Neues Militairisches Magazin
Historischen und Scientifischen Inhalts Band 2, 1801
(New Militair Magazine Historical and Scientific Content)
I. Fragments to the War History 1793.
Continuation of Vol 1. St. VII
At the end of the last section I passed the Prussian army, and the Hesse-Cassian corps united with it in the winter cantonments on the two banks of the Main, and the right of the Rhine; Cassel (or Castel) was encircled by the capture of Plochheim and the position of the Hohenlohischen Corps, and the mountain fortress Königstein still resisted the ramparts of the victors. The enemy army cantoned between the Rhine and near Speyer via Worms, Oppenheim and Mainz to Bingen and Kreuzenach, and at times interspersed the Hundsrück between the Nahe and the Rhine, as far as the area of Rheinfels; he had received considerable gains during the winter.
This mild winter from 1792 to 1793 rarely covered the Rhine with ice, and thus prevented larger engagements. The months of January, February, and the first half of the Merz, therefore, generally proceeded quietly, excepting some skirmishes and preparations for the forthcoming active campaign. The latter has shown success, and I want to touch the former only in the Vorbeygehn.
In the first days of February, the Köhler Hussar rider von Schmidt received the news that the enemy had advanced in the area of Simmern; he therefore sent Lieutenant von Weiss with 40 horses and 20 Jägern from Rheinfels against Rheinballen to investigate. At the height beyond Bacherach, this detachment encountered a strong enemy troupe, and pursued it as far as the village of Rheinballen; but as this was found to be heavily occupied by cavalry and infantry, Lieutenant von Weiss was forced to retreat by the enemy with 3 men were cut down and 4 captured; the Prussians lose the one (bleſsirten)? and one prisoner.
During the night from the 6th to the 7th of February, Captain von Heydebrecht of the regiment Count Herzberg, a piquet of the occupation of Königstein by one officer and 20 men, who held the latter in the town below. The officer and 9 men were caught, 11 killed. The Prussians had a wounded captain and one soldier killed
On the 12th of February, the Frenchmen of Moslem (see the 1st section) made an attempt to land at Ginsheim in the Darmstadt; At the end they occupied the Nonnenaue with infantry and artillery, and drove the Hessian Piquet of Hussars and Jäger, which is on the shore. But the chief scribe hastened into the neighborhood with the Hussar regiment and the battalion of fusiliers, and on the following day the colonel von Rüchel. With the help of a battery, the enemy was immediately expelled from the meadow with the removal of an ammunition cart, and his maneuver was thwarted.
From the 20th to the 26th of February the king and duke reconnoitered the bank of the Rhine to Rheinfels, and on the 30th and 31st the colonel v. Szeculi, a Prussian partisan, with a light corps the Rhine at St. Goar. This corps consisted of the Féselier battalion of Wedel, 1 Compagnie Trierscher Jäger, 2 canons, and a detachment of light cavalry, drawn from all the Dragoons and Hussar regiments; Colonel Szeculi advanced with this corps against the Nahe, and occupied the castle and position at the Stromberg, partly to disturb the enemy, but chiefly to form a firm point on the left bank of the Rhine, which might facilitate the passage of the army.
The 8th Merz was finally passed by Königstein with 14 canons; the crew of 14 officers and 421 civilians were transported to Frankfurt as prisoners of war in the afternoon.
The campaign, which lasted until late in the winter, the consequences of the ruinous course after the Campaign, and the delay in the supply of all necessities for the coming campaign, delayed by the great distance of the Prussian States, did not suggest an early opening of it, especially as one
could not take a step without finding a very heavy stumbling-block at Mainz. Although it was Prussian side immediately after taking Frankfurt had endeavored - to demand fresh and several troops to supplement and strengthen the army, which also arrived in February and Merz; of the same, 6000 Saxons joined the army as a Reichs contingent; this magnificant Corps passed the 16th, 17th and 18th Merz through Frankfurt and cantoned on the right bank of the Main; Würzburg, other German princes, and the Prussian states in Franconia also received some guns and ammunition; but this alone was not enough for a company on Mainz, to whose reservation the necessities only arrived much later from Holland and the Prussian hereditary lands. On the other hand, the army itself still lacked many horses and requisites for the opening of the Campaign; Thus, the Hessian Corps, which was to consist of 6,000 men, had received neither supplementary crew nor field staff and campers when the 19th Merz command was given that the army should start moving on the 22nd.
The motives for this swift decision were the following: in the conference held with the Prince of Coburg at Frankfurt on February 6th about the operations of the upcoming Campaign, it was decided, among others, that the Kayserliche army on the lower Rhine for the time being only to relieve Mastricht, to cleanse the right bank of the Meuse, and to maintain until the Prussian army would have taken Mainz, after the passage of which they would first proceed to the reconquest of the Netherlands. But this Kayserliche army, which during the winter by a great mistake of the enemy general, about which he justified himself, asserted itself on the bank of the Roer, and during which was considerably strengthened, to which still a Prussian Corps under the Duke of Brunswick Oels pushed, and advances from Wesel against Venlo and Rüremond made the extraordinary preliminary steps. The prince v. Coburg did not join this army at Cölln until about the 10th of February, and in the last days of February the victor, fled behind the Scheldt in a leap from the Roer. These quick progressions of an army, which neither wanted to give in to activity, nor after the appointment, also persuaded the king to advance across the Rhine and the temporary encirclement of Mainz, at least showing his goodwill, though the siege itself was still a physical impossibility. Without dispute, it would have been Austrian interest to be accelerated conquest of this fortress more than it did, since its possession is so highly necessary for asserting the Netherlands, and for covering the extensive operations and communication with its army there; but how much should not have happened in this war, which did not happen. After this, for the sake of an overview of the whole, I must turn again to the Prussian army, which has been ordered to advance, and the Hessian Corps at Frankfurt, which is united with it. The same was, as has already been said, the siege of Mainz. At the end, you had to cross the Rhine and drive the General Custine's enemy army so far that they did not hinder that enterprise. After much deliberation, the army ought to pass the Rhine at Bacherach, leaving a corps behind Cassel, the enemy from his position at Kreuzenach, and at one with the one between Manheim and Speyer
The Rhine passed through the Imperial army of Count Wurmser, until they drove out over Landau; set up an observation army behind the Queich and Bliess, and send back a corps to Mainz's blockade; the former under separate orders of the Duke of Brunswick, the latter under the General Count of Kalkreuth; the corps in front of Cassel came under the command of General Lieutenant v. Schoenfeld. The Hessian Corps had the following composition here; the avant-garde or the Hussar regiment, the jager and light infantry battalion, under the Colonel Schreiber, was to join the Prince Hohenlohe Corps, and with it to the Observation Army; 5 Escadrons and 5 battalions, however, were assigned to the corps of General Lieutenant von Schonfeld, and with this to the blockade of Cassel. The Lieutenant-General von Biesenrodt, it is true, made it impossible for the Corps to march on the 22nd of Merz, for his field-reinforcements had not yet arrived, although their dispatch had been ordered. But as this filled a gap in the general disposition, it was permitted: to canton before the hand, but the march remained fixed.
The Hessian light troops therefore united on the 21st of March at the bridge of Rüsselsheim, joined the Hohenlohe Corps and cantoned in Bärstädt. Likewise, the infantry regimes broke today Prince Heinrich, 2 battalions of Romberg, Kleist regiment, and 1 battalion of Mannstein, then the Dragoon Regiments of Lottum and Katte, the Duke of Weimar Couriers Regiment, and the Bat Decker and Puttkammer and made a right turn against Badstrasse or Langenschwalbach.
The Hohenzollern Corps and the Hessian light troops left and moved to the rear, the latter to Langscheit and area. Likewise the headquarters and the guards of Frankfurt marched this morning went through Sachsenhaussen, out to the monkey gate and cantoned in Keltersbach etc. The regiments Tadden, Wolframsdorf and Ferdinand moved also in the area of Wisbaden.
On the 23rd, the Hohenlohische Corps continued its march against Bacherach; the Hessian light troops cantoned in Ramsel; the army followed the same regiments, and the headquarters, together with the guards, moved from Kellersbach to Russelsheim and the region. Just as a regiment marched in advance on the heights between Erbenheim and the Häuserhof in the face of Mainz, it swung in, made a bonfire of Coburg's victory over the sea-winds, and continued his march on.
The Hohenlohische Corps had the 24th rest day and the army moved closer together; the guards and headquarters marched for Wisbäden; but on the 25th the Hessian light troops left at 4 o'clock in the morning, and went via Kaub to Bacherach, where they crossed the Rhine with the Hohenlohische Corps on the pontoon bridges and moved over Rhine bays to Reierscheid, the army followed, but the guards remained on the 29th under the command of the crown prince, as a reserve in Wisbaden, whereupon they also passed the Rhine and moved to Nie.
The choice of the crossing of the Rhine at Bacherach places in a field, like the Duke of Braun silent, sufficient reasons to presume that they are best, even if their real motives are not yet known; besides, one would think it would have been far more advantageous to pass the Rhine in the area of Oppenheim, and thus to break through the enemy army, to negotiate the position on the Nahe, and to block the main road to Elsas. At least Custine has no such valid advocate in himself, if he is rightly reproached for not having put obstacles in the way of the passage of the Prussians and the Imperialists, for which his shorter line offered him sufficient means, for he had here through the Curvature of the Rhine only the tendon, but the Prussians describe the bow; so it was certainly a big mistake that he did not use the Szeculian Corps with more power, and it cost what he wished to throw across the Rhine when he undertook it on the 16th and 20th; the position on the Nahe was only to be decided entirely when the Prussians had actually passed the Rhine against all their efforts; But Custine could and had to know this transition, and if he was properly prepared, then he would rush with a corps against Bacherach, like the Prussian army at Cassel but he could still arrive early enough, and certainly not delay the crossing, but certainly delay it; There was something to be dared for at the time-alone-there was determination in it, and that his generosity was not in Custine's character proves his occupation in the fall of 1792, before the capture of Mainz.
On the 26th Colonel Schreiber advanced with the Hessian light troops, as the avant-garde of the Hohenlohe Corps to Schöneberg, without anything of the enemy: but the 27th broke out of their quarters at four o'clock; Hohenlohische Corps assembled at Dachsweer, where the Szeculian Corps also joined him. Hereupon when the whole procession marched into trains on the right, forming it threw it as far as Bingen over the Nahe, and thereupon occupied a camp at the village of Weiler. The enemy had over 30 dead in this incident; 5 cannons were captured and 273 prisoners were made, including General Lieutenant Neuwgerger with 13 officers. The Hessian jagers, led by the commendable Major von Motz captured 2 cannons.
At 2 o'clock in the morning, Bingen was shot at, then abandoned by the enemy. At 8 o'clock in the morning the Hessian Corps had to occupy Rommelsheim, but at 6 o'clock the same thing happened near Bingen and moved to Engelstadt. After the capture of Bingen, the enemy had the 29th its advantageous positions in Kreuzenach and Alzei abandoned so eagerly that one could not catch him and on the retreat only a few prisoners were made. The duke took his headquarters today on the 29th in Armsheim, and the Hessian avant-garde advanced to Ufhofen.
The troops broke out of their quarters early at 5 o'clock, and marched left into columns after they had gathered at Arnsheim. The march crossed Dorndeckheim on Alsheim on the old Rhine, where the avant-garde captured 80 enemy cavalrymen, and penetrated into the plain against Oppenheim and Worms. The enemy was thereupon expelled from Guntersblum, Gemsheim, Eiche, Hamm, and Ivers heimerhof, and occupied Worms; In addition to many deaths, today six cannons and 1,200 prisoners are lost.
The loss on this side was unimportant; the Hessian Hussars had at the skirmish of Guntersblum 7 horses killed, 1 Unterofficier, 14 Hussars and 8 horses wounded. At about six o'clock, just as gracious as brave Prince Louis of Prussia, with three escadrons of Anspach Baireuth, an enemy corps on the retreat at Worms, into which he immediately invaded, conquered 500 launches and 6 cannons and 1,200 prisoners. The headquarters was taken in Guntersblum.
On April 1, the Duke of Brunswick wrote from Guntersblum to the Major von Hirschfeld in Hochheim:
"Everything is quite desirable, the enemy is running so fast that it is hardly possible to acquire laurels from him, meanwhile the main end goal will be reached over all expectation quickly, and very happy, without significant loss of our side now clean from the French, and they have long left the Rhine, all their entrenchments beyond Speyer, so that last night Wurmser (from the 30th to the 1st) between Manheim and Speyer is set across the Rhine without any obstacles. "
Colonel Szeculi rescued considerable magazines in Worms and Frankenthal, and six hundred of the men of Mainz, together with several baggage, club-bakers, etc., who wanted to break through Oppenheim to Landau, were thrown back to Mainz.
So the enemy army was expelled behind Landau; the part of the Prussian and Hessian troops destined for the observation army followed her into the above-mentioned positions, and the other, who was to undertake the blockade herself; Through the positions at Niederingelheim, via Stadeck to Oppenheim, the crew cut off all communications with France, and prepared for the following narrow confinement of Mainz.
Neues Militairisches Magazin Historischen und Scientifischen Inhalts Band 2, 1801; pp. 1-10