 
the South Yosges received confirmation by more recent reports 
and intelligence, the Division was assigned the special duty of 
protecting the left flank of the army from that quaver. 

On the right wing, the 4th Cavalry Division moved forward 
as far as the road leading from Toul to Colombey, and despatched 
the same day half a squadron of the 2nd Hussars on either flank, 
so as to accompany the Division in its subsequent advance at 
the distance of a da^'s march and gather intelligence as to the 
enemas army. A similar detachment was sent a day*s march 
ahead of the Division. The Ilnd Bavarian Corps also sent for- 
ward its cavalry beyond Nancy to Pont St. Vincent and in the 
direction of Toul. The outpost squadrons of the lancer brigade, 
which had advanced by Gondreville close up to the fortress, 
observed an action developing on the north bank of the Moselle 
and Mame Canal about noon. In order also to occupy the 
attention of the fortress on the south side, the lancer brigade 
advanced as far as Dommartin and opened fire with the horse 
artillery battery against the fortress at a range of 1,200 paces. 
The latter responded, but without causing any loss to the 
Bavarians. As the action in the north was broken off during 
the afternoon, the Bavarian battery also ceased firing. The 
lancer brigade then went into bivouacs at Gondreville, its out- 
posts watching the fortress without molestation firom the enem^. 

The troops which had come into contact with the enemy m 
front of Tout were parts of the IVth Armv Corps, consequently 
the left flank of the Ilnd Army, and it will now be necessary to 
describe the events which had taken place between the lower 
Saar and Moselle since the battle of Spicheren. 


MoTiMiNTS or T?i Abmt from ths Lower Saab to thb Mosbllb. 

Junction or thb Ist and IInd Armibs ; DEPLOTiiir.NT for a further 

Adyancb on the Left Dank of thb Saar. 

In the early morning of the 7 th August a thick mist overhung ^th Angnit. 
the battle-field of Spicheren and the neighbourhood. 

At daybreak Gruter'e brigade of the 6th Cavalry Division 
reached fromGudingen the drill ground at ISaarbrucken,* where 
it was rejoined by the 6th Cuirassiers.f 

In order to regain the touch of the enemy, the 3rd and 15th 
Lancers at once moved towards Forbaclu The 12th Dragoons, 
15th Hussars, and the 2nd H. A. battery of the Vllth Army 
Coips joined them ; Captain v. Knoblauch with the 3rd squadron 
of tiie Cuirassiers took the direction of Saargemiind, and found 
in the village of Etzling some 500 Frenchmen, including many 
officers, who had been left behind mostly in a wounded state. 

When the lancers appeared before Forbach towards 6 a.m., 
they were fired upon by infantry. The place was now attacked 
simultaneously on the west and north by the advanced guard of 
the 13th Division which had received orders during the night 
from the corps commander to advance at daybreak against the 
flanks and rear of the enemy, should Forbach not have been 
previously evacuated. 

General v. d. Goltz gained possession of the townt after a 
brief skirmish, and took up a position on the Kreuzberg to the 
e€istward, facing Saargemiind, whilst the main body of the 
Division moved up to the Forbach railwav station. Meantime 
Griiter's cavalry brigade, in concert with the regiments and the 
battery of horse artillery which had joined it, advanced as far 
as Morsbach, where it bivouacked, thro^ving forward its outposts 
alon^ the St. Avoid road and towards the south. The patrols 
which scoured the country in all directions found Calling on the 
west and Far8chwiller§ on the south unoccupied, but discovered 
hostile troops of all arms drawn up in a strong position at 
St. Avoid. In consequence of this some changes of front and 
position of the 13th Division took place during the same after- 
noon : two battalions and a batteiy belonging to the main body 
advanced by way of Morsbach to serve as an immediate support 
to the cavalry at Rossbriick ; the advanced guard of the Division 
took up a position on the St. Avoid road, and afterwards 
bivouacKed to the south-west of Forbach. 

The commander-in-chief of the Ist Array and his staff had 
passed the night at St. Joliann ; this army executed the follow- 
mg movements on the 7th : — 

* On the right bank of the Saar south of St. Johann. 

t It will be remembered that this regiment was present at the battle on the pre- 
Tioos day. 

1 As stated on p. 250, considerable stcires and a bridge train were here rnpturrd. 
5 N.N.W. of PutU'Unge. 

B 2 


The Vllth and Vlllth Army Corps had been ordered to 
employ the day chiefly in bringing up troops still in rear, and 
in re-organising the different units after the loosening they had 
sustained in the battle. Accordingly the 14th Infantry Division 
assembled at Stiring Wendel. The corps artillery of the Vllth 
Army Corps, which reached Saiiibriicken in the forenoon, moved 
to Volklingen on learning that the Forbach road was assigned 
to the Vlllth Army Corns. 

Tho KJth Infantry IMvision crossed to the left bank of tho 
8aar, and bivouacked in the uoighbourhood of Drathzug ; the 
15th Infantry Division and the corps artillery gradually came 
up to the Saar in the coui-se of the forenoon, and went into 
bivouacs on the right bank between Malstatt and Burbach. 

The 3rd Cavalry Division had been instnicted to search 
the roads leading to Metz from the direction of Saarlouis. It 
marched by Saarwellingen to Fraulautern, and pushed forward 
patrols over the Saar, which found Bouzonville unoccupied, but, 
on the other hand, came across French in&ntry and cavalry at 
Tromborn, on the road to Boulay. 

Of the troops* recently assigned to the Ist Army, the 1st 
Anny Corps had with its two Divisions from Birkenfeld and 
Kaiserlautern reached the neighbourhood of Tlioley and Ram- 
stein on the 6th August, and were brought up to Lebach and 
Sand on the 7th. The 2nd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division 
likewise advanced from its points of disembarkation at Birken- 
feld and Neunkirchen in the direction of Lebach on the 7th, 
whilst the 1st Cavalry Brigade commenced its disembarkation 
at Birkenfeld. 

Meanwhile the telegraphic order from Mainz, already quoted,t 
had reached the commander-in-chief of the Ist Army, assigning 
the main road from Saarbriicken to St. Avoid to the Ilnd Army. 
In consequence of this. General v. Steinmetz transferred his 
head-quarters on the 7th to Volklingen and issued ordera that 
evening to tho Vllth and Vlllth Anny Corps to evacuate the 
road in question on the foUo^ving day by bearing away to the 
right. The commander-in-chief of the Ilnd Army was informed 
of these an*angements. 

Of this latter army, the 6th Infantry Division was completely 
assembled at Neunkirchen on the evening of the 6th of August,t 
and from thence marched away to Saarbriicken at 3 a.m. It 
there received orders to relieve the 5th Infantry Division in its 

{positions. Accordingly, the greater part of the 11th Infantry 
Brigade took over the line of outposts from Stiring Wendel to 
the oaur ; the main body of the 6tn Infantry Division bivouacked 
on the Galgeul)erg ; the 5th Infantry Division was quartered in 
Saarbriicken and St. Johann. 

• Bee p. 101. 
t See p. 203. 

X With tli6 excepHon of those troops which had alreadv appeared on the battle 


Both Cavalry Divisions of the Ilnd Army had received orders 
from headquarters to shift theu* positions as follows: Barby's 
and Redem's brieades, which had assembled at Saarbriicken on 
the morning of the 7th, were ordered to move to Saargemund, 
which they did along the right bank of the Saar. The 19th 
Dragoons were alone to move up along the left bank by Spi- 
cheren to Saargemiind, and thus maintain the communication 
with the 6th Cavalry Divisfon. Of the latter, Griiter's brigade, 
as we are aware, had already moved forward to Forbach in the 
early morning. Ranches hussar brigade, which hud been watch- 
ing the neighbourhood of SaargemCInd from the lower Blies on 
the 6th, was brought up by Saarbriicken on the morning of the 
7th and bivouacked on the drill-ground with the 6th Cuirassiers, 
which had been left behind from Oiiltei^s Brigade. 

In this way all three brigades of the 5th Cavalry Division 
now found employment on the left wing of the army, while the 
6th would for the future exercise its activity on the right wing. 

During its presence on the lower Blies, Ranches bn^ade had 
during the 6th August observed French troops marching from 
the eastward towards Saaxgemiind, and reported to army 
headquarters early on the 7th that this village was still occu- 
pied m force by tne enemy. Bredow's brigade, while making a 
reconnaissance from Medelsheim,* had also met with French 
infantry at Rohrbach, and ol>8erved a considerable camp at 
Bitsch, which increased in size during the course of the day. 

These observations, taken in conjunction with the news of 
Marshal MacMahon's defeat at Woi-th and of his supposed 
retreat on Bitsch, left a most decided impression that the 
adversai-y wished to keep his hold on the Bitsch-SaargemOnd 
road. Tnis view was confirmed by a telegram despatched from 
the royal headquarters at 6 a.m., in which the suggestion was 
thrown out that, as MacMahon might reach Bitsch on the 7th, 
the cavalry and the left wing of the Ilnd Army should be 
opposed to him on the 8th at Rohrbach. 

Tlus proposal, so thoroughly in agreement with his own 
views, was at once entered into by Prince Frederic Charles. 

The IVth Army Corps, which was on the march towards the 
neighbourhood of Alt nombach, received orders to move to 
Yolmunster that same day, push forward its advanced guard 
to Rohrbach, and make such arrangements that it could be 
completely assembled at Rohrbaoh by 8 a.m. on the following 
morning at the latest. For this object, Bredow*s brigade of the 
5th Cavalry Division was assigned to the Corps; the Guard 
Cavalry Division and a Guard Infantry Division were to be ready 
to support it at Gross Rederchingt on the 8th, whilst with the 
same end in view the Xth Corps was given a more south- 
westerly direction. In the event of the enemy making a pro- 
longed resistance at Saargemiind, no serious attack was here to 

* About luJf-wsT between BliesoMtel and Kohrbacli. 
t K.W. of Bohmch, on the road to SaargemAnd. 


be made from the eastAvard. It was rather in contemplation to 
move up the Ilird Corps from its present position on thn left 
batik of the Saar against Saargemiind from the north. 

Had Marshal MacMahon really taken the supposed direction, 
he could not have escaped a fresh and complete defeat. 

Prince Frederic Charles also transferred his headquarters on 
the 7th from Homburg to BHescastel ; the IVth Army Corps took 
up the positions just indicated. The other Corps reached the 
points assigned to them in previous orders, consequently with their 
foremost line in the neighbourhood of Assweiler and St. Ingbert.* 

Barby's and Redem's cavalry brigades occupied quarters on 
the lower Blies and Saar between EJein BUttersdorf and Hab- 
kirchen. Late in the afternoon a detachment of the latter brigade 
found Saargemund abandoned by the enemy. The 17th Hussars 
occupied the village and captured considerable supplies of pro* 
visions and stores, as well as some locomotives wmch had been 
left behind. The outposts from the regiment thrown out 
towards the south-west regained the touch of the foe, whose 
infantry were occupying Woustwiller, the other arms being 
encamped further to the rear at Eniestwiller. 
Sth August. After the undisputed occupation of Saargemund, the only im- 

portant collision to be expected for the present with the enemy 
was that of the IVth Army Corps and those parts of the Ilnd 
Army which had taken the same direction, in order to be on 
the spot if this should happen. Prince Frederic Chai*les moved 
with nis staff by way of Klein Rederching^ towards the Bitsch- 
Rohrbach road on the morning of the 8th August. Between 
Klein Redcrching and Rohrbach stood in accordance with orders 
the IVth Army Corps deployed in order of battle. 

The hostile army expected from Worth did not, however, 
make its appearance ; neither did Bredow*s cavalry brigade, in 
its incursions far to the southward, discover any traces of a large 
French force ; it only met with detachments of the Illrd Army. 
It was now plain that Marshal MacMahon must have taken a 
more southerly direction in his retreat. 

The IVth Corps now passed over to the Rohrbach*Saarunion 
road, its advaiiced guard moving this day as far as Loreutzen. 
The whole of the Guard Coi*p8 assembled at Gross Rederching ;; 
the Xth Corps reached the neighbourhood of Saargemiind and 
occupied that town witll i^ advanced guard. The IXth Corps 
nt Bexbach and the Xllth at Homburg closed up their columns. 
The llird Army Corps also remained for the most part stationary, 
the 6th Division alone advancing beyond Stiring Wendel, and 
occupying Forbach with its advanced guard in the afternoon. 

The hrad-quartors of Prince Frederic Charles were trans- 
ferred on the 8th to Saargemiind. 

* Guard Corps, Assweiler ; Xth, St. Ingbert ; IXth, Bexbaeh } Xllth, Hom- 
burg. See note on p. 205. The Ilnd Corps wm still on its way bj rail. 

t Klein Bedcrcliing is not near Gross Redcrching, but about 2| miles E. of 
Bohrbach and N. of the Bitsch road. 

X A battalion was sent from that plaee to Saargemiind. 


The shifting of the left win^ beyond Rohrbach had caused 
such an increeusie of front to tne Ilnd Army that it appeared 
desirable for the commander-in-chief to distribute the cavalry, 
which had hitherto been employed by independent Divisions, 
among the different Army Corps. 

The Guard Corps and Xllth Corps had already their own 
Cavalry Divisions at disposal, and the Hessian cavalry brigade 
was with the Xlth Corps. The 6th Cavalry Division was therefore 
assigned to the Ilird Army Corps, and the 5th was distributed in 
such wise that Bredow's brigade remained ^vith the IVth, and 
Barby^s and Redern's brigades passed to the Xth Corps. In the 
event of a battle, the commander-in-chief reserved to himself the 
concentration of the Cavalry Divisions, and the disposal of them. 

Meanwhile, the cavalry had executed the following move- 
ments on the 8th August : — 

On the left wing the greater part of Bredow's brigade reached 
the district between Lorentzen and Saarunion. Throe squadrons 
of the 7th Cuirassiers, which were reconnoitring the Vosges from 
Lemberg,* met with hostile infantry at Wimmenau, by whom 
their Airther advance into the mountains was disputed. Upon 
this they rejoined their brigade by way of Lorentzen. 

BarDy's and Redem's Inigades had advanced by way of 
Saargemiind to Puttelange and Saaralbe. Both places were 
found abandoned by the enemy. The patrols thrown out 
beyond Puttelange observed the withdrawal of French troopsf 
towards the south-west ; nothing could be seen of the enemy 
from Saaralbe. 

On the other hand the French were still visible in large num- 
bers in the direction of St. Avoid. Major v. Thiele, who had 
proceeded on the morning of the 8th to reconnoitre with a party 
of the 12th Dragoons, attacked some hostile troops at Haut 
Hombourg,} and after capturing some prisoners withdrew, as 
the enemy opened a vigorous musketry fire and even placed 
some guns in position. 

In the afternoon Griiter's brigade of the 6th Cavalry Divi- 
sion sent out a strong reconnoitring party from their bivouac 
at Morsbach towards St. Avoid and Lixing, whilst a squadron 
of the 8rd Lancers sought to connect itself with the 5th Cavahy 
Division by way of Metzing, and thereby complete tlic line of 
observation southward. 

When Colonel v. Alvensleben with three squadrons of the 
15th Lancers§ appeared before St. Avoid in the afternoon, he 
found the place still strongly occupied. Captain v. Plotz, moving 
by Lixing, also discovered a large hostile camp at Gross Ten- 
quin^l At 5 o'clock, however, the foe was observed to be 

* Point oC inteneotion of the roadi from Bittch and Bohrbach to TngwiUer. 
f Apjparently about 8,000 ftrong. 

I l^oint of interaection of the rulway and road to the E. of St. Arold. 
{ A aquadion bad been diepatohed the preriooi day in an carter] j direction to- 
ward! Kerbaeh, in order to complete the connexion with the 6th CaTalrj DiriBion. 
I About milea 8. of 8t. AtoM. 


retiring from St. Avoid towards the west ; the lancers at once 
entered the town, and found a number of wounded men and 
stragglers fVom the 3rd Fi*ench Corps. 

Colonel y. Alvensleben followed the enemy with two squad-* 
rons along the Metz road as far as Long^ville, where some 
French battalions, with cavalry and artillery, had taken up a 
position as rear guard. While continuing to watch them at 
close quartera, it was observed that these troops also retired 
upon Bionville on the approach of night. The lancers imme- 
diately resumed their aavance. Their patrols, who rode right 
among the enemy, were fired upon at times by infantry; at 
other places even large detachments offered no opposition 
to them. The whole bearing of the enemy gave the impression 
that the confidence of the troops was already shaken and their 
discipline broken. 

Leaving a squadron at Longeville, the remainder proceeded 
for the night to St. Avoid. The connexion with the 6ih Cavalry 
Division was established at Puttplange by means of the detach- 
ments sent to the south-east. 

On the first telegraphic intelligence of the battles of Worth 
and Spicheren reaching the headquarters of His Majesty the 
King at Mainz, the possibility of barring Marshal MacManon's 
retreat was the first point considered. 

The steps taken in consequence naturallv affected at the same 
time the other parts of the 1st and Una Armies, the present 
military situation requiring that they should be under one undi- 
vided command within immediate rea^h. For this reason the 
royal headquarters had been already shifted on the 7th August to 
Homburg in the Palatinate, where His Majesty the King arrived 
the same evening at 7 o'clock. 

The contemplated advance of the German main forces from 
the lower Saar to the neighbourhood of Metz was, as already 
mentioned, to be executed by a gradual wheel to the right upon 
the 1st Army as a pivot.* 

In order to attack with a deployed front ^he Emperor Napo- 
leon*s army, which was presumed to be in a strength of five Corps 
on the Moselle, and at the same time outflank it on the rignt 
with superior forces, our own right wing must be itself held back. 
The advance of the latter, i.e. or the Ist Army, must be the more 
retarded for the present as circumstances already alluded to 
had caused the left wing of the Ilnd Army to make a wide 
detour southward, and the centre was still engaged in concen- 
trating. It may further be added that since the battle of 
Spicheren we had no accurate knowledge of the enemy's pro- 
ceedings, and, Consequently, our further measures depended 

• See p. 106. 


on the reports of the cavtdry as to the whereabouta of the main 
French army. 

With this object General v. Molke telegraphed as follows to 
the commander-in-chief of the 1st Army : — 

**Hi8 Majesty orders the let Army to remain to-morrow 
(8th) with the Vllth and Vlllth Army Corps in its present 
position between Saarbrlicken and Volfclingen, to occupy the 
bpicheren Heights, and hold them against any attack. 

General v. Steinmetz, as we are aware,* had projected a 
movement of the two army corps in question towards the right 
for the 8th, so as to leave the St. Avoid road free for the Ilnd 
Army, and had already issued the requisite ordera. The intelli- 
gence received in the interim, that the llird Array Coi-ps might 
I possibly be employed in the direction of Saargemund, had now, 
lowever, induced the belief that this corps was in fact already 
on the march to that place, and that the important road to St. 
Avoid was therefore denuded of troops. For this reason it was 
deemed necessary to modify the orders previously given. This 
mistaken view was subseqiiently set right by a telegram from 
the headquarters of the Ilnd Army ; at the same time also the 
foregoing instructions arrived from the royjil hiMuhpiai-ters. 

The Allowing movements took place in tlio Ist Army during 
the 8th August : — 

The Vllth Army C<;rps, which was in the act of mo^ang to 
the Volklingen-Carling road, suspended its march in pursuance 
of orders to that eflFect, so that with the exception of the corps 
artillery and the trains, only the advanced ^ard of the 13th 
Infantry Division reached that road at Ludweiler, the main body 
halting at Klein Rossel. The 14tb Division advanced to Forbach 
and Morsbach. Their outposts extended on both sides of the 
road from St. Avoid, connecting themselves towards the east 
with the advanced troops of the Vlllth Anny Corps. 

The latter corps had been moving dmiug the morning along 
both banks of the Saar towards Volklingen and Wehrden in 
order to take up its assigned position in rear of the Vllth Army 

General v. Goeben, commanding the corps, fii-st recalled the 
1 6th Division, and afterwards the 15th from the right bank of 
the Saar, in order to occupy the Spicheren Heights, which, 
according to an incorrect report, appeared to be threatened from 
Puttelange. In consequence of tnis the corps took up a posi» 
tion at Spicheren in the course of the day, and pushed its 
advanced g^rd southward beyond Etzling. The corps artillery 
and trains remained in the valley of the Saar. 

The 3rd Cavalry Division, which had already proceeded 
beyond Saarlouis as far as Picard, was recalled to the right bank 
of the Saar, and bivouacked at Derlen. Officer's patrols con- 
tinued to watch the enemy on the left bank. 

• Page 272. 


The Ist Anny Coips arrived at Volkliiigen and Plittlingen 
vrith the let Infantry Division, and at St. Wendel ^th the Snd. 

Five regiments of the 1st Cavalry Division reached the neigh- 
bourhood of St. Johann; the 9th Lancers bivouacked at 

During these movements of its various peu^a, active recon- 
naissances were pushed westward in advance of the entire front 
of the Ist Army. All the rcpoils from the numerous cavalry 
patrols pointed to the fact tiiat the enemy had even in this 
northern district alrc^uly abandoned the positions hitherto held at 
Bouzonville, Boulay, and Bouchcpom, and had retired to Metz. 
The result of these reports was not however known to the com- 
mander-in-chief until lato in the evening, and consequently, as 
we shall sec, had no influence on the orders for the 9tn August. 

His Majesty the King issued the following army order from 
his headquarters at Hombiurg on the 8th August : — 

" Soldiers I The pursuit of the enemv who has been repulsed 
after sanguinary struggles has alreaay brought a large part 
of our army over the frontier. Several corps will this day 
and to-morrow set foot on French ground. I trust that the 
discipline for which you have hitherto been distinguished, 
will DC especially maintained in the enemy's countiy. 

" We are not waging war against the peaceful inhabitants 
of the country; on the contrary it is the duty of every 
honoiir-loving soldier to protect private property, and not to 
suffer the good name of our arms to be tarnished, even by 
isolated instances of indiscipline. 

" I rely on the good spirit which animates the ai-my, but at 
the same time also on the firmness and vigilance of every 

•« (Signed) William.'* 

Retreat of the A glance at the enemy's situation will facilitate the compre- 
RpeMhbehind hension of the proceedings which have been, and are about to 
"-»'**• be. described. 

During the first days of August all offensive plans had 
been renounced at the headquarters of the Emperor Napoleon, 
and serious attention had been directed to the defence ot home 

While, however, there was still the possibility at that time of 
uniting the two separated bodies of the army on the middle 
Moselle, somewhere .ibout Nancy, this junction must after the 
defeats at Worth and Spicheren be sought further westward, or 
given up altogether. 

The first consideration was, to unite the parts of Alarshal 
Buzaine's army by a reai-ward march. For this purpose the 
lower French Moselle with its forti'csses offered the nearest 

* During llic morning llio regiment, after dkembarkiug b> squftdrous at Birkeu< 
feld, marched more than 23 miles to Lebach. 


euitable position, where five corps, inclusive ot the Guard, 
might be assembled. Cauroberfs Corps had, it is true, only 
just commenced to move bv mil from Cnalons to Nancy, and as 
to the situation of Frossard s defeated Corps nothing was known 
at this moment. Moreover the fact could not be concealed that 
the roads to Paris were open to the Crown Prince of Prussia, 
and that his presence on the upper Moselle would take in flank 
any position which might be occupied lower doAvn on the river. 

Ihese probably were the considerations which, coupled with 
the truly paralyzing influence of two simultaneous defeats, led to 
the resolve, as early as the 7th of August, of a general retreat of 
the whole army on Chalons. Preparatory orders were issued 
with this object, and were in process of execution. 

Mansdial Canrobert was instructed to cause the Gth Corps to 
remain at Chalons, and to recall those troops now moving by 
rail to Metz. The 3rd Corps brought up its Divisions which 
had been dispatched to Saargemiind and Puttelange,* and 
marched by Faulquemont across the German Nied, leaving a 
strong rearguard temporarily at St. Avoid, under the protection 
of wmch the Guard withdrew to Courcelles Chaussy and the 
4th Corps through Boulay. These last two Corps continued 
their march in the direction of Metz on the 8th, and during tiiat 
afternoon and evening the rear guard of the 3rd Coi-ps also 
withdrew by Longeville to Bionville. 

General Frossard had reached Saargeiniind on the morning 
of the 7th August,t and acting at first on his own responsibility, 
continued in uxe forenoon his retreat as fiir as Puttolange with 
tiie 2nd Corps and Laposset's brigade of the 5th Corps. On 
receiving at this place a commimication from the imperial head- 
quarters with reference to the projected movement to Chalons, 
he marched to Gross Tenquin on the 8th, in order to rejoin the 
army bv this circuitous route. 

In tne meantime the authorities in Metz had abandoned the 
resolution made on the first impression of defeat. 

Considerations of foreign, and especially of internal policy, 
made it a very serious matter to open the campaign by surren- 
dering territory half way to Paris. It is certain that there would 
have Deen no lack of orators in the National Assembly ready to 
give eloqpuent expression to their indignation with regard to the 
bad handling of the army, views which no doubt would have 
met witii cordial response in the country. Moreover, in France, 
perhaps more than in any other country, public opinion must be 
studied. This circumstance outweighed the piurely militaiy 
aspects, and thus the idea of meeting the German army east- 
ward of Metz was on6e more embraced. 

Orders to this effect were at once sent to the Guard, the 8rd 
iind 4th Corps, and on the lOtii to General Frossard. Marshal 
Canrobert was instructed to resume his transport by rail to Metz ; 

• 8m pp. 251-S68. t See p. 230. 



Il\e reserve cnvvalry, wliich had afisciublod at Nancy, received 
ordeiti to move up to Metz. 

As these measures gave a force of more than 200,000 men 
at Metz, there was really no reason at present for despairing of 
success. The Germans were apparently lingering in their 
advance, there might yet be time to bring up tne reserve army 
now forming at Chalons opportunely to the Moselle, and a thou- 
sand accidents, the consequences of which can never be esti- 
mated in war, might once more turn the fortune of war in favour 
of the French arms. Cfrt«iinly the Hupcriority in point of num- 
bera was on the whole decidedly on the side of the (Germans. 
But large masses, though able to fight on a limited space, 
require Yor their movements a considerable extent of front and 
depth. In the passage of the Moselle at widely separated points, 
mistakes might occur, which, if skilfully tuiTied to account by 
the French at one point might give the superiority on one day. 
A victory gained over a part of the German army would cause 
the remainder to halt. 

In order to attain such a succtiss, be it understood, no mere 
expectative defence would suffice; an ever watchful and 
vigorous action was demanded, to which the large fortress of 
Metz would afford a very suitable suppoit. 

But this main bulwark of the eastern frontier of France was 
HO little prepared for the war so long contemplated against Ger- 
many, that General Coffiniires, the commandant of Metz, declared 
that, if left by himself, he could not hold the place a fortnight. 
Thus for the time being the fortress had to be protected by the 
army, instead of the latter by the forti-ess. After reconnais- 
sances had been made, it waa resolved to take up a position 
west of the French Nied and to strengthen it ^vith neld works. 

It was occupied on the 10th August. The 3rd Coips, at pre- 
sent under General Decaen, whs in the centre between range and 
Courcelles Chaussy; close behind were the Guards. Tne 4th 
Corps formed a retired flank on the left between Lea Etangs and 
Glattigny ; the 2nd Coii)s on the right at Meroy le Haut. The 
latter nad pushed forward Lapasset's brigade of the 5th Corps. 

The movements hito this position gave, for the time, the 
impression of a general retreat to the Gennan reconnoitring 
detachments, with however tlie possible ulterior design of 
resummg the offensive with united forces after the concentra- 
tion had been completed. A closer insight into the new plans 
of the French Commander-in-Chief could only be gained on the 
10th August. 

th August. The Ilnd Anny was still engaged in drawing forward the 

rearward portion of Hh troops. 

[n accordanco with orders from Army headquarters, th<; 
IXth (JorpB advanced to St. Ingbert; the Xllth arrived at 
llabkirchen on the BHes; tlie Ilnd commenced to disembark at 


Neunkirohen. The IVth and the Guard Corps remained for the 
mofit part at Lorentzen and Gross Uederching ; whilst the Xth 
Army Corps at SaargcmUnd went entirely over to the left 
bank ot the Saar. The Ilird Anny Corps was merely ordered 
to take up a position at Forbach duiiug the i)th. The reports 
of the 15th Lancers about the enemy's retreat from St. Avoid, 
however, decided General v. Alvensleben to move forward as 
far as that place at once. 

The 6th Infantry Division, to which the lancer regiment in 
question was attached, occupied St. Avoid and pushed forward 
outposts towards Longeville. The remainder of tlie corps and the 
(ith Cavalry Division, which was now attached to it, occupied 
quarters on the Forbach high road and to the south of it. 

The 15th Lancers had advanced along the Metz road to 
Marange and remained close to the enemy, who again aban- 
doned ins position east of Bionville in the evening and retired 
over the German Nicd as far as the heights of Pluppecourt. 

Captain v. Cramm of the 2nd Dragoons* had found Faulque- 
mont, further to the south, unoccupied ; Lieutenant Czettritz 
of the same regiment reported that Marshal Bazaine's head- 
quai-ters were there on the 8th, and that the marshal had had a 
visit of some hours' duration of the Emperor from Metz. Thus in 
front of the right wing of the Ilnd Army there was evidence 
more or less clear of the presence of large bodies of the enemy, 
while in front of the left the touch of the adversary had been 
gradually lost. Captain v. Rochow, from the staff of the IVth 
Army Coi-ps, reconnoitred with a division of the l«)th Lancersf 
in advance of the front of the Ilird Army as far as the Strass- 
burg-Paris railway, and destroyed it to the south of Pfalzburg, 
without meeting with the enemy. Other patrols from the 5tn 
Cavalry Division brought in some stragglers from the 2nd 
French Corps from Altroff. J Recent bivouacs were found there, 
and traces of strong colmnns of infantiT, which could only have 
passed through the place on the preceaing night. 

No important change took place in the position of the Ist 
Army dm-ing the yth August. 

On the evening of the 8th a partial movement of the troops 
westward had been planned at the headquarters in Volklingen 
on receipt of intelligence of the enemy's retreat from Bouzon* 
ville and Boulay ; but the idea was given up in consequence of 
the receipt during the night of a telegram from the royal head- 
quarters at Homburg containing the lollowing order: — 

" As we have no intelligence as yet whether Boulay and 
Bouzonyille are evacuated by the enemy, the Ist Anny will 
remain in its present position on the yth." 

• Divisioiial cftTalnr of the 6th Infantrj Division. 

t Belonging to Bredow's caTRlry brigade, which had been recently assigned to 
the IVth Army Corps. 
X S.E. of Or. Tenqiiin. 


G^zxnl ▼. St^iuMiZf in now repeating his report about the 
erac-raa&ick cf li.e two riilagea.* ezpreased the opin>:« that the 
Wn wi:-^ --^^ li-e r^tre=*tb:g Lostiie arxnr wonld pn:>LablT be tyand 
as Ji'i- IT B:"_iej>:ni: he coii&eqnentlT prc»poaed sendisg 
f -rwird iLrr Hi.'i.t wir.^ of the 1st Anny in Uie din^ction of the 
Urir:? j' a-'-- '«V:tL tLls • ! j^ct Le at once orlereJ the Srd CaTahy 
L*rris.i I..- rro ni. .itr*r t^e enemy's pr^sdona, espeiJ^IlT in tLe 
c.rr»:ti-i. ■ : b- -n.^-epm az.d St. AvcH, fvr whkh porpoee a 
ta:?^!:.^ ir n th-^ ist Arcky O.-rpe was attached as sapporL 
G^:t*rki T. i- •irv^>::i dil n.t. for the present, deem it advan- 
ti^^«=r.~* to *:ii.i.- .-T IzA^ detacr.aierite «.f caTak^ in tLe wooded 
!t rxTii-trr ir. fr*nt r.f the l«t Armr. He thenrfcre re- 
ii-rr^i »:•.:. tf.t: Lirri-i -n at l>eri»:n, but angmented the nnmber 
cf ^.frern p^iiroLi oii tL*r kft bank ol the Saar. 

ft^tii tc-ese latter, as also more especially the txiasar patrrls 
cf ti:« 13th IrJantiT Lnriaon, c»nnrmed in the comae of the 


day tLe g*:t*=rAl retr>:at c-f the entriny over the German Xted ; 
i^teHigen:^ waa alsu re<x*ivt:d of the occupation of SC Aruld by 
tTC<-ym of the llnd Army. 

Tne royal h*:faii<4i:arters movel on the 9th August from Hcn^ 
burg to 2^rbrii*.4Len. where Uis Uajesty the King amred at 
hail'-past 4 o'cl'xk. 

The con-.-entrati«.'a of the main armT on the Saar being as good 
as completcrd, and the situation of the enemy b^ng also snffi- 
caently cleared np by the reports of the carafay, a general adrance 
to the Moeelie was decided upon in the evening of this day and 
the preparationa were commenced. With this object General 
T. Uokke issued genoal directioDa^ the snbetance of which haa 
been already commimicated.! prescril^izig the fines of march and 
the billettxng zones for the three German anniesL 

In accordance with these directions the road fix>m Saaibriicken 
by St. Arc Id to Xomeny formed generally the fine of demazca* 
tion between the tight wing of the lind Army and the area of 
morement of the 1st Army to the north of it. The secnritj 
of the mar?h and the timely nnion of the armies^ if necessary, 
to be mainly effected by a jntiiciona employment of cavalry 

and by wid-rly tiirown oat advanced guarda. For reasons nr^> 
victisiy set f- rth the ri Jit wiiig La- I to make dir»rter marcni-s^ 
wLi'.L tL-r»-t -ri; iirrlitr^i pioticularly to the 1st Army. It 
was further detirrTur:e*l that bjth pardea tf the right wing were 
to rcst on tLe It/th. or at any rate oiJy pUce their troops on the 
roa-is ailt^rttrd to them. 

The area for requiidtions was so marked out in correspondence 
with the lii^eis of march, that a znne 7 niiies broad at the side 
of th'sr miiiii roads was appointed for this purpose to the troopa 
n^ATchin^ al'-ng them. 

TLe IlLj Ani^y furtL*. r received or lors to form a large mag 

• T^e c«*u!«;r&m tent br him We oa the evcc:: < oT tie Sti hml aC^u*«i*iT ajt 
t 2n» p. 2b-:. 



General v. Steinmetz, in now repeating his report about the 
evacuation of the two villages,^ expressed the opinion that the 
left wing of the retreating hostile army would probably be found 
at St. Avoid or Boucheporn : he consequently proposed sending 
forward the right wing of the Ist Army in the direction of the 
latter place. With tliis object he at once ordered the 3rd Cavalry 
Division to reconnoitre the enemy's positions, especially in the 
direction of Boucheporn and St. Avoid, for which purpose a 
battalion from the Jst Army Corps was attached as support. 
General v. d. Groben did not, for the present, deem it advan- 
tageous to employ large detachments of cavalry in the wooded 
and hilly country in liont of the Ist Army. He therefore re- 
mained with the Divinion at Derlen, but augmented the number 
of offcers^ patrols on the left bank oi the Saar. 

^th these latter, as also more especially the hussar patrols 
of the 13th Infantiy Division, confirmed in the course of the 
day the general retreat of the enemy over the German Nied ; 
intelligence was also received of the occupation of St. Avoid by 
troops of the Ilnd Army. 

Tne royal headuuartera moved on the 9th August fi'om Hom- 
burg to Saarbriicken, where His Majesty the King arrived at 
half-past 4 o'clock. 

The concentration of the main army on the Saar being as good 
as completed, and the situation of tne enemy being also suffi- 
ciently cleared up by the reports of the cavalry, a general advance 
to the Moselle was decidea upon in the evening of this day and 
the preparations were commenced. With this object General 
V. Moltke issued general directions, the substance of which has 
been already communicated^t prescribing the lines of march and 
the billetting zones for the three German armies. 

In accordance with these directions, the road from Saarbriicken 
by St. Avoid to Nom^ny formed generally the line of demarca- 
tion between the right wing of the llnd Army and the area of 
movement of the Ist Army to the north of it. The security 
of the march and the timely union of the armies, if necessary, 
was to be mainly effected by a judicious employment of cavalry 
and by widely thrown out advanced guards. For reasons pre- 
viously set foiih the right wing had to make sliorter marcnes, 
which therefore applied more particularly to the Ist Army. It 
was further determmed that both parties of the right wing were 
to rest on the 10th, or at any rate only place their troops on the 
roads allotted to them. 

The area for requisitions was so marked out in correspondence 
with the lines of march, that a zone 7 miles broad at the side 
of the main roads was appointed for this purpose to the troops 
marching along them. 

The Ilnd Araiy further received orders to form a large maga- 

* The telegram sent hj liim late on the rrcniug of llie 8tb had obTioutlj not 
readied llomburg when the foregoing order woi isAued. 
t See p. 26:i. 






zine at Saanmion for the Ilird Armj. The feeding of this armj 
was attended with special difficulty, as at this time there was 
no railway communication to the rear which could be placed 
at its disposaL The IVth Army Corps was entrusted with the 
execution of the order. 

Thi Adtance op tub 1st and IInd Akmies to the French Nied 

AND Moselle. 

On receipt of the general directions just alluded to, General 10th Angut 
V. Steinmetz resolved to spend the 10th* in moving the Ist 
Army to the roads which had been allotted to it. 

1 he army was completelv united, as the Ist Army Corps and 
the 1st Cavalry Division had brought up their last detachments 
to Piittlingen and St. Joliann on the 9tn. 

In pursuance of ordcra from army headquarters, tlie Vllth 
Corps moved to Carlin^ and I'llopital on the 10th, and the Ist 
to Creutzwald. The advanced guards which were pushed for- 
ward as far as Porcelette and Guerting, occupied the country 
between Boucheporn and Ilargarteu with vanguards. In second 
line came the Vlllth Army Corps at Lauterbach, and the two 
Cavalry Divisions at Ludweiler and Ueberherrn. Army head- 
quarters were transferred to Lauterbach. 

Many difficulties had to be overcome in marching to this 
position, such as are too prone to arise when large bodies of ^ 
troops, after being concentrated for battle, have to diverge 
agam for their suosequent movements. The distances to be 
traversed had been in themselves but moderate, yet the cross- 
ings with the Ilird Corps in Forbach and delays on the road 
from Volklingen by Lauterbach to Carling, which had to be 
used in common by the greater part of the 1st Army, made the 
day a very arduous one. During the night the troops bivouacked 
in the pouring rain, on the clayey ground and without straw. 
The trains wliich had been left behind on the Saarbriicken- 
Forbach road could only be brought up on the following day, 
and this was a matter of ^reat difficulty. 

As the Cavalry Divisions of the Ist Army were not in firet 
line, the immediate contact with the enemy on this side had 
almost entirely ceased. It was only from the advanced guard 
of the Vlltb Army Coi-ps that a report was received in the 
afternoon from Captain v. Schiitz, 8th Hussars, to the effect 
that hostile Corps were to the west of Fouligny.f 

On the right wing of the IInd Army, the Ilird Corps 
remained in its advanced nosition near St. Avoid, while the 
IXth moved forward beyontt Saarbriicken. 

In the centre, the Ath Corps moved from Saargemiind to 
Puttelange ; behind it the Xllth closed up to its front at 

* For the 10th and 11th August tee the opposite sketch. 

t On the Oennan Nied where it i« eroFPed bv the rotul from ^{. Ato]<1 to Metz. 


Ilabkircheii. On the li'ft wing, the (iiiard and the IVth Anny 
Corps reached the Saar at Saaralbe and Saaioinion. 

Tlie cavahy cuntinued in observation well lu advance of the 
front of the four leading Corps. On the left flank of the IVth 
Ai-my Corps, Bredow's brigade moved to Eschwiller,* its patrols, 
as on the preceding days, pushing forward as far as Pfalzburg 
and Sarrebourg without encountering any hostile detachments. 

The trooj)8 of the 5th Cavalry Division, which were attached 
to the Xtli Army Cor|)s, had hastened on westward more than 
a day's march ahead. On the left, Redem's brigade reached 
Landroif;t on the right, Barl)y's brigaile annved at Faulqtiemont. 
Their line of outposts stretched from Baronville, on the road 
from Saargtmnind t(j Nancy, ahnost as far as Raville, on the 
road from St. Avohl to Metz. On the latter were still the 15th 
Lancers, at close quai-ters with the enemy. By order from 
the headquarters of the iind Army, the Ilird Army Corps 
brought up tlie other regiments of the 6th Cavahy Di\n8ion as 
far as the district between St. Avoid and Faulqnemont during 
the course of the day. 

In front of this whole line of observation numerous patrols 
and light detachments pushed their reconnaissances still fuilher 
westward. They found many opportunities of making prisoners 
and bringing in valuable intelligence with regard to the French 

Lieutenant v. Podbielski, from the staff of the Xth Coi-ps, had 
ridden upwards of 1) miles beyond Falquemont in company 
with a division of the 13th Lancei's, commanded by Lieutenant 
v. Treskow. After capturing several men from a hostile infantry 

Eatrol, the Prussian horaemen pushed foi'ward into the wood 
etween Berlize and Domangeville, and there, in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the enemy, watched his proceedings. Large 
camps were visible at Pange, Mont, and Puche, Strong columns 
were marching from Metz to Coiu'celles Cliaussy. Considerable 
bodies of infantiy were in position to the west of the French 
Nied, and had pushed forward a battahou on the railway to 
Sanry. Intelligence was also received that considerable rein- 
forcements had reached Metz from Nancy. 

These discoveries agreed with the repoit from Colonel v. 
Alvensleben, conmianding the 15th Lancers, that, according to 
the observations of Inn patrols, tlie French, presumably the 3rd 
Corps, had stopped their rearward movement at Plappecourt and 
Pont k Cliaussy on the French Nied. 

From the left wing of Redern s brigade. Lieutenant v. Hiiiich- 
feld, 10th Hussars, made a reconnaissance beyond Ch&teau Salins 
without finding any trace of the enemy. The contents of a 
French field post which he captured yielded, however, impoi'tant 
disclosures as to the internal state of the enemy's amiy, 
11th August. The Ist Army remained in the i)osition taken up on the lOth. 

^ b} miles S. of Saarunion. 
t 6i miles W. of Or. Tenquin. 


Captain v. Hymmen, 5tli Lancers,* reconnoitred in advance of 
the front as far as the vicmity of Cond6 Northeii, at the con- 
fluence of the German and French Nied. 

Of the Ilnd Army, which was continuing its advance south- 
westward,! the four leading Corps reached the line Faulquemont- 
Ilarskirchen ; the two in second line followed beyond Forbach 
and Saargemttnd. Barby's and Redern's cavahy brigades were 
in advance of the right vnng between Remilly and Delme; 
their scouts searched the country in front, from Pange west- 
ward as far as Nom^ny on the Seille, southward as far as 
Cli&teau Salins. It was joined in the latter direction by Bredow's 
cavalry brigade, which had advanced as far as Fenestrange 
and was watching the country from Marsal to SaiTebourg. 

The 6th Cavalry Division} and the brigade of dragoons of 
the Guard were posted at Tliicourt and Bermering between the 
advanced line of cavalry and the fom' leading army coips.§ 
The head-auarters of the Ilnd Army moved to Puttelange. 

As the 1st Army halted, and the Ilnd continued its half-left 
movement with the right wing, a gap about 9 miles in width was 
left in the first line between Carling and Falquemont. It was 
temporarily filled by the Bodyguard Grenadiers, which had 
remained at St. Avoid as escort to the royal head-quarters. 

The latter had received, during the forenoon of the llth 
August, the reports on the observations made on the previous 
day by the cavalry. 

As these pointed to fresh enterprises on the part of the 
enemy, and every moment might necessitate concerted counter- 
measures. His Majesty the Kins; had resolved to move that day 
up into the first hue at St. Avoid. He arrived there at 4 p.m. 

In the course of the day both army headquarters reported 
their views and intentions for the 12th August. General v. 
Stiehle wrote : — 

The result of yesterdav's reconnaissances leads to the im- 
pression that the enemy has suspended his retreat and again 
advanced from Metz in no inconsiderable force, with the inten- 
tion probably of taking the offensive, but in any case of 
maintaining the strong position west of the French Nied. 

In this event it appears desirable that he should be merely 
held fast in front, wlule the decisive blow is delivered against 

* Belonging to fche Srd GaTalrj DiriBion. 

t The orders to this eifect were issued before the reoeipt of the reports upon the 
ohserrations of the csraln^ on the 10th August. 

X This Diyision found the place assigned to it, on the right wing of the 6th Cavalrj 
Division, occupied this daj bj the latter. 

§ See sketch opposite p. 283. The positions occupied bj the troops were as 
follows : — IVth Corps, Harslcirchen, W. of Saarunion ; Advanced guard, Miinster — 
Quard Corps, Gueblange and Insming ; Brigade of Dragoons of the Guard, pushed 
forward to Bermering—Xth Corps, Uellimer ; Advanced guard, Qtt. Teuquin and 
Landroff — Ilird Coips, Faulquemont^IXth Corps, Forbar>h; Advanced guard, 
Bening — Xllth Corps, at Saargemdnd on the left bank — 6th Cavalrv Division. Thi- 
oourt— of the Yth, Barbj's brisade at Remillj, Han sur Nied, Batiroont ; Redern's 
brigade, Lucj, Delme, Laneuville ; Bredow's brigade, Fenestrange, liirschland. 



his right flank. Ab in the nature of things this more defensive 
role devolves upon the Ist Army, tlie comniander-in-cliief of 
the Ilnd Army purposes, us a ]^reHminary to the flank attack, 
a Avheeling movement to the right, for which the Illrd Army 
Corps standing fast at Fahpiemont is to form the pivot. The 
movements to be extnuted for this pm-jjose are ordered for the 
1 2th August, M'itliout, however, for the present, deviating more 
than necessary fn»m the main direction towards tlie Moselle. 

(u'uend v. Steinnitt/ eont<Miiplated leading forward the Int 
Army towards t)ie (ierman Nied, and in doing so to extend its 
front; the; tw^o Oavahy Divisions on the outer flanks were to 
incline inwards and push forward advanced guards in the 
direction of iletz. 

On receipt of these reports, the commander-in-chief of the I«t 
Army was instructed to send the Cavalry Divisions at once in 
uilcauve o/'the general front, with a view of clearing up the still 
incomph'te inlelligence from that quarter, as suggested in pre- 
vious instruct io])s. In other respects the royal headcjuarters 
were qiute agreed upon the views and measures submitted bv 
the two commanders-in-chief. As, however, the present 
military situation appeared to demand a closer concentration, 
the more general dnections hitherto issued no longer sufficed 
for the army connuanders. Circumstances might arise when it 
would be necessary for the supreme comman<ier-in-chief to be 
able to dispose of individual coq)s without further reference, so 
as to ensure tlie ci>-operation of all the forces. 

To this end the following order, adtlressed to the com- 
manders-in-chief of the 1st and Ilnd Armies, was isisued from 
St, Avoid at 7 p.m. : — 

"It is not improbable that there is a consider d le hostile 
torce in front of Metz, on the left bank of the French Nied. 
A closer concentration of the 1st and Ilnd Army is therefore 
necessary. His ilajesty the King orders as follows : — 

'*Tlie IlTrd Army Coi-ps at Falquemont will form the 
'point irajqmi for this concentration. 

*' The 1st Army will move two C\)rps early to-morrow into 
the line Boulay-Marange, and one to Boucheporn. 

** 'J'he Ilnd Ami}' will push forward the IXtli Army* Cori>s 
to Longeville west of St. Avoid; the Ilnd Anny Corps will, 
iu so far as it may lu^ available, close up to the latter place. 
'J'lie Xth ('orps will follow after th(J Illrd. 

"The (luard, IVth, and Xllth (Jorps, are to be brought 
forward towards the left wing t)f the indicated position, that 
they may either (Hose uj) to it or continue theii* march in the 
direction (»f Nancy, as occa.sion may demand. 

** (Signed) V. MoLTKE." 

* Tin's C^orp.i hiul ronnnoiu'tHl itrf (lirciiibnrLation ut Neuukirclion oil lliu 9tb. 
*^tf< uiultT l)th August. 


The Ilird and IX th Army Corps were immediately informed 
of the orders affecting them. 

It may be remarked beforehand, that his Majesty the King 
followed the further advance to the Moselle in the centre of his 
forces along the Faulquemont-Herny road, which formed the 
line of demarcation between the two armies, and where in 
consequence a direct interference in either direction would be 
soonest felt and be most quickly effective. 

The arrangements made by the headauarters of the Ilnd 
Army for the 12tli August almost entirely agreed M-ith the 
intentions of the higher authorities. The only pomt of difference 
lay in the du'ection assigned to the Xth Corps. In answer to a 
query from the commander-in-chief, the royal headquarters 
confirmed his dispositions, in accordance with which the Xth 
Corps, instead of following in rear, was to move to Landroff 
immediately on the left of the Ilird Corps. There were still 
five army corps* on the 11^ miles of front from Boulay to Faul- 
quemont prepared to afford one another mutual support. But 
within a day, if necessanr, nine army corps could be united for 
a common effort, either for the attack of the French positions 
on the Nied or for a resistance to the enemy's advance. 

The positions which were taken up in accordance with these ^^^^ August, 
orders by the two Geiman armies during the course of the 12th 
August are shown on the sketch facing page 288. 

Behind a front of not more than some 18 miles occupied by 
five army corpst between Boulay and Morhange, came a second 
line of four more} between Bouchepom and Munster. This latter 
was well closed up behind the rigid wing, upon which all decisive 
measures seemed to hinge for the present ; the IVth Army Corps, 
which was further to the rear behmd the left wing, was in com- 
munication with the Ilird Army. The course of the Qerman Nied 
indicated generally the line of the advanced guards and outposts 
of the corps on the leading right wing. Of the two army head- 
quarters, tne 1st went to Boucnepom, the Ilnd to Gross Tenquin. 

In advance of the entire front the cavalry formed a inick 
veil, extending generally along the west side of the Nied below 
the jimction, ana then along the German Nied ; in the course of 
the day it was pushed forward far beyond the line of the river. 
The two Cavalry Divisions of the 1st Army had advanced from 
both flanks during the uight, and had reached Bettange and 
Raville early on the morning of the 12th August. They then 
threw out advanced ^lards, the 3rd from Bettange to Gondre^ 
ville, the 1 st from Raville to Pont-M]lhaussy . On the upper course 
of the French Nied the 6th Cavalry Division made a reconnais- 
sance by Pange towards Metz. On its left were BarW's and 
Redem's brigades at Remilly and Raucourt, then the brigade 
of dragoons of the Guard at Oron, and lastly on the extreme 

• Ih« Iflt, TUlh, Vnith, Illid, ud IXth Oom. 
t n» tit; yni^ nird, xth, and Gmurd Cbrpi. 
t Th& yillth, IXth, Xllth, and IVth Coipt. 



left flank, forming a crochet, wiis Bredow's cavalry brigade to 
the uoi*th-ea8t of Dieuze. 

Almost all the corps of both armies had up to this date only 
the first line of ti'ains with them, the second was to join them 
in a few days. No thought could be given to bringing up the 
waggon parks from home by i*ail until tlie transport of troops 
was completed. 

TIu) Ktuppcui IiiH|)(iC!li<)iiK foll()W(!d tlio corps at a dayV march 
in roar, and as a rule movuil into (he po^itiun just quitted by 
the headquartorn. The field telegraph performed important 
services by maintaining the ccumnuuication each day between 
the cliief bureaux, more j)ar(ieuhirly between the headquarters 
of armies and the royal lieadquarters. 

As has been already mentioned, the different corps had been 
assigned separate districts for requisitions by the royal head- 
quarters. 1 he advancing armies evidently could only be sui>- 
pHed with a minor part of their necessaries of life from theii 
own resonrci'S ; the eninuy's country must make ujj the defi- 
ciencies. The reiiuisitions ordered for this purpose were executed 
in a regular manner under military superintendence. If^ at first, 
they did not on all occasions secure the results expected fi'om 
them, it was chiefly due to the circumstances that on the one hand 
the necessary skill in this branch of militaiy duty can only be 
attained by long practice, and on the other that the regardless 
seizure of what is recpiired, wherever it is found, is opposed to that 
respect for the property of others which is innate m most men. 

The larger the masses of the advancing troops, the smaller 
the front on which they niarc!h, and the fewer the number of 
separate through roads — the greater arc the difficulties, naturally, 
in feeding the troojjs. 

Thus there (tonld not fail to be instances, even in tlie advance 
of the ist and Ilnd Armies upon Metz, where eneroachmcnts of 
one body of troops on the requisition district of another occurred, 
besides other causes of fri(ttion. The situation of the armies 
had beirome exeeedinglj'^ diflicidt for many reasons. The roads 
were sodden fiom continuous rain, and it was perfectly impos- 
sible to move alongside them. The quartering of men and 
hoi*ses was thereby rendered so difficult that repeated bivouack- 
ing became xuiavoidable. llarching in hilly country was quite 
unsuited to men born in the plains; at one time the troops 
had to eopci with great heat, at another with continuous wet 
weather. AH this had sueh an injurious effect upon the health 
of the troops that in one Division, for instance, which had never 
been under tire, there were 682 men in hospital. 

Every posnible arrangement had been made to prevent irre- 
j^'ularities. Instrne.tions had been given that the trains should 
not iollow th<'. troops until noon of the day on whicli they had 
marched, that they were under all eireunistances to make way for 
the men and never halt on the roads ; that all carnages in excess 
of thi' re,i!;ulation number were to be sent away without any excep- 
tion. This order was very rigidly executed. The Feldgensd- 


armerie, who were intrusted with this dut j, did not always suf&ce, 
as they were employed occasionally in duties beyond their proper 

Sphere. Consequently very decisive interference was frequently 
etnanded on the part of the higher authorities to repress irregu- 
larities which had come under observation. These proceedings 
could not be permitted, for disorder, unless nipped ui the bud, 
spreads like an infectious disease. 

Such difficulties, it is plain, can be more easily overcome among 
the troops in front of the enemy than in the roar of the army. 
Here the sometimes endless mob of undisciplined ))ark waggoners 
makes the task appear almost hopeless. Elements, which form 
no part of the army, may have often committed excesses which 
have been unjustly ascribed to the troops. 

In the course of the 12th August fresh reports came in from 
the cavalry, the tenor of which was surprising, in so far that it 
was evident that the adversary must have again changed his plans. 

Whilst on the XOth August there had been evident signs of a 
decisive stand behind the French Nied and of an advance of the 
troops by Metz, since the 11th rearward movements of the French 
towards the fortress had been observed along the entire front of 
the 1st Army and of the Ilird Army Corps. The lancer detach* 
ment, under Captain v. Hymmen,* sent forward from the 3rd 
Cavalry Division, had remarked as early as 5 o'clock that a hostile 
force of some 40,000 men encamped at Les Etangsf had struck 
their tents. West of the French Nied, the roads leadiing from St. 
Avoid and Boulay to Metz were covered with deep columns of all 
arms, which were marching awav in the direction of the fortress. 
Captain V. Hymmen followed by way of Les Etangs, and at 
11.30 a.m. saw the enemy's rearguard halt at Bellecroix, where the 
two roads meet. Other repoi^ts were received to the same effect. 

In one of the field hospitals left by the enemy at Courcelles 
Chau8efy4 sick belonging to the French 2nd, 4th, and Guard 
Con)s were foimd. Captain Brix, of the 15th Lancers, reported 
earfy on the 11th August the retreat of the enemy from the camps 
at Mont and Sillv;§ he had followed as far as Puohe. The 
stragglers whom he captured belonged chiefly to the 3rd, some 
also to the Guard and 4th Corps ; meir statements were to the 
effect that these corps, after many marches and countermarches, 
were now being led^back to Metz. The villages on the road, 
especially Pont-&-Chaussy, were arranged for defence, but were 
no longer occupied. The patrols from Barby's brigade, which 
had been pushed forward further on the left by Pange, also found 
that the camp previously observed at Puche was now abandoned. 
In front of the left wing of the Ilnd Army, Lieutenants v. 
Hirschfeld and v. Werder, of the lOth Hussars, reconnoitred 

* See under llfch August. 

t Watt of the French Nied, on the Boulay-Mctz road. 

X Saat of Font-I^Chau88j ; it must not be confounded with the Courcelles sur 
Nied on the nulwaj, of which mention htm already been made. 
§ South and north of the road from St. AtoIq to Mets. 


beyond Moyenvic, even as far as Nancy, which was found un- 
occupied. Such were the obserrations of the 11th August, 
whicli received confirmation next day. 

On the extreme right wing, a patrol of the 8th Cuirassiers, 
under Lieutenant v. Voigts-Rhetz, from the 8rd Cavalry Divi- 
sion, had taken the direction of Thionville. At Stockange, 
scarcely four miles from that place, he met with French dragoons 
foraging, took from them some horses and several waggons con- 
t<iining outs, and learnt, on continuing his ride to the open 
gates of the foi*tress, that it was almost exclusivelv garrisoned 
by gardes mobiles.* Generally speaking the wtole of this 
northern district between the Nied and Moselle appeared to be 
entirely denuded of French troops. 

Captain v. Hymmen, whose pati-ols had remained even during 
the night in uninteiTupted contact with the foe, rode forward with 
40 hoi-semen as far as Bellecroix on the morning of the 12th, and 
there captured a French convoy of oats. Some 600 paces further 
westward came in view the badly guarded camp of a hostile 
Division ; other camps extended apparently up to the walls of 
Metz. The village of Valliferes was occupied by the enemy. 

From the advanced guard of the 8rd Cavalry Division, pushed 
forward to Condreialle, Colonel v. Liideiitz, with three divisions 
of the 14th Lancers, moved in the afternoon by St. Barbe as far 
as Poix, wliere they were fired upon by the enemy. From this 

Joint also considerable hostile camps were observed in the 
irection of Metz. 

The 1st Cavalry Division sent forward patrols from Pont-i- 
Chaussy as far as the Puche heights ; cavaliy outposts were here 
met with, and it was also observed that there were infantry 
encampments on both sides of the great roads to Metz. 

The patrols of the 15th Lancers also met with strong hostile 
detachments to the west of Puche. 

A reconnaissance on a large scale had l)een carried out, as 
already mentioned, by the (>th Cavalry Division. At 8 a.m.. 
Ranches brigade "with the horse artillerj- battery moved forward 
from AiTiance towards Pange. It was followed by GrOter's 
brigade, whicli remained in support on the Nied and kept up the 
connexion on the left bank with the 5th Cavaliy Division. 
Elauch's brigade found Paiigo unoccupied, but on proceeding 
further perceived a hostile camp to the west of Ars Laque- 
nexyt and Coincy. At Laquenexy they had already been met 
with a vigorous musketry nre. Alter the horse artillery battery 
had thrown a few shells into the village, it was evacuated by the 
enemy. Cwptain v. Crimm followed with a squadron of the 8rd 
(Zieteii) Ilussara as far as Ars Laquenexy, but was there opposed 

* A garde mobile belonging to the garrison was taken prisoner and a Prussian 
reserye man set free, who had been detained in the fortress. 

t The tliree rillftges, Villers Laquenexy, Laquenexy, and Ars Laquenexy are 
distinct villages ; the latter is the more important of the three. 


t)y very large bodies of infantry, which forced him back beyond 

The other parts of the brigade had meanwhile takon a more 
northerly direction. The 16th Hussars remarked dm*ing their 
advance by Marsilly and Coincy extensive infantry encampments 
at Gri^' and Bomy. Still further on the rigbtvCaptain Krell, 
with his squadron of the 3rd Hussars, scoin*ed the country by 
way of Ogy towards Noisseville, at which place liis men were 
received with fire. Bending away towards St. Barbe, Lieu- 
tenant V. Byerii descried camps of all amis between Sorvigny 
and Metz. On the left flank of the brigade, Captain v. Buggen- 
hagen, 3rd Hussars,* at Courcelles-sur-Nied, and Count Harden- 
berg, 3rd Lancers, at Orny, encountered hostile detachments of 
cavalry, which rapidly moved off on the approach of the Prussian 

The two brigades of the 5th Cavalry Division, attached to 
the Xth Army Corps, were carrying on the duties to the south 
of the Metz-Saarbriicken railway. 

Here Captains v. Vaerst of the 1 1th Hussars and v. Rosenberg 
of the 13th Lancers, duriiig their advance by Chesny to Jury, 
came across a squadron of French chasseurs, which they pursued 
towards Peltre. The village was occupied, and there was a 
hostile camp visible to the north of it. When a dismounted 
division of mtssars advanced in skirmishing order towards the 
village, the camp was alarmed and a batterv brought into action. 

Further on the left, three squadrons of the Brunswick Hussars 
advanced from Luppy, by Fleury and Magny-sur-Soille,t towards 
Aletz. They arrived within 2^ miles of the fortress -without 
coming across any hostile troops, and observed extensive camps 
to the south and east of the place. 

The district in front of the left wing of the Ilnd Army as far 
as the Moselle was found entirely fi'ee of the enemy. 

By order of General v. Voigts-Rhetz, commanaing the Xth 
Corps, numerous enterprises were here undertaken for destroy- 
ing the railway on the left bank of the Moselle. 

As early as the night of the llth-12th. Captain v. Kotze, 
10th Hussars, with part of his squadron and a pioneer section 
under 1st Lieutenant Neumeister, left Aulnois-sur-Seille^ for this 
purpose. After they had crossed to the left bank of the Moselle 
at Dieulouard by means of a bridge thrown recently by the 
French, and were commencing to destroy the load railway station, 
some French infantry arrived by rail from Nancy and prevented 
them from continuing their work. The oflRceiV patrols sent out 
by Captain v. Kotze on the following morning to Dieulouard 
and Pont-i-Mousson discovered that the latter place was unoccu- 

* These were the detachments which had been despatched from Gruter's brigade 
to ^9ep np oommanications with the 5th Cavalrj Diyision. 

t South of Mets and close to the point where the railway from Saarbrttckcn 
crosses the Seille. 

t 4>| miles E. of Nomeny. 


pied, but that the railway on the left bank of the MoBelle had 
been restored and that coiifiiderable traffic had taken place. 

Later in the day, Captain v. Thanvenay, from the staff of the 
Xth Army Corps, also reachi^d Pont-i-Mousson with 20 sabres 
from each of the Bnins^vick Iliissar and Oldenburg Dragoon 
regiments. In riding through the town this detachment was 
fired upon apparently by stragglers, who, however, rapidly dis- 
appeared. The dragoons dismounted and commenced to destroy 
the railway on tlie left bank of the Moselle and the telegraph 
wires, whilst thn hussara alighted at a farm on the right bank. 
In this state both were suipnsed and dispersed by the Chasseurs 
d'Afi-ique of Margueritte's brigade.* Several hussars were killed 
in a hand-to-hand mel6e, the remainder, including 2 Officers, 
were taken prisoners. 

Witli those dragoons who had succeeded in mounting. 
Lieutenant v. Toll attempted to swim the swollen waters of the 
Moselle, in which many were drowned. The remainder of this 
band of German hoi-se found protection at Raucourt,t where 
two squadrons of Redern's brigade had arrived in the course of 
the day, and where they were joined towards evening by the 
whole brigade. 

Besides these enterprises in the direction of Dieulouard and 
Pont-&-Mou8Son, another had been made sgiinst the important 
railway junction at Frouard. Captain Brauns with a squadron 
of the Brunswick Hussars had ridden there by way of ]^Iarbache; 
the Divisional Staff Officer, Captain v. Heister had joined him. 
But also at Frouard, the completion of the work of destruction 
was prevented by hostile infantry which arrived at the station. 

On the extreme left wing, (japtain v. Kleist, 10th Hussars, 
continued his incursions southward. In the afternoon of the 
12th August, he reached Nancy and entered the populous town, 
now deserted by the enemy's troops. 

During these enterprises towards the Moselle, single horae- 
men had been more than once fired upon from the houses. This 
defiant participation of civilians in nostilities, and at a time 
when as yet there could not be any question of acts of oppression 
or violence on the part of the Germans, must infaliibiy entail 
the worst consequences for the population. At present, how- 
ever, we abstained from ordering repressive measures. 

From the extensive reconnaissances made on the 12th 
Aug^ist, the German Headquarters Staff were perfectly informed 
at all points as to the situation of the foe. But this bold action 
on the part of unsupported horsemen was naturally inadequate 
to ensure the permanent destruction of the Moselle railway, along 
which part of Canrobert's Corps was being transported from 
Chalons to Metz on this very aay. It was, however, gathered 
from tlie whole of the observations made along the entire front 
of the German Army, that the French had again abandoned the 

* Itt Brinde of du Barail*s Betarve Cayalry Division. Set p. 21 of Appendix, 
t N. of Nomenj. 


positions west of the Nied, which they had only recently taken 
up and indeed partly entrenched, but that they were still in 
considerable force to the east of Metz; that on the other hand 
the country above the fortress as far as the Moselle was entirely 
free, and that even the main points of passage over the river 
were unoccupied. 

Consequently it appeared imperative for the Ilnd Army to 
throw forward its vanguards at once, in order to secure the 
important line of the Moselle before the reconnaissances of the 
Oerman cavalry should induce the enemy to reoccupy that 

With this object the 19th Division of the Xth Armv Corps 
was ordered to resume its march on the afternoon of the 12th 
August as far as Delme» where it bivouacked at midnight. 

The reports received at St. Avoid fi*om both commanders* 
in-chief during the afternoon, led the royal headquarters to the 
determination to take immediate advantage of the favourable 
conditions arising from the existing state of affairs. 

At 4.30 p.m. the following order was therefore issued to the 
three armies : — 

'^ So far as our intelligence enables us to Judge, the 
enemy's main forces are in the act of retiring througn Metz 
over the Moselle. 

'' His Majesty commands : 

" The 1st Army to advance to-morrow, the 18th, towards the 
French Nied : main body on the line les Etangp-Pange and 
hold th0 railtvay station at Courcelles ; cavalry to reconnoitre 
in the direction of Metz and cross the Moselle below it. The 
1st Army will thus cover the right flank of the Ilnd. 

** The latter to march on the line Bnchy-Chateau Salins, 
push its outposts to the 8eille and endeavour if possible to 
secure the passages of the river Moselle at Pont-ii-Mousson» 
Dieulouard, Marbache, &c. Cavalry to reconnoitre beyond 
the Moselle. 

** The Ilird Army to continue its advance towards the line 

"(Signed) v. Molt^b." 

As these orders caused the 1st Army to move straight upon 
Metz, General v. Steinmetz had to be prepared for an attack 
by, in all probability, superior forces of the enemy, who was only 
9 miles in front of him. Should this, however, take place, the 
Nied forms a suitable line of defence, and even were the 1st 
Army compelled to give way, the pursuit on the part of the 
enemy must be at once brought to a standstill by the mere 
fronting of the Ilnd Army. 

On the other hand the position of the 1st Army on the Nied 
secured the neighbouring Army, advancing in .considerable 
breadth to the passages of the Moselle, against all enterprises 
on the part of the French on the right bank of the river, for the 


lat Army could inimecliately aHHiirao the offensive in the event 
of the foe venturing to move along its front to the southward. 
Should the French, however, retire through Metz, and 
advance up Htroam along the further l/ank to meet the llnd 
Anny, this army could if ncc(;8sary ildl biick on the Crown 
Princc'H Army, whilst the Lst Army in that case, lea'\ang troops 
to observe Metz would be able to cross the Moselle immediately 
above the fortress, and take the enemy in rear. 

Under these circumstances every movement on the part of 
the enemy must be closely and narrowly watched, 
l8tliAugust.<* The left wing of the Ilnd Army was approaching the 
Moselle by forced marches. The IVth Army Corps reached the 
neighbourhood of Chateau Salhis. As the intentions of the 
royal heathpiartei-s opened a wider field for the cavalry west of 
the Moselle, iJredow's brigadcf was ordered to rejoin its Divi- 
sion, which it did at Jallaucourt. 

The Guard Coii)s moved to Oron and Leraoncourt, whilst 
the brigade of dragoons of the Guard with a horse artillery 
battery Avas pushed forward towards Dieulouard in order to 
secure the passage of the river at that point. 

After a ride of 28 miles, Captain Prince of Ilohenzollem with 
the 4th squadron 1st Dragoons of the Guard crossed the Moselle 
and took part of his men still further west beyond Dieulouai'd. 
While the retnaindcr of tlui squadron was (engaged in destroying 
the railway station, fcnn* trains containing hostile infantry 
steamed up in succession from the direction of Frouard. The 
enemy only opened a slight fire upon the dragoons and quickly 
returned to Frouard. The battery of horse artillerj', wliich had 
meanwhile come up, sent a few shells after them. 

Further down the Moselle, Redern's and Darby's cavalry 
brigades had during the morning already appeared before Pont- 
4-Mous8on. As detached parties of the enemy's infantiy were 
found to be occupying the town and the vineyards lying to the 
east of it, a squadron of the Brunswick Hussars was dismounted 
and, skirmishing with the enemy, drove them out of the town 
and its neighboiu'hood. Another squadron proceeded to the 
railway station, whence, only shortly before, at 9 a.m., a 
hostile battalion had left fen* Metz. During the afternoon the 
19th Division of the Xth Ai-my Corps anived at Pont-k- 
Mousson, after having, as we are aware, bivouacked the pre- 
vious night at Delme. It occupied the town and puslied for- 
ward detachments towards Metz along both banks of the 
Moselle, and furthermore two battalions of the 57th to Dieu- 
louard. The latter anived there during the evening. 

Redern's brigade, which had already taken up the outpost 
duties on both banks, sent forward the Brunswick Hussars daring 

* See oppoBJto sketch ; for the 1st Armj tee aho tLe plan of the battle of 
Colombey-N ouilly. 

t Hitherto attached to the IVth Amiy Corps. 





the afternoon to Regni^ville en Have in the direction of Thiau- 
court. The patrols from the regiment had frequent encounters 
Mrith the French chasseurs h clieval. Darby's cavalry brigade 
bivouacked on the right bank of the Moselle to the east of Pont- 
k^Mousson ; the 20th Division of the Xth Anny Corps reached 
Delme and Aulnoift-sur-Seille. 

The 6th Cavalry Division in front of the right wing of the 
Ilnd Army had been relieved in its position at Pange on the 
Mied early in the morning by the two dragoon regiments be- 
longing to the Ilird Army Corps. This Division had received 
orders to occupy the district between the Nied and Moselle from 
Sorbey to Corny and thereby screen the advance of the right 
wing of the Army against observation from Metz. The 16th 
Hussars, who were protecting the right flank of the Division in 
its necessary flank movement to the left, met on the high 
road to Nancy, a hostile squadron of dragoons which weis 
foraging at Fleury. The latter made a hasty retreat to Magny, 
which place, as well as the village of Marly above it, was 
strongly occupied by the enemy ; a French camp was visible 
upon the heignts on the west bank of the Seille. 

Ranch's brigade now took up a position from Courcelles \>y 
Pouilly to Corny, therefore somewhat in advance of the indicated 
line. The left wing was formed by the l(»th Hussnrs, who 
patrolled as far as the loft bank of tlio Moselle ; the .'h-d Hussara 
were on the right wing. Next to the latter were the two 
dragoon regiments of the Ilird Anny Corps. Further recon- 
naissances snowed that Augny was unoccupied, but that beliind 
the villages of La Grange Mercier, Magny, Peltrc, Jury, and Are 
Laquenexy there were the separate camps of two or three corps. 
All the places in question appeared to be strongly occupied and 
arranged for defence : numerous infantry outposts were thrown 
out in front of them. Encampments were also visible on the 
Moselle to the west of Montigny. 

Oriiter's brigade was quartered in Vemv and the neighbour- 
ing villages, in rear of Ranch's brigade. Connexion was esta- 
blished with the 5th Cavalry Division at Pont-i-Mousson. 

Screened by this veil of cavalry the right wing of the Ilnd 
Army moved into the positions prcHoribcd for it. In immediate 
support of the 1st Army were — the Ilird Army Coi-ps at Bechy 
and Buchv, the IXth with its advance at Hemy, tne Xllth in 
the neighoourhood of Thicourt. The Ilnd Corps had completed 
its disembarkation and had already collected three brigades at 
St. Avoid in the course of the day ; the head-quarters of the 
Ilnd Army moved to Delme. 

The 6th Cavalry Division had just taken up a position between 
the Nied and the Moselle, when, about 11 a.m., the 1st Division 
was approaohinff from Pange. 

On receipt of the orders issued from the royal head-quarters 
on the afternoon of the 12th, General v. Steinmetz had resolved 
to take up a position between the two branches of the Nied with 
the whole of the 1st Army. Two army corps were to form a 


front along the French Nied of about 4^ miles as the crow flies, 
with another corps in rear on the German Nied, occupying the 
same length of front, whilst the Cavalry Divisions were to be 
pushed forward on both wings in advance of the foremost line* 
The 1st Cavalrv Division was specially intended to protect the 
right flank of tne Ilnd Army. 

When the 1st Cavalry Division, in accordance with its instruc- 
tions^ commenced its flank march to the left on the morning of 
the 13th from the IMetz-Saarbrucken road,* it first fell in with the 
dragoons of the Ilird Corps at Pange, who had received orders 
to quit their position there on the aiiival of detachments be- 
lon^ng to the Ist Army. As the dragoons reported that they 
haa come across the enemy's cavalry on the left bank of the 
Nied, General v. Hartmann on his arrival at Pange ordered the 
8th Lancera to cross the river. Whilst the lancers pressed back 
some squadrons of French Chassemrs to Coligpiy without any real 
resistance being offered, the Division continued on its march by 
Villers Laquenexy to Mecleuves, and at the same time relieved 
the outposts of the 6th Cavalry Division on both sides of the 
Metz-Strassburg high-road. }* rom Mecleuves the 4th Lancers 
advanced in the direction of Jury, for the purpose of making a 
closer reconnaissance of the enemy's position there and at Mercy 
le haut,t which had been observed by the hussars. The 2nd 
squadron, which was in advance, came at Jury under a brisk fire 
from hostile sharpshootei-s, who lay completely concealed behind 
the railway embankment. Chesny and the wood to the west 
were also occupied by the enemy. Considerable stir took place 
in the enemy's camp at Mercy, and as the lancers now fell oack 
slowly, they were followed by six hostile squadrons, but only 
as far as the railway embankment east of Jury. 

The 4th Lancers placed their outposts abreast of Frontigny, 
and bivouacked to the south of Mecleuves. 

The 8th Lancers were brought up from Villers Laquenexy 
to join the Division at Pontoy in the coiurse of the afternoon. 

The Vllth Army Corps reached the French Nied, next the 
Ist Cavalry Division. The 14th Infantry Division moved to 
DomangeviUe, and occupied the railway station at Courcelles 
and the bridge over the river to the eastward with tlie fusilier 
battalion 53rd Regiment. 

Of the 13th Infantry Division, the 25th Brigade with two 
batteries and a squadron took up a position at Pange. Further 
to the rear, behind the two Divisions, was the corps artillery at 

Major-General v. d. Goltz crossed to the left bank of the Nied 
with the advanced guard of the Army Corps, consisting of the 
26th Brigade, 7th Rifle Battalion, three squadrons 8th Hussars, 
and the 5th and Gth Light Batteries. As the enemy was occupying 

* Tlie let Cavalry Divieion, as wc have already aecii, reached Couroellea Chautty 
and Pont-^-Chauesy on the road in queBtion on the 12tii. 
t The Tillage it called Merry le haul, or Mercy Ics Mets. 


Jury and Are Laquenexy, and strong detachments were visible 
at Aubigny, Coincy, and Colombey, the outposts could not be 

Kushed forward to the intended position between Jury and 
[arsilly. The rifle battalion therefore occupied the copses to 
the west of Laquenexy. The main body of tne advanced guard 
bivouacked to tne west of Villers Laquenexy. 

In the course of the afternoon some reconnaissances and forag- 
ing expeditions were made in advance of the front. For these 
purposes, two companies of the 15th Re^ment advanced towards 
Ars La(][ueiiexy and a rifle company in the direction of Jury; the 
former were met with a brisk fire especially from Chtlteau 
Aubigny, but in spite of this the foraging was carried out. The 
rifle company found Jury unoccupied ; on the other hand the 
enemy was observed in the neighbouring woods and at the 
point of intersection of the Stiussburg high-road with the railway. 
As two strong columns of hostile infantry and a squadron sub- 
sequently advanced from Mercy, the rifle company withdrew. 

The 1st Army Corps had also reached the French Nied ; its 
position was dose to the two great roads from Saarbrucken and 
oaarlouis to Metz, with an advanced guai'd pushed forward on 
each of them. The advanced guard of the 1st Infantry Division, 
under Major-General v. Falkenstein, consisting of the 2nd Bii^de, 
the Ist Rifle Battalion, the 1st Dragoons, and the whole of the 
Divisional artillery, had advanced beyond Pont-k-Chaussy, and 
had pushed forward an outpost squadron on both sides of the 
high-road as far as Retonfay and Ogy. In rear were two rifle com- 
panies in the Vaudreville wood, two companies of the 43rd on 
the high-road, about on a level with Maizery, five companies of 
the same regiment, a squadron and a battery at the Landremont 
brick kilns.* The remainder of the advanced guard bivouacked 
to the west of Pont-k-Chaussy ; the main bocfy of the Division 
and the corps artillery were to the north of Courcelles Chaussy. 

Except a false alarm at noon, the day passed here without 
incident. At nightfall the cavalry outposts between Retonfay 
and Ogy were rdieved by three companies. 

The Ist battalion 13th Regiment was pushed forward from 
the 13th Infantry Division to Collignv towards evening, in order 
to fill the gap in the line of outposts between Ogy and the copse 
at Laquenexy. 

The 2nd In&ntry Division bivouacked at Landonvillers. Its 
advanced guard, consisting of the 44th Regiment, 3 squadrons of 
the 10th Dragoons and the 5th Light Battery, under Major- 
General V. Memerty, had advanced along the g^eat road from 
Saarlouis past Glattignv, but did not meet the enemv's advanced 
picquets until it was close to Servigny. Whilst tlbe dragoons 
skinnished with them, the battalions and the battery formed up 
at Petit Marais. The enemy, however, remained inactive ; and 
not a movement appeared to take place in his camps at Nouilly 
and Bomy. 

* 2} miles K.B. of Maizerj, on the Metz-Saarbrflcken high-road. 


Major-General Memcrty withdrew to les 
Tlie 4tli squadron of dragoonu earned on the outpoat duty from 
Retonfay as far as the neighbourhood of St. Barbe. The fusilier 
battalion of the 44th remained in support between Glattigny 
and the Libaville wood. 

On the extreme right flank of the Army, the 3rd Cavalry Divi- 
sion had advaneed towards the fortress along the Bouzonville 
njad, until the 7th Lancers, leading the advance, were fired upon 
from Bremy. The regiment remained at Avancy, extended the 
line of outposts of the 2nd Intantry Division as far as the 
vicinity of fcJanry, and thrcAv out the 2iid squadron to the right 
flank beytmd Vigy for ])rotection against Thionville. The 
other regimentH went into bivcmac-s at Vry. 

In the course of the afternoon, Lieutenant v. Miiller L wth a 
patrol from the 7th Lancers advanced towards Thionville, and 
when about 5 miles east of tlie fortress came across some hostile 
cavalry and infantry. Another j)atrol fiom the regiment which 
had crossed to tlu5 other bank of the Moselle by the feny at 
Hauconcovu't, returned without having met \\ath the enemy. 

The more important retuinnaissiinces on the left bank of the 
river, ordered by tht; royal headcpiarters, were prevented, as the 
enemy had removed all the craft on the river to a place of 8afet3\ 

In rear of the 1st and VJIth Corps, was posted on the Gennau 
Niedas general reserve to the 1st Anny, tho Vlllth Army Corps, 
with the 15th Division at Bionville, and the IGth at Varize and 
Uelstrofl'; the corps artillery wjis at Brouck. The army head- 
quarters were transferred from Boucheporn to Varize. 

From reports received this day on the state of aflfaira at 
Thionville, tlie connnander-in-chief had every reason to expect 
that a coajp^de-niain against this fortress would be successful. 
With this object, the 31st Infantry Brigade, a squadron of hussaina, 
a battery and a company of sappers were despatched the same 
evening, the 13th, from HelstroiF to the vicinity ofBettangc. 
Major-General Count Gneisenau, ajjpointed to carry out this 
enteiprise, had received instructions to march the foUo^ving 
evening close to Thionville, to take up a position imder cover 
for the night, and at dawn on the 15th to endeavour to capture 
the fortress by suiprise. 

The advance of the 1st Army on the 13th August, which has 
just been descnbed, was preceded on both flanks by the Cavalry 
Divisions which led the way into the positions already specified 
The heights west of the French Nied were reached without even 
meeting with any hostile patrols. Not until this point was 
attained, where the enemy's positions and camps near the Bois 
de Grimont, at Nouiliy, Borny, Mercy, and Magny, as far as the 
Moselle south of ilontigny suddeidy unfolded Uko a huge picture 
before the Prussian leadmg detachments, did the separate de- 
tachments come in contact with the French advanced troops, 
who, however, limited themselves generally to a strictly defen- 
sive attitude. 

The touch, which since the 7th August had beeu almost lost 


owing to the rapid retreat of the French, was once more closely 
resumed along the whole front of the Ist Anny. The question 
now was, what inferences should be drawn from the enemy's 
very peculiar proceedings. 

Various iuoications during the day's march of the Ist Army, 
as. for instance, aritingements for fortification which had been 
observed, encampments recently abandoned, and especially the 
circumstance that the villages through which our men passed 
were mostly denuded of their inhabitants, led to the conclusion 
that the project of facing the German Army in the position west 
of the Nied had been lately and finally abandoned. The view 
which was now obtained into the principal position of the 
French immediatelv to the east of Metz left no doubt that they 
were prosecuting their rearward movement, although at present 
they had not passed the Moselle. 

In order to satisfy liimself of the state of affairs, Major- 
General v. Sperling, chief of the general staff of the Ist Army, 
rode along the line of outposts from Laquenexy to Retonfay. 
The impression conveyed to him by the attitude of the French 
was, that no offensive movement was contemplated, though the 
possibility of such a proceeding was not excluded. There might 
also be an intention to hold the position in rear of the two 
brooks which unite near Nouilly. 

These conclusions were communicated in the afternoon by the 
commauder-in-chief of the 1st Army to the royal headquarters, 
which were moved from St. Avoid to Herny on the 13th. 

That the French, contrary to what was hitherto supposed, had 
not completed their retreat over the Moselle, oould not but be 
desired oy the German royal headquarters, as it facilitated the 
execution of their own plan. On the other hand a certain amount 
of difficulty in the situation could not be disguised. For it was now 
necessary to halt the Ist Army for the present within immediate 
reach of the enemy, whilst the impending passage of the Moselle 
by the Ilnd Army must involve a separation of the forces. As 
the French were still in considerable force to the east of Metz, 
arrangements had to be made to support the Ist Army by the 
right wing of the Ilnd Army in the event of the former being 
attacked. Thus it became necessary to hold back the latter to 
some extent, and this was the more necessary as the left wing 
had on its part to make a considerable detour in its wheeling 
movement to the right on the other side of the river. 

Under these circumstances the following order was issued 
from Herny at 9 o'clock on the night of the 13th : 

*' From intelligence received considerable hostile forces are 
still halting this forenoon at Servigny and Borny, this side of 

''His Majesty orders that the Ist Army will remain to- 
moiTow, the 14th, in its position on the French Nied, and will 
observe^ by pushing forward advanced guards, whether the 
enemy retires or advances to the attack. To meet the latter 


eventually, the Ilnd Army to-morrow will advance the Illrd 
Corps at Jirst only abreast of Pagny,* the IXth to Buchy,t 
where, at a distance of 5 miles, they will be prepared by a 
well-timed march to take part in a serious action before Metz. 
On the other hand the 1st Araiy will be in a position to pre- 
vent the advance of the enemy southwards bv a flank attacL 

" The remaining corps of the Ilnd Army will continue their 
advance towards that part of the Moselle between Pont-k- 
Mousson and Marbache. Tiie Xth Corps will take up a posi- 
tion in advance of Pont-a-Mousson. 

" The cavaliT of both ai-mies is to be pushed forward as far 
08 possible^ and molest any retreat of the enemy along the 
road from Metz to Verdun. 

"(Signed) V. MoLTKBL'* 

The instructions for the Ilird and IXth Corps herein con- 
tained were, owing to the advanced period of the day, conveyed 
direct to them fi'om the royal he^idquarters by orderly ofBcei-s. 
With regard to the other corps of the Ilnd Army, Prince 
Frederic Charles had already, before the arrival of the above 
order from Herny, made independent arrangements which were 
in perfect accord with the intentions of His Majesty. 
14th August. In accordance with these aiTaugements the general wheeling 

movement to the right, which had been commenced during the 
preceding days, was continued on the 14th August, but now on 
the standing pivot formed by the 1st Aimv. In close con- 
nexion witli the latter and in readiness to am>rd it support, the 
right wing of the Ilnd Army, still continuing to observe Metz, 
closed up to the westward in such manner that the Illrd 
Army Corps, forming its advance, was only sUghtly moved 
forward. The centre of the Ilnd Army made good its position 
at Pont-k-Mousson, the left wing hastening by forced marches 
to the Moselle. 

Thus the IVth Army Corps reached the nei^hbom-hood of 
Armancourt,} the 1st Guard In&ntry Division with its head at 
Sivry, and the 2ud Guard Infantrv Division reached the Moselle 
at Dieulouard. The Divisions of the Xth Army Corps assembled 
at Pont-&-MousBon, to which place Prince Frederic Charles also 
moved his heudquaH^rs this day, and where for all eventualities 
a position for battle on the left bank was reconnoitred and pre- 
pared. The watch posts on the loftily situated castellated ruins 
of the lif oussouberg perfectly overlooked the country as far as 
Metz. Two battalions of the 78th, two squadrons of dragoons, 
and a light batteiy were pushed forward towards the foi^tress 
on the left bank of the Moselle as far as Vandi6res ; the 38th 
Iniantiy Brigade advanced to the bifurcation of the roads to 

* On the high-road from Motz to Nancy. 

t On the high-road from Meti to Strassburg. 

{ 7th Infantry Division, Armancourt; advanced guard, Leyri 8th Infantry 
Division, Malancourt and Maiihou6. The pUoet referz«a to in tho movAiDentt of the 
14th August are indicated on the sketch facing p. 294. 


Thiaucourt and Flirey, so aa to act as support to tlie cavahy in 
its incursions westward. 

The IXtli Army Corps, upon which for the 14th August 
devolved the chief duty of acting in support of the Ist Army, 
reached Buchy and Luppy with the 18th Division, and Bichy 
with the 25th. Next to the IXth came the Ilird Corps with 
the 5th Division at Vigny, and the fJth at Louvigny. The Xllth 
Army Corps moved to Sologne, forming a support to the Ilird 
and IXth m the event of the enemy advancing southward along 
the right bank of the Moselle. The Ilnd Army Corps coming 
up in rear, arrived at Faulquemont. 

In advance of the front of both armies, the independent 
masses of cavalry continued to carry out their duties. 

From Dieulouard the brigades of lancers and dragoons of the 
Guard moved forward, the former to Villers en Haye, the latter 
to Rog^ville. The patrols feeling southward found Frouard 
unoccupied. On the other hand, Captain v. Trotha's squadron 
of the 2nd Dragoons of the Guard came across some of the 
enemy*M ohasseurs k cheval close in front of Toul, and after a 
ehort mel6e drove them into the suburb, without a single shot 
being fired from the ramparts upon the audacious pursuers. As 
1^ circumstance induced the belief that the plc^ce was aban* 
doned or only weakly occupied. Captain v. Trotha sent an 
o£Bcer to demand the surrender of the fortress. The comman- 
dant answered this demand from a handful of cavalry with a 
dry ^ repaasez une autre fois,** followed promptly by some shots 
firom the houses, and gardens, so that all retreat for the 
dragoons was apparentiv cut off. They, however, cleared the 
road with sabre and carbine, gained the open, and on their way 
back destroyed the sluices which retained the water in the 
ditches of the fortress. 

Of the 5th Cavalry Division, Bredow's brigade arrived at 
Pont-ii-llousson, whilst the other two brigades moved forward 
on the plateau west of the Moselle — Barby's brigade to Thiaiw 
court and Redem's brigade beyond that place to Beney. De- 
tachments from both brigades scoured the ground to the north- 
ward. Captain v. Rosenberg, with the 4th squadron 13th Lancers, 
rode along the valley of tne Moselle as far as Ancy, barely 7 
miles from Metz, where he fell in with hostile infantry, whose 
brisk fire necessitated his retreat. Captain v. Vaerst who with 
the 1st and 4th squadrons of the 11th Hussai-s had covered the 
right flank of Redern's brigade on the 13th, had received instruc- 
tions to move forward by Pagny* and scour the neighbourhood 
adjoining the great road from l^Ietz to Verdun. Shortly after 
1 p.m. a report was received from this officer stating that he had 
reached that road vift Buxiires and had caused his patrols to 
reconnoitre the forts west of Metz, without coming m contact 

with hostile troops. 


* On the left bank of the Mosello, north of Pont^ji-Mouiison; it mu:*t not*, he 
oon founded with Pognj lee Goin, on the right hank, on the Mct/.-Naiicj rond. 



The 6th Cavalry Division had remained in the position 
which it had taken up the previous day between the Seille and 
Moselle, facing Metz. The 16th Hussars observed early in the 
morning a pecliliar movement in the French camps on both sides 
of the great road from Metz to Nancy. Workmen were engaged 
in throwing up entrenchments ; railway trains came and departed 
in rapid succession to and from the fortress. Between Marly 
and Mangy dismounted squadrons were visible ; on the left bank 
of the Moselle, at Ancy, in&ntry and Chasseurs d*Afrique. On 
the other hand patrols of the Zieten hussars found the camps at 
Peltre and Mercy-le-haut unchanged from the previous day. In 
the course of the morning Ranch s hussar brii^de was relieved 
by Griiter's heavy biigade ; the 3rd and 15th Lancers formed 
the outposts. 

The curious persistence of the French round Metz at a time 
when two Prussian corps had already reached the middle 
Moselle, and when the cavalry were already scouriuK the Verdun 
road, hardly permitted of any other explanation than that the 
enemy intended to attack the 1st Army, which might be sup- 

f»osed to be isolated, owing to the broad front occupied by the 
Ind Army in its advance. It was soon evident that the fore- 
sight shown by the royal headquarters in keeping considerable 
forces for the present ready to act south of Metz was not 

The advance of French columns on Fleury — which turned 
out afterwards to be merely for the object of relieving outposts 
— caused the 6th Cavalrv Division to be alarmed at 2 p.m. ; and 
whilst in consequence thereof it was still standing in readiness, 
the roar of artillery and musketry, rapidly increasing in brisk- 
ness, resounded towards 4 o'clock from the north-eastward. The 
15th Lancers and a squadron of the 6th Cuirassiers now ad- 
vanced by Fleury to reconnoitre to the other side of the rail- 
way. Peltre, Mercy-le-haut, and the eutrenchments in that 
neighbourhood were now found to be abandoned by the 
enemy ; the latter, to judge from the still perceptible traces, 
must have marched off in the direction from which tne thunder of 
artillery was heard. 


The Battle of Colombey-Nouilly. 14th August. 


The ponition oooupied by the French Army of the Rhine be- 
hind the Nied* had even on the first day, apart from strategical 
considerations, proved itself tactically defective. The much 
wooded district to the east of the little river made it difficult to 
observe the advance of the compact masses of the German forces, 
to encounter which in open ground might, from recent experience, 
appear hazardous. 

The French headquarters, therefore, decided upon concen- 
trating the army more closely in front of the fortress. 

We hare already seen how the movements consequent upon 
this resolution were watclied by the German cavalry ; the 
French cavalry as a nile did not carry their reconnoitring 
duties beyond the positions of the infantiy posts. The un- 
usual appearance of French cavalry in advance of the line of 
outposts on the 12th August was due to the circumstance that 
reconnaissances towards Faul^uemont and Nom^nj had been 
ordered by the supreme authonty with a view to gaming clearer 
information. But even these incursions were not pushed 
beyond the Nied» and the Imperial headquarters remained quite 
in the dark as to everything which was taldng place beyond that 

The strength of the French Army concentrated under the im- 
mediate protection of the forts now amounted to 201 battalions, 
116 squadrons, and 540 field gun8.t 

The vacillation, so baneful to the French cause, in the 
supreme command of the army reached a definite climax on the 
12th Aueust, as on this da^ the Emperor Napoleon resigned his 
command absolutely, nominated Marshal Bazaine to the chief 
command of the Army of the Rhine, and prepared to withdraw 
his hf'adquaiiers from the army. 

Without haviuff gained a victory the Emperor dared not 
return to Paris. He had hitherto, therefore, remained with the 
armv, retaining the Guard at his disposal in the light of house- 
hold troops. Afflicted with grievous oodily ailments, the sorely- 
tried Prince, who now neither ruled in France nor gave orders 
to his army, saw his fate no less dependent on the struggles in 
the field than on those in Parliament. 

The monarch, at whose di8p(>8itJon lies the State with its 
resources, is only entitled to lead the army in the field when 
competent to command the troops in person, and take the 

• 866 p. 280. 

t Th6 Vlth Corp6 wm atiU d6ftci6iit of 9 b«ttelioni, sU ito oaTalry, and 13 bftt« 
i6riM. Th666 troop6 oould not now reach Mots as th6 Q«nnani had amady occupiad 
th6 railway in tha fallay of iha Mosello. A r6gim6nt of ChatMurt belonging to the 
let CaTalzy Dirition had ideo found the way to Mets no longer open. 

D 2 


weighty responfiibility of all that may happen in the field upon 
his own shoulders. Failing these conditions, his presence with 
the army cannot but have a paralysing influence. 

Marshal Bazaine had still to pay constant attention to the 
Emperor*8 safety, to the opinions of his suite, to the proposals of 
men who did not wisli to retreat, but at the same time were not 
responsible for the consequences of a longer delay. In order ti> 
be able to form his resolutions luiswayed, the Marshal could not 
but earnestly wish that the Emperor, and with him a host of un- 
authorised advisers, would quit the army. For by one tvtll alone 
must the operations be controlled ; when influenced by several 
counsels, no matter how well meant, this will must always lose 
in clearness and decision, and the leading of the army which 
depends upon it will become uncertain. The consistent prosecu- 
tion of one idea, though it ma]^ only partially meet the given 
circumstances, will attain the object more rapidly than a frequent 
shifting from plan to plan, if only for the reason that the 
coimter orders unavoidably resulting firom the latter course 
must always have a disadvantageous influence on the confidence 
and powera of the troops. 

All the more discerning men in the French army had been 
long convinced of the necessity for a further retreat, and tliat it 
should be carried out as far as Chalons. Once the retreat 
appeared unavoidable, any further lingering at Metz could not 
but be ruinous, as soon as the leading troops of one of the 
German armies had crossed the Moselle above the fortress. 

It would seem that the Emperor, influenced by these consi- 
derations, had prescribed to the new commander-in-chief, as 
his first task, the withdrawal of the army primarily to 

In the forenoon of the 13th August, at the same time that the 
Prussian troops regained their touch of the French outposts, the 
Marshal issued the following order for the retreat to the west- 
ward which was to commence next day ; its unimpeded execu- 
tion, however, owing to the proximiiy of the adversary, could 
no longer be calculated upon with certainty. 

•* The 1st and 3rd Cavalry Divisions will march off from their 
*' camps at 1 p.m. in the direction of Verdun, the 1st Division 
** along the road from Gravelotte by Doncourt and Conflans, the 
" 8rd along the road from Gravelotte by Mars-la-Tour. The 3rd 
'' and 4th Corps will take the former, the 2nd and 6th Corps the 
"latter road; the (iunrd will follow the 6th Corps." With 
rcf^jird to the tiino of dt'parturc of the coqw it would only appear 
to have been fixed, tluit all wore to be in readiness to march at 
5 aan. on the 14th. Gravelotte was prescribed as the destina- 
tion of the two Cavalry Divisions for the 14th ; in the event 
of the water being* iiisuificient, the 3rd Cavalry Divinion was to 
proceed to Kezonville. Military bridges had been thrown over 
the Moselle below the fortress. 

When the order reached the various coi-ps, the 2nd Corps 
wi\H covering the StraHnlmrg high road in the neighbourhood of 


Peltre. Verge's and Bataille s Divisious were on the heighto 
between Peltre and Magny-eur-Seille, Lapasset's brigade* near 
Ch&teau Mercy. Laveaucoupet'e Division formed a second lino 
of defence at Basse Bivoye, but on the morning of the 14th 
occupied the outlying forts, as it was to be left behind to 
garnson Metz.f 

The 3rd Corps had its main front towards the east, and had 
Montaudon*8 Division at Grigy, Metman s at Colombey, Cas- 
tagnv's at Moritoy, and Aymard's at Nouilly, 

l^he 4th Corps was posted in roar of the left wing of the 
ord, Grenier's Division m the vicinity of Wey ; the other two 
covered furtlier to the left rear the Bouzonville and KMange 
roads. The 6th Corps was partly between the Moselle and 
Seille, partly on the left liank of the Mosello at Wojppy, and 
partly in the forts. The Guard was in rear of the 3rd Corps. 

Since early dawn of the 14th the numerous trauis of the army 
had been engaged in passing from the right to the left bank of 
the Moselle ; it was not until nearly noon that the troops of 
the ()th, 2nd, and 4th Corps commenced their retreat from both 
flanks, the 3rd Corps and the Guard remaining generally in their 
old positions. 

The movements had already been g(iing on for some time 
when the thunder of guns from the direction of the Nied be- 
tokened the commencement of an action. Part of the marching 
columns at once turned back. The troops, confused by marches 
and countermarches, hailed with joy the prospect of an approach- 
ing contest, and their conduct therein will show that they had 
not entirely lost confidence in their own strength. 

The order issued on the 13th August from the headquarters 
of His Majesty the King} reached tlie commander-in-chief of 
the 1st Army at Vaiize that same night. General v. Steinmetz 
regarded the task assigned to him as essentially a defensive one, 
except in the case of a stroke by the foe southward. The idea 
of attempting a frontal attack upon the hostile masses posted 
under tlie protection of their forts was not at all contemplated 
by him. ouch being the case, the General issued an order at 
2.30 a.m. on the 14th in which he briefly infonned the troops of 
the Ist Army that they were to remain that day in their posi- 
tions. The Ist Cavali-jr Division was further made acquamted 
with the instructions issued by the royal headquartei-s to the 
Ilnd Army, and General Hartmann was ordered to direct 
especial attention towards Metz. 

The early morning of the 14th August passed peacefully. 
The outposts had remarked nothing of importance in advance 
of the entire front of the army. From 11 a.m., however, reports, 
at first singly, but gradually increasing in number, arrived at 

• Belonging to the Vth Corps. See p. 280. 

f IVo battalions each irero sent to Forts Queiilou. Ft. Julion, Bollccroix, St. 
C^iipntin, and Mosellp, three bat ta lions to Fort rinppovillc ; tlie tlice bnttcrit's to 
the forts on the right bank of the Moselle. 

; See p. 209. 


the various head-quarters, stating that rearward movements ot 
the foe towards Metz had been observed. The first intimation 
on this subject was a report from Lieutenant Stumm, 8th Hussars, 
who believed he observed at 10.45 a.m. from Marsillj *' a slow 
^* retreat of the foe from the positions at Ars-Laqueiiexy, 
" Coincy, Noisseville, Colombey, Lauvallier, and Vantoux/' 

At 12.15 Major-General v. Pritzelwitz reported from the 
heifi^hta of Chateau Gras, that the camps at Borny were apparently 
broken up and the troops withdrawn, but that the villages 
of Vreniy, Poix, Survigny, Noisseville, and Wontoy were still 
occupied by hostile infantry. At 3 p.m. Captain v. .larotzki, 
of the staflf of the 2nd Infantry Division, remarked that Vremy 
was now abfindoned by the enemy, and that French troops were 
no longer visible north-east of the line Vremy-St. Julien as far 
as the Moselle. 

Half an hour later detachments of the 10th Dragoons observed 
troops also moving off from the camp at Servignv towards Metz. 
At 4 o'clock the patrols of the 3ra Cavalry Division reported 
the evacuation of Chieullcs and of the camp near the Bois de 

Similar observations had also been made on the Prussian left 
wing. At 12.30 p,m. General v. Hartmann reported from the 
heiglits north of M^cleuves, that the adversary was still hold* 
ing Peltre and the wood south of Mercy le Haut, but that he 
had already withdrawn strong detachments from the camps 
hitheilo seen between Mercy and Metz ; soon after, that hostile 
troops of all arms had heon clearly observed retiring from 
Mercy since 1.45 p.m. 

These reports agreed completely with the real state of afiairs ; 
the retreat of the French Army to the left bank of the Moselle 
had commenced. 

General Baron v. ManteufTel, conunanding the Int Anny Corps, 
had already ridden forward to his outpostfi towards 2 p,m., and 
had witnessed in person the rearward movements of the French 
masses hi front of him. As viewed from the positions of the 
Ist Army Corps, these movements might be preliminary to a 
combined movement against the Vllth Corps or to preparing 
an attack upon the Ilnd Army. The General, therefore, to 
meet all circumstances, ordered both his Divisions to stand to 
arms and be ready for battle. 

Although the enemy's intention in fi-ont of the Ist Corps was 
not clearly apparent, the advanced guard of the Vllth Array 
Ctnps could have no doubt that the enemy was abandonina 
his position before Metz and retirinff upon the fortress. With 
this fact before him, Major-General Baron v. d. Goltz c«m8idered 
that he nmst act at once. An attempt to molest the with- 
drawal of the French as much as possilJe, and to retard the 
retreat which was contemplated, appeared to be justified by the 
onlinary rnles or war, and indeed necessitated .by the present 
stiMt'gical situation. In addition to this, the alarming and 


the movement thereby occasioned in the let Army Corps led 
likewise to the supposition of offensive measures on the part of 
this corps. 

General v. d. Qoltz therefore decided upon an independent 
advance, and quitted his bivouac at Laquenexy with the ad- 
vanced guard of the Vllth Army Corps* at half-past 3 o'clock. 
He communicated the movements observed in the Ist Army 
Corps to the 13th and 14th Infantry Divisions, and called upon 
that coi-ps and the 1st Cavalry Division to support him in his 

The scene of the struggle now commencing in the afternoon 
of the 14th August is the Metz plateau which rises eastward 
of the Seille^t It gradually ascends from the south in the 
direction of St. Barbe. The conspicuous church tower of this 
village forms an excellent landmark in the surrounding district. 
The latter is distinguished generally by its broadly swelling 
ridges, the view over which, especially in the northern parts, is 
but little interrupted by the villages, which, as is tiie rule 
throughout Lorrame, lie mostly in the open. On the other hand, 
in the southern part are found numerous parks and other small 
copses} between the larger woods of Ars Laauenexy and Failly. 

Of exceeding importance is the generally deep valley which at 
first trends noruiward by Colombey, and afterwards bends away 
as the bed of the Valliires brook, in a westerly direction towards 
the Moselle. The entire plateau is divided by it into a smaller 
south-western and a larger north-eastern half, which may be 
designated briefly from their main features, as that of Borny and 
St. Sarbe. Of the brooks which flow from the east and north- 
east into the Colombey and Yallitees valley, that coming from 
St. Barbe and flowing between Servigny and Noisseville past 
Nouilly 18 of special importance. The vine-clad slopes of this 
watercourse are contiguous to the northern bank of the YaUi^es 
brook as far as the Aloselle. The deep bottom of the brook 
coming from St. Barbe separates the plateau of that name into 
a west and east position. 

The previously indicated positions of the French commanded 
the Borny plateau, and in general also the western portion of the 
St. Barbe plateau. Through the eastern ran the main lines of 
advance of the Ist Army from the Nied, especially the two grt^at 
roads from Saarlouis and Saarbrticken, which unite on the 
Borny heights near Bellecroix. 

• 26th Infantry Brigade, 7th Rifle Battalion, 8th Hum an, 5th and 6th Light 

t Tide deecription of the crotind, p. 88. 

t Some of theee were out aown when carrjinii out the works of iureslnnent st a 
later period, so that the neighbourhood appears in the precent daj more open than 
foruierlj . 


The Battle from 3.30 to 7 p.m. 

"^^(wS^Tth*^ Geiicial V. d. Goltz'a fii-st intention being only to capture 

vilth Army *^® position of Colombey, he cauBod hie troops to advance for 

Corps mores this purpose as follows : — 

Itto^k"^^^**** Colonel V. Delitz with the two inuRktteor battalions of tho 

15th and the 6th Light Battery moved past Marsilly on the 
west, in the direction of Cliatean Anbigny. On his left marched 
tho 7th RiiK? Battalion by Ars T.aqiionoxy on ('olombey, whilst 
the 8tli Ihissai'N covired the ninveiiient on the right flank, and 
later on fomicd the artillery esroi-t. The remainder of the 
advanced guard followed in sct^ond hnc by Marsilly. 

Between Anbigny and Coincy tht* foremost divisions of hussars 
encountered a hostile squadron, which opened fire, and then 
rapidly ^\^thdrow behind the thicket occupied bv French in- 
fantiy. At 4 o'clock the Ist battalion di'ployed in tnis direction, 
and against Chftteau Aubigny. Boceived in front "with an in- 
effective volley. Major Bergius made a flank movement round 
the south side of the chateau with the 4th Company, causing 
the enemy to retire in all posnible haste to Coloinbey ; he 
was followed by some well-aimed rounds from the 5th Light 
Batt<Ty, which had just anived to the northward of 5Iarsilly. 

By order of (leneml v. d. (ioltz» the 2nd and 3rd Companies 
took a supporting position at the clulteau; the Ist, followed by 
the 6th and 7th ot the 2nd l^ttalion, took the direction of Lk 
Planchette in order to turn the enemy on the right; the 4th 
joined on the left the rifle battalion in its advance from Ars 
Laquenexy to Colombey. 

The latter, which had suffered from shell fire during its 
advance, had deployed three companies in a depression of the 
ground, whilst the 2nd Company which had been on outpost 
duty covered the left flank of the battalion in the direction of 
the bushy giound south-west of Colombey occupii.'d by the 
enemy, and in doing so speedily became engaged in a biisk 
skirmish. The Ist and 3ra Companies, in consequence of this, 
came up in rear of the 2nd, and took up a firm position in the 
hollow road leading from the ch&teau; the 4th, however, in 
concert with the last-named musketeer company, passed to the 
attack of the heights scuith of (^olombev, which were captured 
at the first rush. The shelter trenches thrown up at that point, 
and subsequently the farms at Colombey, were occupied after a 
brief struggle, in whi(rh the 5th and bth Companies of the 15th 
Kegiment coming up from the east also participated. The 6th 
Light Battery had, in the meantime, come into action to the 
north of Aubigny and had aflbrded bv its fire considerable £up- 
port to the onset of tlie infantiy. A forward movement maae 
by the enemy from the west with a view to recapturing 
Colombev, was vigorously repulsed. 

In this way a finn footing was established on the fiirther bank 
of the valley, but no additional jnogress coidd be made at pre- 
sent. The French were posted in strong bodies on the heights 


west and north of Colombejjr as far as the Saarbriicken road, so 
that even the companies which had moved against La Planchette 
could make no he^vdway on the western slope of the valley. 

The 6th Light Battery was engaged with two hostile 
batteries, and as it was at tliis time taken in flank by a third, it 
retired about 400 paces to a position on the left of the 5th Light 
Battery, which had meanwhile come into action to the south- 
west of Coincy, At all points we were engaged in a vigorous 
action against superior forces. 

As soon, however, as General v» d. Goltz perceived that the 
engagement had assumed a graver cliaracter, he at once took 
care to support his first line by the arriving troops of the 
advanced guard. 

Shortly after the commencement of the battle the fusilier 
battahon of the 55th had been despatched by Coincy to the 
Saarbriicken road, as a hostile movement upon Montoy was re- 
ported. Advancing upon La Planchette in company-columns 
at open intervals, the battalion threw itself simultaneously from 
the south and east into the hedges in front of the vineyard at 
that place, and commenced a vigorous and bloody musketry 
action at close quarters with the enemy occupying the vine- 
vard,* As La Planchette was captured shortl v after by other 
ri-ussiiin detachments, the enemy abandoned the vineyard ; the 
battalion was now able to press onward through it 

In the bushy hollow between Colombey and La Planchette 
the Gth and 7th Companies 15th Regiment alone were as yet 
engaged. The fusilier battalion of this Regiment was now led 
fcH-ward in this position. On the right pressed forward the 11th 
Company of the regiment along tho north side of the Coincy 
brook in concert with the 1st Company, which, as we have 
ah'ead}'^ seen, had advanced from Chfttoau Aubigny as far as the 
houses of La Planchette and taken up a position therein. While 
the smaller half of the lOth Companv joined this advance, tho 
remainder occupied the thicket at the confluence of the two 
brooks, and from that pofait took part in the combat. The 9th 
Company supported the above companies of tho 2nd battalion 
in their advance on the western slopes of the Colombey valley.t 
The 12th Companjjr moved to Colombey and captured the 
eh&teau park in conjimction M'ith the detachments fighting there. 

Both musketeer battalions of the 55th also moved on 
Colombey. Advancing along the Coincy-Colombey road, the 
1st and 4th Companies took up a position at the bridge near 
the latter place, whilst the 2nd and 3rd mounted the heights to 
the north of it. The 2nd battalion crossed the brook further 
soutli, and occupied with two companies each the border of the 
park and the farm buildings. 

* In tilts action Ut Lieut. Sclicringer lending tlio 11th Co. wna mortal] j and 
Cnptain t. Sinits soTerelj wounded. 

t In tins action aaainit tho adTenarr holding the heights, Lieut. -Colonel t. 
Kawecz«nski, oommandinff the battalion, was wounded, and Ji»t Lieut, v. I'ruiid* 
ZTnfki, in charge of the ftth Company, found o heroV gmre. 


It was past 5 o'clock. A determined and bloody action had 
been rap^in^ for an hour upon the western slope of the brook. 
Although the Prussian detachments under General v.d. Goltz hud 
at present succeeded in maintaining the heights at Colombey 
which they liad taken at the first rush, yet, (m the other hand, 
the adviinoe of the riglit wing south of the Saarbrucken high 
road had encountered throughout an insuperable resistMUce. The 
I^'onch held especially a little fir wood lying on the Colombey- 
Bellecroix road. The main body was, as already mentioned, 
further to the rear l)etween Colombey and Borny,* whither con- 
stant reinforcements were seen to arrive. The enemy preceded 
his enveloping attack with a devastating file-fire, by which he 
hoped to drive the weak Prussian advanced guard from the 
ground it had captured. 

When the action assumed this phase, which was by no means 
devoid of danger, supports were already also advancing on the 
Prussian side, From the east the other half of the 13th Divi- 
sion was hastening to the help of its sorely-pressed advanced 
gnmrd, whilst, on the north, the 1st Army Corps had complied 
with all possible speed to the summons addi'es^sed to it, and 
had already enterea upon the contest. 

IrriTalof General v. Manteufiel had received General v. d. Goltz's 

**^A^^f tSf request for support in his forward movement shortly after 
m Army ^ o'clock, and in consequence at once despatched orders to his 
CoriM, 4.45 to Divisions already under arms, and also to the two advanced 
e.aup.m. guard8,t to act vigorously, overthrow the enemy, but not to 

allow themselveH to be enticed within range of the forts, 

The advanced guards now moved off almost simultaneously 
along the two gieat roads, which lead to Metz from the east- 
ward and unite at BelleiToix not far from the fortress. 

The advanced guard of the 1st Infantry Division moved 
from the neighbourhood of Silly along the Saarbrucken road. 
The Xst Light Battery, which formed part of the vanguard, 
hastened ahead of the infantry by Maison iso)ee, under escort 
of some divisions of dragoons, and brought the first immediate 
help to General v. d. Goltz's troops, by coming into action at 
about 4.45 j^.m. on the south side of the Coincy brook and open- 
ing fire against the heights north of Colombey, Put by the 
desire of General v. Gliimer, commanding the 13th Infantry 
Division, who had meanwhile come up, the battery shortly after 
took up a position to the south-west of Montoy near the Saar- 
briicken road, with a view to supporting the advance of the 
infantry along the left bank of the Colombey brook. In doing 
so, the battery was received with a most destructive fire from 
the enemy, the commander, Captain HofTbauer, being badly 
wounded at an early period. 

* Srd Corps, the Guard iu i-ear. 

t At Sillj and Lee Etai.g«. Sec pp. 297-298. 


The advanced guard of the 2nd Infantry Division at Les 
EtangB had been reinforced in the forenoon by the 4th Regi- 
ment and the 6th Light Battery.* The 4th sqn. 10th Dragoons 
had just been relieved at the outposts by the Ist. sqn. and 
arrangements were being made for moving forward the 1st 
battn. 44th Regiment beyond the present position of the fusilier 
battalion at Glattigny and LibaviUe into a new outpost line, 
St. Barbe-Retonfay, when the order came to attack. 

General v. Memerty advanced forthwith at a trot with the two 
batteries and squadrons at Les Etangs along the Noisseville 
road, and ordered the infantry to follow him as soon as possible. 
About the same time that HoiFbauer's battery took up its posi- 
tion at Montoy, the two batteries of the 2nd Division came into 
action west of the Noisseville brewery, on both sides of the high 
road from Saarlouis. The 10th Dragoons assembled close at 
hand as their escort. 

l^he infantry of both advanced guards strained eveiy nerve 
to follow the llatteries which had hastened on ahead. On the 
right wing of the line of battle the first to appear was the 1st 
battalion 44th Regiment, formed in company columns at open 
intervals. The 4th Company remained at the brewery in 
reserve ; with the other three, Major v. Ziegler took the cureo- 
tion of Nouilly, part moving through Noisseville, part passing 
to the north and south of that village. In spite of the enemy s 
vigorous fire from the heights the battalion continued its march 
towards the village in question. 

The 1st Company ascended, from Noisseville, the vineyard on 
the northern slope of the gully which, starting fW)m St. Barbe, 
passes between Servigny and Noisseville towards Nouilly ; the 
2nd and 3rd Companies advanced on the south of this valley. 
After the 1st Company had at first driven the French skirmishers 
at Nouilly in front of them, it became involved in a vigorous 
combat on the heights east of the Mey copse, where the enemy 
encountered them from densely-occupied shelter trenches. At 
this time the other two companies reached Nouilly, which, 
although abandoned by the enemy, was stronglv barricaded. 
Onward they laboured through and around the village towards 
the heights, in order to bring the necessary support to the 1st 
Company. This, however, had been provided m another way. 
The 2na Battalion had reached Noisseville shortly after the 1st ; 
from thence the 6th and 7 th Companies were sent after the 1st 
Company round by the north of Nouilly, wliilst the 5th and 8th 
remamea temporarily in reserve at Noisseville, 

Thus, on the extreme right flank of the line of battle at 
Nouilly five companies of the 44th Regiment were hotly engaged 
up to this time in a very unequal struggle against the Mey 
heights, where a superior enemy was opposed to them, in places 
at not more than 250 to 300 paces distance. 

* It thenfore now confuted of the entire 8rd Infantry Brigade (4th and 44th 
Regiments), the 10th Dragoons, and the 5th and 6th Light Batteries. See p. 297. 


On the left wing of the Ist Army (3orp8 the vanguard of the 
1 Ht Infantry Division had dniwn in its outposts* for an advance 
upon Montoy, and had given a hand to Goltz's brigade in the 

Wlulst the 1st and 2nd Compiinies of the Ist Rifle Battalion 
pressed forward by Flanville as far as the heights north of 
Montoy, Colonel v. Russe with the 43rd Regiment followed the 
g^'eat Saarbriicken road, and appeared about 5.30 puin. on the 
heights east of the l;iHt-naniod village. Ah reports Wi-re hero 
received of a French advance througli Lauvallior, Colonel v. 
Busse, forming his regiment in half biit tali on s, ordered it to pass 
Montoy in this fonnation, and cross the hollow which mns to 
the northward of it. The two fusilier half-battalions first 
advanced through and round the oast of the place, ascended 
the heights on the other side, and then inclined away to the 
left, so as not to mask the artillery fire of the 2nd Infantry 
Division near the brewery. The 2nd Battalion followed and 
took up a position on the right wing of the attacking line, 
which continued to advance on Lauvillier and La Planchette, 
driving the adversary's skirmishers in front of it. The Ist 
battalion, which had already lost its commander, Major v* 
VVuthenow, while crossing the Montoy valley, followed each of 
the two foremost battalions with two of its companies. The 
regiment thus iurnied two equally strong wings, in each of 
which two half battalions were in fii-st, and one in second line.t 
On the extreme left wing of the regiment were the two rifle 
companies, which moved forw.ird along the Montoy valley, and 
with whose assistance the lUsiliers sooa succeeded in capturing 

We now conmienced to move south of this village in the 
space between the two great roads, up the heights which rise 
to the westward. The enemy meanwiule kept up so vi^rouB 
a fire upon the slopes descending to Lauvallier from bis tiers of 
shelter trenches, that the rifles and fiisiliers were unable to 
make any further progi-ess in the direction of Bellecroiz, 

Shortly afterwards detachments of the 2nd Infantry Divi- 
sion also took pai*t in this struggle, which was canied on with 
great exasperation, but was at first unattended mth any deci- 
sive result. 

Meanwhile the absent troops of the 3rd Infantry Brigade 
had come into Une on the Noisseville heights ; first the fusilier 
battalion of the 44th, then the 4th Regiment. Colonel v. Book- 
ing, connnandinff the fonner regiment, now ordered the 4th 
Company, which juid hitherto been left in rear at the brewery, 
to advance in the direction of Goupiilou Mill; it was thus to 

* Fusilier bnttnlioii of the 43rd, Ist and 2Dd Cos. of the Ist Bifle Battalion. 

t Ut k 2nd. 0th&12th. Ktli&llth. (Jlli^Ttb. 5th&8tK. 

Irt KilloM. 2ml&;ird. (lanl Kogt.) l8t&4th. 


rejoiii the other companies of the battalion, which as we are 
aware had already victoriouBly crossed the Nouilly valley, and 
with their right wine had even forced their way into the copse 
eastward of Mey. General v. Memerty kept the remainder of 
the infantry in the first instance at Noisseville.* But as some 
time after, about 6 o'clock, a renewed hostile advance was re- 

K)rted from the riglit wing in the direction of Vany and Villers 
)rme, the general ordered the fusilier battalion of the 4th to 
be ready to reinforce the right wing, and the other two batta- 
lions to advance along the high road towards Bellecroix, since 
the ever increasing roll of firearms from that side led to the 
apprehension that the adversaiy might break through between 
the 1st and 2nd Infantry Division. 

After advancing beyond the artillery positions westward of 
the brewery, Colonel v. Tietzen, commanding the regiment, de- 
ployed the Ist battaUon in company columns on both sides of 
the high road. 

A brisk fire of shell and shrapnel from the Bellecroix heights 
received the advancing troops.f On the south of the road. 
Major V* Schrotter, with the 1st and 4th companies, reached 
the Lauvallier valley, which was already in our hands, and at 
once took part in the action on the further side of the valley, 
where the fusiliers of the 43rd and the two rifle companies were 
making vigorous efforts to gain the heighta. 

The first assault failed.J We were compelled to abandon the 
slopes upon which we had partly gained a footing, and seek shelter 
in a depression of the ground. Falliiig back upon the support of 
the 2nd and 3rd Companies, 43rd Kegiment,§ the troops as- 
sembled for the renewal of the attack. 

The 2nd and 3rd Companies of the 4th Regiment had mean- 
while advanced north of the great road from Saarlouis, and had 
endeavoured, under heavy loss, to gain possession of the French 
position, which was strong at all points. But neither here were 
any decisive successes gamed in the first instance. When the 
2nd Company began to waver on the half ascended slopes, Colonel 
V. Tietzen brought up the 5th and 8th, and sliortly after the 
remaining companies of his 2nd battalion, in order to support and 
extend the right wing. At the same time were seen coming up 
from the southward tne three half-battalions of the 43rd, which, 
forming the right wing,|| had, as already observed, taken the 
direction of the Saarlouis high road, and from thence bending 
away to the left towards the Lauvallier heights were now 
hastening to the scene of action. 

* 5th and 8th Go*. &nd the fusilier battalion of the 4ith ; 4th Begiinent. 

t At the yny oommeiioement Lieat. t. Diezebki, in charge of the 3rd Company, 
wae wounded. 

t Oaptain Kanter, 43Td Begiment, was wounded ; Captain Walil, 4th Begiinent, 
was lulled. 

{ The half -battalion, which followed the left wing of the regiment in second line. 
^^> note t on preoeding page. 

II See note t on pnreding page. 


Wliilst Major Schwcnke, with the 5th and 8th Companies oi' 
the 43rd, turned Lauvallier by the south and joined the 2nd and 
3rd CompanieH in the action between the two high roads, the 
other two cjompanies of the 2nd battalion proceeded to occupy the 
village. The Ist and 4th Companies, forming the half-battalion 
of the 2nd line, arrived at Lauvallier shortly after. They at once 
moved forward in a north-westerly direction along the valley, 
with a view to supporting the right wing of the 4th Regiment.* 

Thus, by 6 p.m., along the whole front between Colombey 
and Nouilly, the grouter ])urt of the infantry of the advanced 
guards of three Divisionst had become gnidually involved in a 
still undecided struggle, in which the artillery, i.vhich followed, 
had aUo taken part in considerable force. 

The three batteries of the 1st Infantry Division} had moved 
from their bivouac near Pont-i-Chaussy at 5 o*clock. On reaching 
the neighbourhood of Silly, the divisional commander, who had 
ridden onward in person, ordered up the two heavy batteries at 
a trot. 

On coming abreast of Montoy, they proceeded a few hundred 
paces in advance of Hoff bauer's battery, which was in action to 
the north of the Saarbriicken road, and unlimbered to the south 
the latter. They were joined shortly after by the 2nd Light 
of Buttery which came into action somewhat to the left rear. 
Although exposed to the enemy's infantry fire, the three bat- 
teries continued to play upon the heights on the further side of 
the Colombey brook, m order to support the companies of the 
13th Division engaged at that point, whose attempts to press 
onwards had been hitherto imattended with success. 

The fire of the combined batteries, the command of which 
devolved ui>on (Captain v. Ilom on Major Munk being woimded, 
did not fail in its effect ; after 6 o'clock the companies of the 
15th and 55th Regiments made visible progi^ess like\vise from 
the left bank of the Colombey brook. 

The two heavy batteries of the 13th Infantry Division had 
also hastened f(u*ward at a ti*ot fi*om the bivouao at Pang^,§ in 
advance of tho infantry. The 5th, which was the firat to anive 
at Coincy, was forthwith ordered by (General v, d, Ooltz to 
cross the valley at Colombev, in order to afford support to 
the troops engaged at the park against a superior hostile force. 
Immediately the battery came into action on a small meadow 
close to the eastern corner of the park, it was suiTOunded by 
a semicircle of hostile sharpshooters at scarcely 900 yards 
distance, and received fire simultaneously from them, from mi- 
trailleuses, and from another hostile battery firing shrapnel. The 

* Captain t. KOnigeegg, in charge of the la«t-mentioned half- battalion of the 
4drd, had been alroadj wounded ; he declined, however, to leaTO bia men, ftnd met 
his death during this forward moTcment. 

t The 13th, let and 2nd. 

X The 2nd light, lat and 2nd heavy of the Ui Armj Corps. The 1st light had, 
as we are aware, liautened forward in front of the advance. Bee above. 

§ See p. 296. 


losses which it sustained in consequence were so great, that 
even from the commencement the regular service of the pieces 
was impossible. The battery commander, Captain Schnack- 
enberg, all the oiRcers of the battery, many non-commissioned 
officers, men, and horses were wounded. After succeeding with 
the greatest difficulty in firing 28 slioUs, the junior officer. 
Lieutenant Riihle v. Liliensteni, who was only slightly wounded, 
brought with the aid of infantry the completely crippled battery 
under shelter of the Colombey farm buildings. After some 
time spent in effecting repairs the battery* was again brought 
into position alongside the the two light batteries on the Coincy 


The 6th Heavy Battery had at first followed the 5th. The 
divisional commander, Major Wilhelrai, inclined away with it in 
a northerly direction from Ogy, crossed the Saarbriiclcen road, 
and brought the battery into position at the south-west corner 
of Montoy. It here i einforcea the ripht wing of the artillery of 
the 1st Division in their fire agamst the left bank of the 
Colombey brook, which was still defended with obstinacy. 

Thus by H p.m. there was a total force of 60 IVussian guns in 
action as follows: — On the left winjj, to the south of the Coincy 
brook, three batteries of the Vllth Army Corps; between the 
brook and Montoy, four batteries of the Ist and one of the 
Vllth Army Corps ; on the right wing, near the brewery, two 
batteries of the 1st Army Corps. Thus the focus of the Prussian 
artillery position lay in the centre of the line of battle, to the 
south of Montoy. This co-operation of the artillery in the 
struggles carried on with such unremitting tenacity and 
depperation by tlie infantry, had been nlreaay of such avail 
as to enable difierent detachments of the Istf and 13th § 
Infantry Divisions to gain the opposite bank beyond Lauvallier 
and La Planchette. A further advance towards Bellecroix, 
however, appeared as yet impraeticable. Between Colombey 
and the Saarbriicken high road all attempts to gain grouna 
on the left bank of the brook had likewise failed, as the enemy 
succeeded in holding the fir copse on the Colombey-Bellecroix 

A change in the situation of the struggle was, however. Attack of the 
brought about on the Pmsaian left wing by the attack of the Iri^e^ISd^ 
25th Infantry Brigade. the whole of 

The officer commanding the Vllth Army Corps received at the artiUerj 
4 p.m. the first intelligence that the advanced guard brigade of ^^ Jl^ 
the 13th Infantry Division was following the enemy in his re- Up1»7pS. 

* A gun without limber was dragged awaj by one hone. 

t The 5th and 6th light batteries, it will bo remembered, belonged to Goltz' 
adranoed guard. 

i From the 48rd Sesiment and Ist Rifle Battalion. 
§ From the 15th and 55 th Regiment*. 


treat from Ara Laquenexy. At 4.15 p.m. a Hecond report was 
received that the advanced j^iard in question was ah'eady in- 
volved in a serious action. In this report General v. Glumer 
at the same time requested permission to follow up the 26th 
Infantry Brigade with the 2f)th, which had already been set in 
movement by his orders. 

General v. Zastrow did not consider a serious attack in the 
direction of the fortress within the spirit of the orders of the 
commander-in-chief of the 1st Army. But in order to be pre- 
pared for any contingency, he now also despatched ordei-s for the 
14th Infantiy Division and the corps artillery to advance to the 
heights between Laquenexy ami Colligny. He rode in person to 
the point where Goltz's brigade was engaged. On his reaching 
tlie Colombey heights soon after 5 o'clock, the advanced troops 
of the 1st Infantry Division, and on their left the head of the 
25th Infantry Brigade, were already moving into the line of 
battle. Of this brigade the 1st l)attalion 13th Regiment,* which 
had been at Colligny since the jn-evicms evening, was the first 
to move on the alarm of the 13th Division; it advanced on 
Coincy by way of Ogy. The 3rd battidion 73rd Regiment had 
been left behind in bivouac at Pange ; with the remaining four 
battalions of his brigade, llajor-General v. Osten Sacken was 
also on the march to Coincy. 

General v. Zastrow perceived at once that the combat had 
become serious and could not now be broken off. He assumed 
the command on the left wing, ordered forthwith the 25th 
Infantry Brigade to take part in the fight at the Coh)mbey 
brook, and issued a second order to the 14th Infantry Division 
to post the 27th Infantry Brigade between Marsilly and Colom- 
bey, as a reserve at his special disposal, while the 28th was to 
support General v. d. Goltz*s left wing. 

On arrival at the scene of action. Major Klipfel with the 1st 
battalion 13th Regiment advanced between the (Joincy bottom 
and the Saarbiiicken road and ascended the heights on the left 
bank of the Colombey brook. The battalion lost its commander 
and the four company leaders t in the stubborn action which 
raged at this point ; it had, however, supported on the right and 
left by detachments of the 1st Infantry Divisitm and the 26th 
Infantry Brigade respectively, already gained some gi'ound on 
the heights between the two high roads, when the 1st battalion 
73rd Regiment came up to reinforce it. 

Advancing in half-battalions and sunported by all the com- 
panies present of the 13th and 15th llegiments, the battalion 
drove back the enemy to the poplar avenue, which leads from 
Colombey to Bellecroix. With General v. Osten Sacken and its 
commander, Lieut.-Colonel v, Deutsch, at the head, it then ad- 
vanced without halting towards the betore-mentioned fir copse 
near the poplar avenue. In front of this, under a murderous nre, 

• See under 13t1i AupiHt. 

t Capfthii T. Hiilut iind nt'clclicriii, Ul T.init. v. Onibcn, wei-c wouuiled ; Captain 
Rifgen, killed. 


the compauies in the Colonibey paik had been engaged for a 
considerable time, and had Buffered very considerable losses/ 
The stormers pressed into the copse in spite of a withering 
shower of bullets and gained the further side. But the ground 
captured with such great bravery coidd not be maintained. 
Taken under fire firom three sides, the detachments which had 
penetrated were repulsed with heavy loss,t and in their retro- 

Kade movement impeded the further advance of the 2nd 
ttalion 78rd Regiment, following in the same direction* 
General v. Osten Sacken rallied his retreating detachments 
in the wood on the brook, and in the valley of Colombey. On 
arrival of the fusilier battn. 13th Regiment from Coincv, the 
General led forward the troops once more to the attack. Lieut.- 
Colonel V. Langen, commanding the 2nd battn. 73rd Regiment-, 
moved with his two half-battalions towards the north side of the 
fir copse, and that part of the poplar avenue which abuts upon 
it. He was joined on both sides by the detachments, assembled 
by General v. Osten Sacken. Lieut-Colonel v. Deutsch, in spite 
of his wound, continued at the head of his battalion, as long aa 
he had any strength remaining. The 9th Company of the nisi- 
Ker battn., 13th Reeiment, clune pertinaciouslv to the wood on 
the Colombev brook ; Major Bcmmer also led forward the other 
three towards the fir copse. The 2nd battalion of this regiment 
coming up from Coincy was now not far from the Saarbnicken 
road, advancing in rear of the centre of the line of battle. 

In addition to these, the movement was shared by the 3rd 
and 4th Companies of the 1st Rifle Battalion, which started with 
the rear portions of the 2nd Brigade, and bending to the right 
from the Saarbriicken road at the Maison isol^e, advanced along 
the low ground from Montoy. They now crossed the Colombey 
brook to the south of La Planchette, under a vigorous fire from the 
enemv, and joined the right wing of the 25th Infantry Brigade. 

The attack, thus prepared and vigorously carried out, met 
with success. About 6.45 p.m. the position on the Colombey- 
Bellecroix road,t which had been hitherto maintained by the 
adversary with the greatest stubbornness, was captured. The 
French retired from this point upon Bomy, whilst those to the 
north of the Saarbriicken road still held out. The victorious 
Prussian troops now made good then* position along the poplar 
avenue and in the fir copse. 

With this decisive result, the action on the extreme right wing 
of the Vllth and the extreme left of the 1st Army Corps, was 
to all intents and purposes brought to a close. The Prussian 
troops sought in vain to advance onward from this position 

* The 4tix Go. 16Ui Beat, loti here all its oAoen ; Major Bergiiu, who accom* 
panied this companT of his battalion, was also badlj wounded. Ci^tain t. Steinwehr 
of the 2nd battn. 65th Reeiment was killed. 

t Of the 1st battn. 73ia Begiment the battalion oommander and Captns. t. Peters- 
dorff and t. Bardeleben were wounded, the latter mortaUy^. 

t This for the most part is a flat hoUow way, flanked thnraghout its entire lensth 
on both tides with a oIomIj planted row of trees, altemateW poplars and flrs, so that 
it forms a regular defansiue outttng. The flr copse, which has been frequsntlj 
referred to, is an open oopse with loft j trees. 



towards the cross-roads at Belleeroix ; their forward movenients 
were repulsed by the enemy.* Equally fruitless were the 
repeated attempts of the French to regain the lost ground. An 
especially vigorous attack undertaken still later in the evening 
was sharply repulsed bj Lieut.-Colonel v. de Busche with the 
2nd Battalion 13th Regiment.t 

While the events, described as having taken place in the 
vigorous stniggleof v.Glumer's Division, caused a decisive change 
in favour of the Prussian arms, the situation on the right wing of 
the 1st Army Coi-ps had become, for the time, somewhat critical. 

General de Ladmirault, who was conducting the passage of 
the 4th French Corps over the bridges at Chambiire, had left 
Grenier's Division in the neighbourhood of Mey for the purpose of 
covering the retreat. It was against the advanced detachments 
of this Division that the companies of the 44th Regiment had 
gained, at the first onset, the advantages to wliich reference has 
recently been made.t As soon as General de Ladmirault was 
informed of this, he ordered both his other Divisions and the 
reserve artillery at once to show front. He gave instructions for 
(Jissey's Division to advance upon Mey, with a view to giving 
immediate support to Grenier^s Division, which was now yielding 
ground, and at the sametimeproceeded withLorencez'Division to 
turn the Prussian right wing by the north of the St. Barbe road. 

The attack of the 44th on tlie Mey wood had at this time 
already made progress, althougli with considerable loss.§ Major 
V. Ziegler, however, recognised the danger threatening from the 
north, and on purpose to avoid it in time, brought back his three 
companiesjl in good order to Nouilly. The other detachments of 
the regiment, in view of the enemy's superiority, were also re- 
called oy signal in order to relieve them from defeat in detail. 
At the same time General v. Memerty ordered the fusilier 
battalion 4th Regiment, which had been held in readiness 
to cover his right flank, to retire now to Servigny, whilst the 
fusilier battalion 41th Regiment took up a supporting position 
at Noisseville. 

It was past half-past six o'clock ; the Ist InfantryBrigade was 
still on the march to Montoy, the 4th was to the east of Ch&teau 
Gras. The 3rd Cavalry Division, alarmed at 5 p.m. by the 
thunder of the guns, had come up vid St. Barbo to the right 
wing of the line of battle in puimiance of a request from 
General v. Pritzelwitz, and had taken up a position in rear of it 
at Retonfay. A squadron of the 7th Lancers was in observa- 
tion on the right flank. 

In order to meet the danger from the flank attack threatening 
from the Bouzonvillo road, their first endeavour was to bring the 

* On this occaaion a French squadron of culrauicrs nrhich cliargcd the ekir- 
mishcrs of the rifles was repalsed with great loss. 

t In one of the last phases of the action Lieut, t. Alrensleben, in charge of the 
4th Rifle Companj, was mortallj wounded. 

t See pp. 311 and 812-313. 

§ See p. 313. Captain y. Puttkammer fell iK^re. 

11 Tho 4th Co. had only rocenlly been moTcd from the brewery toward* the 
Ooupillon mill. See p. 312. 


guns into play. With this object the 5th Light Batteiy was 
called away from its position at the brewery, and placed to the 
north-east of Noisseville close to the edge of the long valley ; 
it was from that point able to give support to the battalion in 
Servigny. Three other batteries shortly after came into action 
immediately to the right and north of this battery ; first the 
horse artillery batteiy of the Cavalry Division,* escorted by a 
squadron of lancers, and afterwards the 5th and 6th Heavy 
Batteries which had hastened ahead of the 4th Infantrv Brigade. 
The last-named battery was ordered by General v. Bergmann, 
who was personally commanding the artillery of the 1st Army 
Corps, to take up a position still further to the north of the 
others, between Senngny and Poix. 

French batteries had come into action on the heights of 
Villers FOrme, but no further advance of the enemy, as expected 
from that place, was as yet observable. It was soon evident that 
the three rrussian batteries on tlie edge of the valley at Noisse- 
ville were too far distant from the heights at Villers FOrme to 
produce an effect upon the enemy's artillery. They, therefore, 
again limbered up, and advanced in a northerly direction for the 

Purpose of seeking more favourable positions near Servigny. 
'he 5th Heavy Battery found a site close to the south-west 
side of this valley ; tlie 5th light battery to the noiih of it, 
on the left flank of the 6th heavy, which was already posted 
there. The horse artillery batteiy proceeded beyond Poix, and 
took up a position on the Bouzonviile road. 

Whilst these four batteries now came into action on the 
extreme right wing, the 5th light battery which had been 
brought forward firom the brewery into the centre of the line 
of battle, was replaced by the amval of the corps artillery of the 
1st Army Corps.t 

The latter had set out from the bivouac near Courcelles 
Chaussy at 5 o'clock. The batteries of horse artillery, followed 
by the heavy batteries, had advanced along the Saarbriicken 
road ; the light batteries had made use of a military road con- 
structed to tiae south of this road, and a bridge over the Nied. 
At a quarter past 6 o'clock both horse artillery batteries un- 
limbered on the left flank of the 6th Light Battery, which was 
still in action to the west of the brewery. 

To the south of Montoy, where the four field batteries of the 
corps artillery were to take up their position, the space was so 
contracted by the five battenes in action,} that it was only on 
the extreme left flank that the 8rd Heavy Battery could find a 
site, which was not particularly favourable from its low situation. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Gregorovius, commanding the divisioUi 
Grossed the low ground at Montoy with the 4th Heavy Battery, 

• lit H. A. BatteiT of VHth Annj Corps. 

t The Slid and Sid H. A. Batteries, and the 2nd Field Dirision, consisting of 
the 8rd and 4th Liglit and the 8rd and 4th HeaT7 Batteries. See p. 71*. 

t 1st Field DiTision of the 1st and the 6th Hearj Battery of the Vllth Armr 
Corps. See p. 814. 

E 2 


and took up a position at the north-west angle of the vineyard on 
the other side, which position extended beyond the left flank of 
the horse artillery batteries, and flanked them.* It successfully 
supported from that place the su1)sequent advance of the 3rd 

Whilst the attack of the 25th Infantry Brigade had about 7 
p.m. secured to the Prussian troops the possession of the left 
Dank of the Colombey brook, south of the Saarbrilcken high road, 
the infantry combat north of this road was doubtfully swaying 
backwards and forwards. In order also to develop greater 
artilleiy power on this part of the battle field, Captain v. Homf 
determined to bring forward across the valley the four batteries 
of the 1st Infantry Division, which were in action to the south 
of Montoy. He brought the 1st Heavv and 1st Light Batteries 
across the bridge at La Planchette, and unlimbered immediately 
behind the infantry skirmishers, at a distance of 1,200 paces fi-om 
the enemy. He then brought foi-ward the other two batteries* 
and placed them on the right of and between the first mentioned. 


1st Field Diyision of the 1st Aimy Corps. 

Q LauTalltcr. 

— -^ 2nd Light BatUry. 

-S- 1st HeaTj Battery. 

• ••••• 

From Mats rziizzizizizirizzriiimiizziiizziirr 

to Saarbrucken 

♦- — + 2nd llearj Battery. 

-I- 1st Light Battery. 

The effective ai-tillory fire from this very forward position, 
which was maintained until the end of the battle, contributed in 
no small degree to supporting the sulwequent advance of the 

too much elevation. 

Meanwhile, General v. Mantcuffel, having observed from the 
Noisseville heights that the enemy kept on extending his left 
wing to the northward, issued the following orders : — 

" Major-General v. Meraerty will hold, under all circum- 
stances, the positions of Noisseville and of the Nouilly valley. 
To co-operate in this, the corps artillery will also be brought up 
closer to Noisseville. The 1st Infantiy Brigade now advancing 
along the Saarbrucken road, will, on arrival, be posted near the 
brewery as general reserve. The 4th Infantry jBrigade, which 
is also approaching, will pass round the north of Noisseville, 
and, after leaving two battalions in the vuUey there as reserve, 
will meet the outflanking movements of the enemy by a 
counterstroke on his left flank.** 

* Both light batteries of the corps artillery wore not able to come so quickly 
alonff the mtUtary road ; they did not come up until hnlf-au-hour later, 
t See p. 814. 


In ezecntion of these orders the batteries posted between the 
brewery and Montoj wheeled half-right, so tnat they now occu- 
pied a fine between NoisseTille and Lauvallier. The two horse 
artilleiy batteries formed the right wing, close to the south-west 
angle of Noisseville. Next to them came the 6th Light Battery, 
then the two heavy batteries of the corps artiUei-y,* and lastly 
the two light batteries of the same, whidi arrived at 7.30. and 
took up a }>osition to the left, adjoining the batteries of the Ist 
Field Division. 

Thus, from this moment, the whole of the artillery of the 
1st Army Corps became engaged. Inclusive of the horse artillery 
battery of the Cavalry Division, it showed 90 guns in the front ; 
of these, 24 were to the south-west of LauvaUier, 42 between 
that place and Noisseville, and 24 between Servigny and the 
Bousonville road near Poix. 

ArtUlerf of the Ist Army Corps towards 7 p.m. 

to Bousonrillf . 

From Hets 

Battery of 8rd C. D. 

a Poix. 
+ 6th Ueary. 
•I- 5th Light. 

Q Seryigny. 
•h 5th Hcary. 

a Noisseyille. 

to Saarloiiis. 


8rd Light 

D LauTallier. 

1st Field DiTision. 
. (4 batteries.) 

* The 8rd Heary Battery had been meanwhile likewise brought up from its 
unfarourable position south of Montoy. 


On the extreme left wiug of the Ist Army the 7th Rifle Bat- 
taHon, under Lieiit.-Colonel Reinike, had meanwhile, for two 
hours, carried on an obstinate contest with a superior hostile 

As has been already montioniHl, the 4th Company of this bat- 
talion, in conjunction with det^ichments of the IStii Regiment, had 
at the commencement of the battle, captured the hostile shelter 
trenches on tlie licights south of (volombey, whilst tho other 
three companies were engaged under fire further to the left.* 
Between these heights and the woods in the direction of Borny 
was perfectly open ground, so that, in face of the numerically 
stronger enemy holding the wood, but veiy slow progress could 
be made. The 2nd Company had, however, succeeded in occu- 
pying some scrub east of the Borny wood, and from that place 
harassed the right flank of the French with its skirmishers. The 
battalion conmiander had also ncared the adversary with the 1st 
and 3rd Companies by taking them along an ascending gully and, 
from its upper end, bringing the fire of two divisions of the 3rd 
Company to bear upon the enemy lying under shelter in the wood. 

Ihe rifles, posted in this way round the north-east angle of 
tlie Borny wood in a semicircle, had been unable to make any 
progress during tho protracted skinnishing, although they had 
nevented the adversary's advance against the left flank of tho 
^•ussian position at Colombey. The steady and well-directed 
fire of the rifles caused the French especially heavy losses at this 

Such was the position of afiairs when, towards 7 p.m., the 
heads of the 28th Infantry Brigade appeared on the scene where 
the rifles were engaged. 


The Battle from 7 to 9 p,m, 

ArriTal of tba On receipt of the fii-st request, prefeired bv General v. d. Qoltz 
14th Infantry to General v. Kamekef before commencing his attack, the latter 
DiTiiion. officer had ordered his Division to stand to arms in the bivouac 

at Domangeville.} After he had set out with his Division towards 
4 o'clock, he received at VillersLaquenexy a communication with 
regard to the attack upon Colombey, Avith the request that he 
would support it on the left flauK. Whilst, in consequence 
of this, the Division was now continuing its march on Ars 
Laqiienexy, Gen(?ral v. Kamekc recjoived in rapid sncccKHion the 
Corm Conunandei*s' orders,§ of which the second sunmioned tho 
27th Infantry Brigade to the neighbourhood between Marsilly 
and Colombey as genei'al reserve to the corps. Consequently 
General v. Woyna, with the 28th Infantry Brigade, aloae con- 
tinued in the previous direction, and appeared, as already 
observed, on the battle-field to the south-west of Colombey 
towards 7 o'clock. 

• Sec p. 308. t See p. 307. J Hce p. 296. § Sec p. 816. 


Ad the fusilier battalion of the 53rd occupied, aa we know, the 
station at Courcelles siur Nied,* while the fusilier battalion with 
the 8th Company 77th Regiment had been appointed as escort to 
the corps and divisional artillery, General v. Woyna had not quite 
four battalions of his brigade at disposal. During his advance, 
however, the 1st Light Battery and the 15th Hussars were 
assigned to him. The latter was directed upon Grigy to cover 
the left flank, but found the place occupied by the enemy. 

The infantry had advanced by way of Ars Laquencxy, and 
extended its right wing as far as Ch&teau Aubiguy. 

As soon as the 53rd Regiment, leading the advance, came 
within range of the enemy's fire, Colonel v. Gerstein deployed 
his 2nd battalion into company columns, which pushed forward 
into the alreadjr-mentioned position of the three riile companies, 
and opened a vigorous file-hre upon the edge of the opposite 

The 1st battalion formed half-battalions in rear of the 2ud. 
The 1st and 4th Companies followed at first the right wing of the 
2nd battalion by way of Ch&teau Aubigny, but afterwards, for 
the purpose of outflanking the adversary's right, moved onward 
in a south-westerly direction in rear of the line of battle of the 
rifles and the 2Dd battalion. Their movement being screened 
by a hedge, both companies, first of all the 4th and then the 1st 
extending to the left and beyond the former, reached the poplar 
avenue leading to Grigy. The^ took up a firm position there 
and commenced a musketry action against the south side of the 
Borny copse, which was likewise strongly occupiedf 

The 2nd and 3rd Companies had worked their way from Ars 
liaquenexy through the wood on the west as far as the rear of the 
the left wing of the foremost battalion. When they subsequently 
advanced beyond La Grange aux Bois, they found, on the left, 
Kehl's half battalion already engaged, whilst, on the ri^ht, the 
2nd battalion and the rifles were carrying on a contest against the 
east side of the copse. They therefore formed up temporarily on 
the deeply sunken road to Borny, and, facing the copse, formed 
a reserve to the brigade in rear of the centre of its line of battle. 

Colonel V. Conrady, commanding the 77th Regiment, had been 
ordered to extend the left flank of the brigade with the seven 
companies at hand. In pursuance of this he had likewise moved 
towards the poplar avenue leading to Grigy, in rear of the line of 
battle. Two companies of the 1st battn. wheeled up towards the 
south-west angle of the Borny wood, the other five companies 
advanced towards Grigy along the avenue in question. The two 
first maintained a standing fight, in conjunction with the left 
wing of the 53rd, against the south and south-west sides of the 
copse, which was stm defended by the enemy with stubbornness. 

Meanwhile the 1st Light Battery had come into action at 

* See p. 296. This Gouroelles sur Nied must be distinguiBbed from the Cour- 
celles Chatuty preriouslj referred to, where the l^t Division hud bivouacked. 

t Ist Lieutenant jLehl, ,in command of the half battalion, was killed in this 


the northeniinoBt angle of the Ars Laquenexy wood, and from 
that point played a most efficient part in the action on the right 
I ^^£ ^^ Woyna's brigade. 

The rifles and the 2nd battalion of the 53rd under Major 
Himpe now advanced together against the north-east comer of 
the copse, and made a concentric attack upon it with success. 

During this infantiy combat the 15th Hussars had formed a 

connecting link between the troops of tlie 18th Infieintry Di-vision 

coming up from the southward, and the 1st Cavalry Division, 

which, on its part, connected itself with the left wing of the 

28th Infantry Brigade in action at Qrigy. 

Attack of the The 18th Infantry Division belonging to the Ilnd Army, had 

18th Inhaatrj after a severe march, reached the Metz-Strassburg hi^h roud ou 

OKftl^ the afternoon of the 14th August, and bivouacked wim the main 

Difitiras. body at Buchy. At 5 p.m., when Lieutenant-General Baron v. 

Wrangel was on his way to his advanced pai*ties at Orny, he 
received the report of an action heard to the northward, conse- 
quently, with the 1st Army. Colonel v. Alvensleben/ command- 
ing the 15th Lancers, at the same time made further communi- 
cations of a similar nature. In consequence of these, a partici- 
pation by the 18th Infantry Division U'om the southward, in the 
apparently still vigorous but undecided contest, mve promise 
ot ^eat success. This view was shared by Colonel v. firanden- 
6tein,t commanding the outposts, from independent observation. 

Lieutenant-General v. Wranj^el, on receipt of the first in- 
telligence, had given onlors for his main body to hold itself in 
readiness to march. He now issued orders for the Division to 
advance rapidly noithwarils, reported this to the officer com- 
manding the lAth Army Corps at Luppy, and foiihwith moved 
off with the advanced guard westwaru of the Strassburg high- 
road on Peltre. 

Leading the column were two squadrons of the 6th Dragoons, 
close in rear followed the 2ud and 3rd battns* of the 36th, with 
the dud Light Battery of the 9th Artillery Regiment. These troops 
were joined shortly after by the other two squadrons of the Dra- 
goons, which were attached to the main body of the Division. 

Peltre was found to bo evacuated by the enemy. Colonel v. 
Brandensteiu now hastened forward, with the batteiy and a 
sauadron as escort, to the heights of Mercy le haut Chftteau, 
whither he was followed by the remainder of the dragoons and 
provisionally by two companies of the 2nd battalion At 6.30 
p.m. Captain v. Eynatten unlinibered at the angle formed by 
the high road and the road leading to the chateau, and opened 
fire upon a hostile battery at Grigy and the columns of French 
infantry now visible there. 

The Ist Cavalry Division, which was especially detailed by the 
commander-in-chief of the Ist Army to watch tne enemy's pro- 

* This ufUcer was returning, rii Floury, from the rcconnaisiance alluded to on 
p. 802. 

t Commoiuicr of the 8Glh Fusiliers. 


ceediugSy had as early as 1*45 p.m, perceived the rearward move- 
ment of the French.* During the course of the afternoon the 
4th Lancers, supported by an infantry detachment which had 
advanced as far as Jury, endeavourea to cross the railway, but 
were prevented by the resistance of the enemy's rearguards. In 
consequence of the communications received as to the intentions 
of General v. d. Goltz and of the action commenced shortly after 
by the Vllth Armv Corps, General v. Hartmann had assembled 
his Division at Mecleuves and united the two cuirassier regi- 
ments into a brigade under Major-General v. Liideritz. 

At 6.30 p.m., on the approach of the advanced guard of the 
18th Infantry Division, Cuderitz' cavalry brigade with the 
hoi'se artillery batteryt crossed the railway east of Frontigny, 
abreast of tfie Division. Whilst two squadrons of the 2nd 
Cuirassiers formed the connection with the Vllth Army Corps 
between Mercy le haut and Ars Laquenexy, Captain Preinitzer, 
with the battery and the 4th squadron 3rd Cuirassiers as escort, 
passed between Peltre and Mercy le haut to the west side of 
the Strassburg high-road, fi-om which place he beUeved that he 
could take a more effective part in the fight. In spite of all the 
difficulties presented by abbatis and trenches, the battery gained 
the plateau of the ridge between Peltre and Grigv. In conjunc- 
tion with Eynatten's battery, and in its gradual advance occu- 
pying a position to the left front of the latter, it played a 
successful part in the attack on Grigy. 

While the remaining cuirassier squadrons formed up in readi- 
ness on the high-road, the infantry of the 18th Division con- 
tinued their march upon and alongside it. 

Major-General v. blumenthal, who assumed the command of 
the advanced ffuard, had caused Peltre to be temporarily occu- 

Eied by the 6tn and 7th companies of the 36th Kegiment ; he 
ad moved forward by Mercy le haut with the remaining six 
companies of the regiment. He now came into commimication 
with the troops of Woyna's brigade, advancing simultaneously 
from the eastward towards Grigy, and supported them in the 
fight. The enemy abandoned the village, wnich was occupied by 
the 2nd battalion of the 77th ; he likewise evacuated the southern 
part of Bomv wood, into which the rifles and the companies of 
the 53rd had abeady penetrated from the north-east. J 

The advanced guard of the 18th Infantry Division was next 
followed by the 84th Regiment. As soon as its approach ap- 
peared to secure the occupation of Peltre, the other two com- 
panies of the 36th Re^ment, which had been left beliiud there, 
advanced along the high-road. 

After 8 o*clock the 2nd Heavy Battery, which had hastened 
forward from the main body of the 18th Infantry Division, came 
up alongside of Preinitzer's battery. Both batteries directed a 

* See p. 806. 

t The lit H. A. Battery of the Itt Artillery Regiment. 

X See pp. 888-824. 


coucentrated fire upon the enemy, who was eivinff way at all 
points from Grigy and Bomy wood. 
Piognu and The events on the right wing of the Prussian line of battle 

Cii^'^*ii ^*^v® been followed up to the period when the detachments 
jjf^j^^'^ which had been pushed fonvard by way of Nouilly and towards 
Corps. the Mey copse were retiring before a superior hostile force, and 

when General v. Manteuiiel took measures to meet the outflanking 
movement which was threatening from Villers FOrme.* His 
intention, as we have seen, was, by the deployment of a laree 
force of artilleiy and the retention of the 1st Iniantry Brigade 
behind the Nouilly valley, to hold this position defensivelv, but 
at the same time to deal a counter stroke with the 4th Inuintry 
Brigade upon the left flank of the adversary*s advance. 

in the struggle of the Corps, so far as our descriptiou extends, 
seven battalions were already engaged. Of the 2nd Infantry 
Brigade, there were the 43rd Regiment and two rifle companies, 
in conjunction with the right wing of the 13th Infantry Division ; 
from the 3rd Infantry Brigade, the greater part of the 4th Regi* 
ment was fighting on tlie heights of Bellecroix. Of the latter 
brigade six companies of the 44th Uugiment were engaged at 
Nouilly and Mey.f In addition to these the fusilier battalion 
4th Regiment had been already despatched to Servigny. The 
remainder of the two advanced guard brigades, whichhad as ^et 
taken no part, had now to be brought up to restore the wavermg 

Before the measures in (luestion of the coips commander were 
carried into effect, General v. Memerty had ordered the other 
half of the 44th Regiment,| hitherto held back at Noisseville, to 
give support to the companies retiring by Nouilly, and to prepare 
for the attack. 

In consequence of this the 5th and 8th Companies moved 
forward to recapture the recently al)andoned heights to the south- 
west of Nouillv, whilst Major Dallmer, with the fusilier battalion, 
advanced agamst the village itself and the heights to the noiiih 
of it. The fusiliers had deployed eici^ht divisions into one line 
of skirmishers ; the remaining four aivisions followed in close 
order. In this fonnntion the left wing of the battalion traversed 
the low-lying village still unoccupied by the enemy, whilst the 
right passed to the northward of it. After ascending the 
opposite vine-clad bank, the battalion took up the contest against 
the French now advancing by Mey, whilst the two companies oi 
the 2nd battalion pressed forward at the same time in the vine- 
yards south-west of Nouilly. 

These detachments of the 44th Regiment were now also 
joined by battalions of the other advanced guard brigade. 

Lieut.-General v. Bentheim, conunanding the Ist Infantry 
Division, who was directing from Lauvallier the attack on the 

• See pp. 318 and 320. 

t Inclusive of the 4ih Companj which only moYed to the Goupillon mill later. 

X 5th Co.| Stb Co., and Fuulier Battalion. 


Belleoroix heights, had Bent orders to the 3rd Regiment, now on 
the march, to turn off to the right towards Montoy, and after- 
wards to adyance in a north-westerly direction, fey doin^ so 
the connexion between the Ist ana 2nd Infantry Diyisions, 
which in the opinion of the General was as yet too loose, would 
become perfectly secure. 

Colonel V. Legat received this order as the regiment was on 
the Saarbriicken road, nearly abreast of Flanville. He at once 
chaneed direction and advanced by way of Montoy towards 
Nouilly, The 1st battalion leading the advance had already 
thrown forward the two flank companies when south of Montov, 
and moved in the new direction in two parallel lines, the right 
wing bein^ formed of the Ist Company in front and the 2nd 
Company in second line. From the heights of Montoy the 
struggle at Lauvallier and Nouilly could be distinctly observed, 
giving rise to the impression that the enemy, who had just re- 
captured the vineyards of Nouilly, was endeavouring to out- 
flcmk the Prussian right. 

The Colonel now assigned Lauvallier as the point of direction 
for the 1st Battalion, and brought forward the 2nd Battalion 
on the right wing for the purpose of gradually outflanking the 
adveraary by a liolf-right movement and a left wheel. The 
fusilier battalion was to follow this movement. 

The order, in the first instiince, alone reached the left wing 
of the 1st Battalion, so that the Ist and 2nd Companies retained 
the direct road to Nouilly, and only the two otlici-s, in accord- 
ance with the instructions, took the road through Lauvallier. 

The 2nd Battalion, following the 1st and 2nd Companies, 
moved, after crossing the high-road, towards the south-west 
angle of Nouilly; the fusiUer battalion, on its left, took the 
direction of tlie Goupillon mill. In this order the regiment ap- 
proached the valley Detween Nouilly and Goupillon, the enemy 
from the further slope of the heights keeping up a brisk fire 
upon these newly visible troops. 

Before we describe their subsequent proceedings we nmst cast 
a glance at the situation of the Wt wing of the Ist Army Corps 
on both sides of the Saarlouis hij^h-road. 

It has already been remarked that the first attack of the fore- 
most troops of the 1st Division* and of some detachments of the 
2nd advancing from the brewer y,f had failed against the Belle- 
oroix heights south of this road, but that subsequently the troops 
had received support from one of the advancing half-battalions.| 
Somewhat later the 2nd battlion of the 43rd Regiment had 
arrived and moved from Lauvallier on both sides of the great 
road towards the heights in question, whilst the troops which 
had given way were also once more led to the front. 

All the detachments had gradually gained so much ground 

* The FuBilior Baitn. of the 43rd and 2 oos. of the Ut Rifle Battalion. Sec p. 313. 
t The Ist and 4th Cos. of the 4th Regiment. Bee p. 318. 
X The 2nd and 8rd Got. of the 48rd ; the other two cos. of the let Battn. were 
fighting to the north of the Saarlouis road. Sec p. 314. 


in tbe tough and bloody action, that the artilleiy of the 1 at In- 
fantry Division, as we have already seen, was enabled to un- 
limber on the west side of the valley. 

The 3rd Company 3rd Regiment, after ascending the slopes 
from Lauvallier m a westerly direction, now also took part in 
this protracted contest, wliich was maintained with unabated 

Between 7 and 8 p.m. the troops fighting at this point sue* 
coeded in prossiue forward to where the poplar avenue from 
Colombey meets the Saarbriicken road, and there completing the 
connexion with the ri^ht whig of the 13th Infantry Division. 
The troops of this Division kept firm hold of the ground which 
had been so bloodily contested. Some detachments, as, for in- 
stance, the ftisilier battalion 55th Regiment, had established 
themselves to the north of the Saarbriicken road. 

North of the Saarlouis road, after the failure of the first dash 
for the Bellecroix heights made on the south of it. Major v. 
Schrotter, commanding the 1st battalion 4th Regiment, had 
endeavoured, with the 1st and 4th Companies, to join the other 
half of his battalion, and succeeded in doing so. With the 
latter, as we are aware. Colonel Tietzen, commanding the re^- 
ment, had for some time been maintaining a desperately^ bloody 
contest for the possessiou of the heights between the high-road 
and the De la Tour mill, during which the two musketeer 
battalions of the 43rd had gradually come up alongside with 
the half battalions which were advancing on the north side of the 
high-road.* While the 6th and 7th Companies of the latter regi- 
ment had first pushed along the high-road up the heights into 
the thick of tne struggle, and relieved Colonel v. Tietzen's 
exhausted companies, ine 2nd battalion 4th Regiment also ap- 
peared immediately to their right. Its commander, Major v. 
Conring, had despatched the 7th company to the Qoupillon mill 
for the purpose of taking up the connexion with the 4th Company 
44th Regiment, and had leit the 6th in reserve behind the valley; 
he advanced >vith the 5th and 8th to the right flank of the fore- 
most fighting line on the Bellecroix heights. But with these 
small forces no progress could be effected against the strong 
positions of the enemy between Bellecroix and Vantoux. 

In consequence of the necessaiy retreat of the detachments 
of the 44th on the Nouilly heights, the troops engaged to the 
south of the De la Tour mill were seriousl v threatened in the 
right flank. In order to obtain some relief on this side, all the 
detachments of the 4th Regiment at hand advanced to the 
attack ; the firat, personally led by the commander of the regi- 
ment, was the Ist battalion of the 4th, which, on the amval of 
Major V. Schrotter, as stated, had been reformed in the Lau- 
vallier valley. It was foUowed by the parts of the 2nd battalion 
which had just been engaged on the Bellecroix heights, and by 
the 6th Company left behind the Lauvallier valley. 

• The 6th and 7th Cos. of the 2nd Battalion, the 1st and 4ih Cos. of the 1st 
Battalion in rear. 


Into this second line of attack advanced also the half-battalion 
of the 43rd Regiment^* consisting of the 1 st and 4th Companies; 
The 4th Company of the 3rd Regiment advancing by Lauvallier 
also joined in this movement, which took the general direction 
of Mey and Vantoux. 

In consequence of the view being impeded by the broken 
nature of the ground, </it> attack also resulted in isolated advances, 
which were quite ineflFective, owing to the strength of the enemy's 
positions. Though losing heavilyt very little progress could be 
made, until at length the arrival of the two intact battaUons of 
the 3rd Regiment produced a decisive change at this point. 

At the nrst rush they ascended the vineyard in front from 
the Goupillon side, Nouilly and the environs having just before 
fallen into the hands of the 44th. Colonel v. Le^at's two bat- 
talions, accompanied by the 6th and 7th Companies of the 4th 
Regiment and on his immediate right by detachments of the 
44ui, now pressed forward victoriously along the Mey heights, 
whilst the repulsed adversary retired upon tnis village and the 
copse lying to the eastward of it. Major v. Arntm led the 2nd 
battalion 3rd Regiment against this wood, surrounded it with the 
5th and 8th Companies n*om the south-west and with the 6th 
and 7th from the north-east, and captured it at the first assault. 
Upon this the 12th Company of the regiment, and the two com- 
panies of the 4th which liad advanced with it, also pressed for- 
ward into Mey and occupied it in the darkness which now 

The long line of guns south-west of Noisseville had played 
an essential part in this decisive struggle on the Mey heights, 
especially during the first advance. This line had been mean- 
while joined by Major Coester, with the two horse artillery bat- 
teries of the corps artillery, Vllth Corps, when his services were 
no longer required at the places where his own corps was engaged. 
But as the successful attack of the infantry upon the Nouilly 
heights and the advance towards Mey shortly rendered the action 
of artillery unnecessary at this point, all four horse artillery bat- 
teries moved forward as far as the edge of the valley north of 
Nouilly, from whence they at the same time prepared the way 
for the advance of the fusilier battalion of the 4th Regiment. 

This battalion, which had been previously sent to Servigny, 
had been acting as escort at that place, and at Poix, to the four 
batteries which, on the extreme right flank of the Prussian line 
of battle, were engaged in cannonading the hostile artillery on 
the heights of Villers rOrme. After our efforts had been con- 
fined as yet to holding the hostile artillery to some degree in 
check, Lieut.-Colonelv. Pallmenstein received orders at 7.45 p.m. 
to advance to the attack. With the 12th Company in front, the 
battalion moved off in the direction of the hostile batteries, the 
right flank being covered by the 9th Company advancing along 

• Soe p. 827. 

t Captain Anders, commaudiog the 5th Co. 4th Rogiment, wm killed. 


the Boiizonville road. When the battaHon came into action, 
between Mey and Villcrs rOrnie, in the firat shades of twiUght, 
the batteries at the latter phice had already retired, but the 
flashing of rifles and the thud of bullets betokened the pre- 
sence of hostile infantiy. The battalion opened fire, and con- 
tinued it until it was no longer answered on the French side.* 

WhilHt the enemy was thus giving way generally (»n the 
battle field to the north of the VallicrcH brook and the Nouilly 
valley, a reaction had taken place in the situation of the fight 
between Lauvalliur and the Goupillon mill. 

After a long and bloody struggle against the strong positions 
between Bellecroix and Mey, the strength of the troops, whose 
foi*mation had been much loosened during the course of the 
fight, began to fail. Being already for the most part deprived 
of their leaders, the various detachments f gradually dropped 
back into the Lauvallier valley on the approach of night, and 
commenced to move along the eastern slope to the high road. 
Lieut.-General v. Bentheim, who was at this time with the 
batteries of the left ^ving, hastened towards the retiring troops, 
and by his exhoitations brought them to a stand. After they 
had been fomied into two large bodies the General placed him- 
self at their head with drawn sword, and again led them fonvard, 
drums beating, to the edge of the valley and against the enemy, 
who now also began to give way at this point. 

Meanwhile perfect darkness had almost set in. Over the 
whole of the extensive line of battle from Grigy to the Bouzon- 
ville road the hostile army was in full retreat towards Metz 
and the Moselle. The long range heavy artillery from the works 
of thti fortress, espccjially from Fort St. Julien, now i»pened fire 
upon the general advance of the Prussian troops. 

On the extreme left flank, Captain Preinitzer with the horse 
artillery battery of the Ist Cavalry Division followed up, with 
frequent changes of position, the adversaiVs retreat from Qrig5% 
as long as the flashes of the enemy's nre-arms pennitted an 
approximate estimation of the range. 

When the struggle on this wdng ceased at 9 p.m., the troops 
in that direction^ were brought back to their former bivouacs. 
The 4th Lancers, which had been assembled at Jury, took up the 
outpost duties on this side of the fortress. 

The appearance of fresh troops on the scene whore the 1st Army 
Coi-ps was engaged, ledstilllaterin the eveningto some encountera 
with the enemy. Whilst the struggles as yet described — main- 
tained, it is true, by all their available strength, and not without 
important support from a numerous artillery, — had been entirely 

* The battalion lost in this action two company leaders : Capt. ▼. SohulUendorif 
was Iciilod and Lieut. Erdinannn wounded. 

t These were parts of the 43rd, 4th, 44th, and 8rd Begiments, coniequentlj of all 
regiments belonging to both adrauced guard brigades, which, from their being in 
the centre of the line of battle of the Ist Army (>>rpe, had not participated either 
in the odranco of the right wing upon Mej, or in that of the left towards the northern 
side of the poplar arenue from Colombej. 

X From the ISth Infantrj Pirision and the 1st Caralrj DiTiston. 


suBtaiuedby the advanced giiardB, both the other u) fan try brigades 
of the corps had uninterruptedly continued their advance. 

When the let Brigade, which had Quitted its bivouac near 
Courcelles-ChaUBsy at 5.30., arrived at Montov, General v. Gayl 
directed the 1st battalion 4l8t Regiment at its head to move upon 
Lauvallier, whence a vigorous roar of battle resounded at this 
very moment. The General next sent forward both his fusiUer 
battalions'*' to Noisseville for the purpose of supporting his 
apparently threatened right flank, and took up with the re- 
mainder of the brigade a position in reserve near the brewery, 
as ordered by General v, Manteuffel. On reaching this place 
the last crisis, already described, of the fight in the Lauvallier 
valley had taken place. When General v. Bentheim once more 
led forward his troops against the enemy, he had, in order to 
ensure success, also ordered the advance of the Ist Brigade. As, 
however, the co-operation of the latter was no longer wanted, the 
2nd battalion 41st Regiment, alone advanced from the brewery 
by wajr of Lanvallier, and took up a position to protect the 
batteries of the 1st Infantry Division in action on the west side 
of the valley. 

Meanwhile the 1st Battalion of this regiment, which had 
already taken the direction of Lauvallier from Montoy, moved 
further along the slopes of the valley. Accompanying at first on 
the left rear the advance of Colonel v. Legat upon Mey, the bat- 
talion under the personalleadingof Lieut.-Colonel v.HUUessem, 
commanding the reeiment, continued this forward movement 
through Vantonz on V alli&res, and from thence ascended the ridge 
in the direction of the Bouzonville road. The columns of General 
Ladmirault retiring along this road were here met with, and a 
battery was forthwith brought into action by them to meet the 
imexpected flank attack. No further advsmce of the weak 
detachments in the immediate neighbourhood of Fort St. Julien 
could of course be attempted. After the foremost companies had 
maintained a file-fire for some time on the high road by which 
the enemy was retiring, the battalion was brought back by way 
of Yalliires. 

Of the fusiliers sent forward to Noisseville the two companies 
of the Crown Prince's Regiment had gradually inclined so far to 
the left that they were able to take part in General v. Bentheim's 
last advance against the Bellecroix heights. They then advanced 
independently, and after crossing the Yallieres orook ascended 
the opposite vine-clad slopes, apparently to the westward of the 
point previously passed by the battalion of the 41st, which was 
now seen to be skirmishing on the riffht flank. In the darkness 
which had meanwhile set m, thev stul endeavoured to take at 
least a demonstrative part in tnis struggle, by beating drums 
and firing vigorously. 

Later on both companies united with the detachments of the 

* Onlj 6 oompMiiM in all. The 9th and 11th OompanieB of the Grown Prinoe't 
(the lit) Regiment had remained in rear to hold Courcelloe-Chauiey. 


4l6t on the south side of tlie Yallihes valley, where other 
isolated blows had been meanwhile dealt against the enemy's 

The fusilier battalion 4lRt Regiment had continued in the 
direction of Noisseville, originally assigned to it. The 10th 
Company passed round the west of the village, crossed the valley 
in front, and in the course of the evening reached Villers TOnne. 
The other three companies, which had t^iken the road eastward 
of the village, occupied the vineyards between Noisseville and 
Serviguy, and from thence kept up conimimication with the 4th 
Infantry Brigade. 

Formed up in the first instance at Chateau Gras and fiom 
thence marched on Noisse\a]le, this brigade received instructions 
from the commander of the corps at 7 p.m., to send forward 
two battalions to Nouilly, and with the rest of the troops to meet, 
from Servigny, a threatened flank movement of the enemy. 
In accordance with this, both gi*enadier battalions of the 5tii 
Regiment first moved round the north of Noisseville upon 
Nouilly. As on their airival the crisis at that point had been 
already fortunately overcome through the advance of the fresh 
companies of the 44 th and the energetic attack of the 3rd 
Regiment, the two l)attalions were posted as reserve in the 
vineyards to the north-west of Nouilly. 

For the purpose of canning out the remainder of his task, 
General v. Zglinitzki had ordered both musketeer l)attalions of 
the 45th Re^nient to cross the valley in front and the vineyards 
in the direction of Semgny. Passing to the westward of this 
village, they took the direction of Villers I'Onne, as previously 
taken by the fusilier battiilion 4th Regiment; the general fol- 
lowed this movement with the two fusilier buttalioiis of the 
brigade. Owing to the existing circumstances, however, it 
was never carried out, for, as the action ceased at all points at 
nightfall, the further advance of the brigade was stopped. The 
musketeer battalions remained on the liei^hts of Nouilly and 
Villers TOnne, * the fusiliers in a depression of the ground, 
somewhat furtlior eastward. 


It has been already statgd that the commandor-in-chief of 
the Xst Army had no intention of attaoking^ the French within 
immediate range of their fortress ; neither, indeed, did the con- 
tents of the reports, which rcachtul the head-quarters at Variee 
even during the early part of the afternoon, foreshadow a collision 
vnth the enemy on the 14th August. But when towards 5 o'clock 
further reports from the 1st and VIII tb Army Corps had brought 
the intelligence, surprising under the oirouniBtances, ot an im* 
pending or already commenced action on the Mets plateau, 
Genertd v. Steinmetz moved off towards the Soarlouis road, and 
sent oflSoers firom his staff to various points of the battle-field; 

• In one of tbeie Captain r. Horn, iSrd Ragimont, wa« killed. 


ivith orders to break off the action. Aa, however, it was evident 
fipom farther reports that the struggle was raging in earnest, 
the General now ordered Rex' brigade* likewise to advance 
from its position near Varize upon les Etangs. The remainder 
of the Vnith Army Corps received orders to move from Bion- 
ville to Varize. 

Shortly before, a req^uest from General v. Pritzelwitz to sup- 
port the 2nd Infantry Division in its stniggle against the French 
advance upon Pont k Chaussy, also reached Colonel v. Rex, who 
applied to the general commanding his corps, if he might com- 
ply with this demand. General v. Goeben was unable to attaoh 
any serious importance to an attack undertaken so late in the day, 
on the supposition that it was commenced by the enemy. More- 
over, he was unwilling to see his Army Corps, which formed the 
reserve to the Army, weakened unnecessarily, and he therefore 
made the pennission to move forward the 32nd Infantry Brigade 
dependent on the concurrence of the commandeNin-chief. The 
recently-mentioned order to march on Varize did not reach 
General v. Goeben, until nearly 9 o'clock. This officer had 
personally convinced himself that the struggle in front of Metz 
was at an end, and now very properly doubted the expediency 
of holding his corps in readiness for a niffht march ; he reportea, 
however, that his troops would be ready at daybreak. Under 
the existing circumstances this view of the situation of affairs 
could not but meet with the approval of the commander-in- 

Meanwhile Generals v. Steinmetz and v. Manteuffel had met 
at the brewery towards 8 p.m. 

At this time vigorous fighting was going on at different 

{joints, but the issue of the battle could no longer be doubtfal, 
or on the slopes of the valley between Colombey and Nouilly 
the enemy's Ime was driven back at all points, and was evidently 
already in retreat towards Metz. An hour later the struggle 
was entirely ended. Only the heavy fortress artilleiy still illu- 
mined the darkness of the night with the shell it hurled upon 
the Prussians. On the heights at the brewery the band of the 
Crown Prince's Grenadier Regiment struck up the '* Heil Dir im 

Jwight and the propinquity of the fortress prevented any 
further profit being denved from the advantages we had gained. 
The possibility was also not excluded of the hostile masses, pre- 
sumed to be between and in rear of the forts, again moving 
forward with reinforcements at daybreak against the present 
&r-advanced positions of the 1st and Vllth Army Corps. 

General v. Steinmetz therefore ordered the return of both 
Corps to their former positions, but, in consideration for the 
wounded and the victorious feeling of the troops, allowed the 

* The 82iid Inftatry Brigade, Vlllth Armj Oorpe. The ofcher hrigade of the 
10th lafimtTf DiTJnon wm »t that time, m we^ are aware, carryuig out the enter- 
;niM against ThionrUle. 


latter to remain on the captured battle-field for the next few 

The advance of Rex' brigade to los Etangs, commenced in 
pursuance of former instructions, had been countei*manded in 
consequence of the favourable issue of the battle. On the other 
hand, Gciiend v. Steinmetz sent orders in the course of the 
night to the 3rd Cavahy Division, which had moved into bivouac 
at 8.15 p.m. on the approacli of evening, to return to the field of 
battle and cover the removal of the wounded. 

The movements of the Ibt Amiy Corps were canned out in 
accordance with these orders of tnc commander-in-chief, and, 
withcmt neglecting all possible care of the wounded, continued 
far into the night. The corps subsequently resinned its former 
outpost position. 

The general connnanding the Vllth Army Coi'ps had, mean- 
while, given indimendent ordei-s that, **in oraer not to allow any 
'* wounded to fall into the enemy's hands, and to maintain the 
" honour of having held the battle-field," the corps was to 
bivouac, firelock in hand, on the severely contested ground, and 
not return until daybreak to its former positions. As the com- 
mander-in-chief's iustructions were not received until late at 
night, the orders which had been isHued remained valid. 

The line of outposts of the coi'ps extended close in fi'ont of 
the fortress from urigy past Borny wood, then along the oft- 
mentioiKMl ])()plar avcmie of Colonibey to the Saarbriicken road. 
On the right wing, which HtretrluMl as far as the Saarlouis high- 
road, two coinpanios of the 7th Pioneer Battalion had under- 
taken the ()uti)OHt duties.* 

The battle of Colombey-Nonilly had entailed heavy losses on 
both sides, especially on that of the attacking troops. They 
amoimted on tne pail of the Prussians to close upon 5,000 men, 
including 222 officers.f 

* Tlie 2nd and 3rtl. Thc^' had been plnceil from the commencement of the actiou 
nt the disposal of the coninmnder of tlic 13th Kcginient. 
t The lu88 is dibtrlbutc<l among the brigadee as follows : 

1st Inf. Bngude 02 men. 

o 1 1 r'79 fTlie two advanced guard brigades 

Qi " o«9 " S of the corps i the last was 7 

"^^^ " "^^^ »' I battns. strong. 

4th .. 10 

1st Army Corps- 

n *^ i» 

nth liifv Divn i ^'^^^ " '^^ " ^ battns. strong. 

lJthInt).l)nn.j^,.j,^ „ 1,087 „ 7 „ 

281 h „ 128 „ The other brigade of the 14th 

Division whs not engaged. 
18th Infy. Divii. 35th „ 35 „ 

The Artille'ry lost a total of 122 nu-n. 
The loss of the cavah'v was verj slight. 
Compare ulso Appendix p. 113 et seq. 

A eompirison with the two previous bnttUvs r^hows tliat in these latter the foHow- 
\\\'^ iufniitry bri«^iidos siiiiYered losses (!<fecding 1,000 men. 

At Worth : LSth Infy. Bri^rmlc - 1,177 ( 7th and 47th Regts.) 

19th „ . 1,023 ( 6th „ 46th „ ) 

20th „ . I,<i25 {;.\h{\\ „ 5()th „ ) 

At Spi..)uMvn: 27th „ - l.nVJl^JSMh „ 7Mh „ ) 


The French loss is giveu according to their returns as 
follows : — 

Killed - 42 officers - 335 men. 

Wounded - 157 „ - 2,484 „ 

Missing - 1 „ - 589 „ 

200 officers. 3,408 men. 

Of these, 140 officerK and 2,702 men, or by far tlie greatest 
part, belonged to the 3rd Corps, the commander of which, 
General Decaen, succumbed a few days later to a severe wound 
received in the battle. Marshal Bazaine, the commander-in- 
chief, had received a severe contusion.* 

Concluding Observations. 

The battle of Colombey-Nouilly may be cliaracterised in itd 
origin and course as an improvised attack entered into from a 
correct appreciation of the cncumstances, but which at the same 
time, as regards the higher object, carried with it certain dis- 

The successes at Weissenburg, Worth, and Spicheren which 
were known to the troops, and which were even in part gained 
W them, had inspired gi-eat hopes of victory throughout the 
Geiman army. During tlie advance from the Saar to the Moselle, I 
places were constantly passed where the enemy had Avithout any 
attempt at resistance abandoned positions, which had evidently 
been prepared for defence. This continuous retreat without 
halting or resistance could not but engender a feeling of gi*eat 
superiority in the German army, and awaken the desire to bring 
the apparently panio*stricken foe once more to bay. To this may 
be aaded an important motive in the case of the Ist Army, 
namely, the natural wish to lighten the work of the Ilnd Annv, 
which, as was well known, would after crossing the middle 
Moselle have to oppose the further retreat of the adversary. But 
at that time the greater part of the Ilnd Anny was still on this 
side of the river ; in order, therefore, to gain the necessaiy time i^^ 
for the accompUshment of this task, it was necessary to detain 
the enemy at Metz, in order to delay as much as possible his 
projected movement westward. 

When, therefore, on tho afternoon of tlie 14th August, there 
were evident tokens that the French were desirous of retiring 
over the Moselle, a certain feeling of excitement took possession 
of the troops which had advanced beyond the Nied. Kegarding, 
in all probability, the first movements of the neighbouring corps 
as the commencement of an action, the one was anxious as soon 

* From llanbal Bazaino*s work, " L*ArTn6o du Kliin, dcpuis le 12 Aotit jiisqu'nu 
29 Octobre, 1870." 

F 2 


as possible to come to the help of the other, and thus the same 
idea is expressed in the reports of Generals Manteuffel and y. d. 
Goltz — each wishes to move forward becanse he believes the 
other is about to attack. 

That so active a feeling of comradeship, such rapidity of 
resolution, bears with it the germ of great successes, has a^ain 
been proved by the results of the battle of Colombey-NouiUy. 
But at the same time the fact must not be ignored that the form 
of the improvised attack is not unattended witli danger, and 
in this respect also a profitable lesion may be learnt from the 
14th August. 

From the skirmish, which was commenced on the Prussian 
side for the sole purpose of a reconnaissance in foi*ce, there kindled 
a hot and bloody struggle, in which by degrees nearly two army 
corps became engaged, without their becoming really subject to 
one common control. Even within the two anny corps many 
difficulties prevented unity of command, because the first attacks 
of the comparatively weak vanguards upon the enemy's strong 
poHitions occasioned repeated criHos in the contest. In conse- 

Siienco of this tljo troops which followed had to be j)U8hed up as 
ley arrived by detachments to feed the struggle in the fore- 
most line, so that the higher commanders found themselves 
unable for a considerable time to collect bodies of infantry for a 
decisive blow. 

If tlie mode of advance on the Prussian side was a natural 
consequence of the existing circumstances, it is difficult to 
understand why the French did not at once meet the isolated 
firat attempts of the Prussians witli greater energy. The retreat 
over the Moselle had, it is true, already C(»ninienced on the wings 
of the French army, but in the centre, the very point upon 
which General v. d. Goltz directed tlie firat attack, stood the 3rd 
Corps ready for battle, and at this time entirely assembled in 
the positions so well calculated to rei)el it. Close in rear was the 
Guard as an intact reserve. For the protection and unmolested 
execution of the retreat, a firm occupation of the Colombey 
position with strong rear guards would have been desirable 
under all circumstances. But the most important points of 
passage, Colombey, La Planchette, Lauvalher, Nouilly, were 
captured by the Prussian vanguards at the firet rush, and were 
maintained for a long time by them Avithout any support. 

The isolated attacks made by the French with a view to re- 
capturing the lost powts only led to minor results. Colombey, 
La Planchette, and Lauvallier never, and Nouilly only for a time, 
again fell into the possession of the French. 

A very special peculiarity of the action in fi-ont of Metz was, 
however, also due to the foct that it commenced at an hour 
when battles are in many cases already decided. Hence it was 
that, on the Geniian side, by no means all the forces were able 
to participate in the action, which, as regards the time and space, 
might otherwise have been available. 


The two advanced guards of the let Army Corps had the 
double duty of supporting the frontal attack of the Vllth Corps 
and of keeping at arm's lengtli the attack of the enemy's 
superior force on their own rigiit flank. Only the artillery of 
the main body of the 1st Army Coips was fully employed, and 
upon the 13th Division of the Vllth Corps fell on this occasion 
the brunt of the struggle, which was mainly contested by five 
Prussian Brigades agamst five French Divisions.* 

The French position would have been most threatened had 
the 18th Infantry Division coming from the south been able 
to reach the battle-field in considerable force, which was how- 
ever not possible owing to the late hour of the day. Yet the 
effect produced by the appearance of its vanguai-de on the right 
flank of the French line of battle must not be under-estunated. 

At the close of day the victorious assailant had made eood 
his hold on the western edge of the Colombey valley and on 
the Mey heights. It is tnie that the enemy still maintained 
the centre of his main position on the Boniy and Bellecroix 
heights, which he only abandoned during the nieht— no doubt 
on account of the general situation and the outflanking move-o 
ment threatening from Mey and Origy, but in other respects oi 
his own free wiU and unmolested, This circumstance appears 
to have induced Marshal Bazaine in his account of the battle to 
dedare himself unconquered, and also called forth the Emperor 
Napoleon's congratulations, ** Yous avez rompu le charme. 

The doubtful value of this success becomes clear, however, 
when it is considered that on the Prussian side a further advance 
was neither contemplated nor on the whole possible. With a 
large fortress immediately supporting them, the French had, how- 
ever lost all the ground winch lay beybnd the range of the 
forts ; the relinquieSment, on their own judgment, of the battle- 
field tDithin range could not evidently be contested with them. 

The true importance of the success gained on the ri^ht bank 
of the Moselle would now become manifest on the left. This view, 
which to a certain extent had led instinctivelv to the battle, was 
at once grasped with complete certainty at the headquarters of 
His Majesty at Hemy, as is clearly expressed in the directions 
of the 15th August ; — *' The circumstances under which the 1st 
•* and Vllth Aimy Corps, as well as parts of the 18th Infantrv 
** Division, gained a victory yesterday evening debarred all 
** pursuit. The fruits of the victory can only be gathered by a 
" vigorous offensive on the part of the Ilnd Army towards the 
** roads from Metz to Yerdun." 

In point of fistot the battle of Colombey-NouiUy had so delayed 
the retreat of the adversary on Yerdun that it was possible to 

• The Ind, Sid, MK 26ih, 28eh Pnistian Brigades againit the 4 DivinoiM of 
the 8rd Frenoh Gorpe eiioi Grenier'i DiTiiion of the 4th. 


bring that movement entirely to a stand by the Itattle of 
Vionville-Mars la Tour, and afterwards to advance from the 
westward to make the enveloping and decisive attack in the 
battle of Gravelotte-St. Privat. Thus the events of the 14th 
August form the first link in the series of great conflicts round 
Metz, which primarily led to the investment, and ultimately to 
the capitulation, of ^e main French Army. 


The Operations of the Tst and IInd Army on the ir)Tn and 

l()Tn Auoust up to the Battle of 


The 15tii August. 

The preceding narrative has shown that tlie proceccUngfl of 
the French after the battle of Spich-.'ron had at first given rise 
to the supposition that there wouM be no further engagement 
of any importance on this side of thy Moselle, but that from the 
viore recent reports of the German cavalry, a change in the ad- 
veraaiy's intentions had become clearly manifest. Consequontly 
since the 12th August, the possibility of moetuig with the bulk 
of the French army on the right bank of the Moselle was never 
lost sight of in any of tlio aiTangemont« emanating from the 
headquarters of H.M. the King, and hence the army order of the 
14th August, 6 p.m., prescribed the following movements for 
the next day : — 

On the right wing of the IInd Army, the Ilird, IXtli, and 
Xllth Armv Corps were merely to close up their columns and 
to cook betimes ; the IInd was to continue its forward movement. 
The first line of the 1st Army, the 1st and VII th Army Corps, 
was also to reUvin its present position ; the Vlllth, however, was 
to draw forward to Bazoncoiut,* as a prelude to the projected 
movement of this army to the left, and to a closer connection 
with the right flank of the neighbouring anny. With a view to 
shedding light upon the adversary's movements, instructions 
were given to the IInd Army to send forward the entire force 
of cavalry available on the left bank of the Moselle against the 
enemy's communications between Metz and Verdun, supporting 
it in the directions of Gorze and Tliiaucourt by tliose Corps 
which should first pass the river. For tliis purpose the Ilird 
Corps was also to make preparations on the 15th for throwing 
a bridge below Pont h Mousson. 

When repoi-ts now came in during the night that a battle had 
taken place to the eastward of Metz, those general arrange- 
ments were supplemented by additional orders. The followmg 
telegram was despatched frcmi the royal headquartoi-s at llerny 
to the commander-in-chief of the 1st Army towards morning of 
the 15th August: 

** His Majesty commands the 1st Army to maintain this day 
the ground won in yesterday's battle, so far as it docs not 
lie within effective range of the guns of the fortress. The 
Vlllth Corps is to be brought forward at once in support of 

* Wiih the exception of the troo|)s sent against Thionrille. Tlio intention of 
BurpriBing this fortroM bj a coup de main hod been reported to the ro} al head- 

A 2 


the let and Vllth Corps. Ilio IXth Corps, which has 
alrtady taken part yesterday, will move up close to the field of 

(Signed) V. MoLTKE." 

In aceordance with these instrnetions, General v. Steinmelz* 
fortliwith advanced the Ist and Vllth Army Corps once more to 
the field of battle, whilHt the Vlllth was to be drawn forward 
into the rip:ice between the high roads from Saarlouis and Saar- 
briicken. The Ist and 3rd (^avahy Divisions received orders to 
take np positions on the flanks of the two Corps in fii'st line and 
to pnsh lonvard their outer wings in the direction of lletz. 

On the morning of the loth August, while these ordei-s were 
• in process of execution, the King moved with his staff from 
Herny to the battle-field. Lieut. General v. Podbielski, Quarter- 
master General, who had personally preceded him, came very 
speedily to the conclusion that there could be no longer any large 
force of the enemy to the eastward of Metz. As under these cir- 
cumstiUUM'S it was ot importance that the Ist Army should also 
be passed to the k^ft bank of the Moselle without loss of time, 
the general sent ad interim instructicms to the Vlllth Anny 
Coii)s, to direct its march upon Oniy. After His llajesty the 
King had personally convinced himself of the correctness of this 
view, provisional onhjrs were also sent to the Ist and Vllth Army 
Corps to suspend their march to the battle-field. Between 10 
and 11 o'clock in the forenoon, the King met General v, Stein- 
metz, who was visiting with his staft'the front of the Ist Army, 
on tlic heights to the east of Flanville. Away beycmd lletz 
were seen rising at nuiny points h)ng clouds of dust, which ap- 
peared to indicate the retreat of the French westward. 

In consequence of the change in the aspect of afiairs, and on 
being informed of the instructions already issiied to his three 
Army Corps, the commander-in-chief of the Ist Anny ordered the 
Coips to take up a position in the course of the day between 
Courcelles Chaussy and Orny, the two (yavalry Divisions 
observing Metz fmni Avancy and Veniv.t 

Thus the following movements of the Ist Anny took place 
during Xh^ day : — 

On the extreme right wing, the 3rd Cavalry Division, in com- 
pliaiu^e with orders received duvinfr the night.J moved forward 
to the neighbourhood of St. Barbe and ('bateau Gras, its patrols 
r<*co?moitriiig up to Fort St. .Fnlien. After thoroughly searching 
the battle-field in company wilh the 10th Dragoons and bring- 
ing the wounded to a place of si^curity, the Division returned 
at y a.m. into bivouac near Vry ; the 7th Lancers remahied at 
Avancy and Vigy. Tlie line oi outposts thrown out by the 

* Army ohLt, Varize, 15tli Auguttt, 7 a.m. 

t Tlio nriiiy oixlor for the Iitt Anny. iMue<l on the heights of FlanTille in the 
forenoon of the loth August, sent the Ist Conn to Couruellee Chauasy, the Vllth 
between Fange and Courcelles Station, the Ylllth to Orny. 

X &ce p. 334. 


JDiTinon towiurcUi the fortreBB rested its flank on the Moselle 
at llalroy, and xaa in a south-easterly direction as fiir as 
Seryigny. • - 

The 1st Army Corps, as we are avaie, had in the coarse of 
ihe night reoccupied the pontions held previously to the battle. 
Both regiments of cayalry returned before daylight to the 
battle-fidd, the patrols of the Ist ' Dragoons pushing forward on 
this occasion beyond Belleeroix, without even meeting with 
hostile ou^KMts. When the army order £>r a general advance 
to the battle-field was received on the morning of the 15th, the 
1st Infantry Brinde was at once sent off as advanced guard to 
tfaison Isol^ The remainder of the troops had not yet left 
their bivouacs when the royal orders, already referred to, arrived, 
causing a temporary suspension of their movements. The Ist 
Infimtry Division at Gouroelles Chaussy once more brought 
forward its advanced guard fitxm ICaison Isol^ to Pont 4 
Chaussy. The 2nd In&ntry Division remained meanwhile at 
Les Etangs and Glattigny, bot in consequen c e of the order issued 
firom the Flanville heights by General v. Steinmetz, moved like- 
wise to Courcelles Chaussy in the afternoon. A squadron of the 
lOth Dragoons continued in observation towards NoissevUle ; the 
outposts of the 1st Infantry Division were on both sides of the 
Saarbriicken road, between Yaudreville and Maizeiy. 
. The Tilth Army Coros remained during the night on the field 
of battie ; Qeneral v. manteufiel had promised his support in 
the event of a tceah engagement At daybreak a position for 
battle was first taken up east of the Colombey brook, between 
La Planchette and Ars Laquenexy. In consequence, however, of 
the order issued on the previous evening by General v. Steinmetz, 
the troops subsequentiy reoccupied the general positions held 
before the battie : the 13th Infantry Division at I^AQg^ with an 
advanced guard at Laquenexy ; the 14th Infantry Division at 
Doinangeville*'^ and Courcelles sur Nied; the corps artillery at 
Basoncourt ; the outposts in their old position. The cavalry 
patrols pushed forward towards the fortress also corroboiuted 
the complete retreat of the adversary. An officer's patrol belong- 
ing to the 8th H