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EKLIST AS A FOOT SOLDIER-GET WOUNDED.
we landed and marched to Gorcum. Here our regimentals and first mountings were given us. The next day we set out for Gertrudenburg, and proceeded forward to Landen, where we were incorporated in our respective regiments, and then joined the grand army, which was in expectation of a general battle, the enemy being very near within cannonshot. Having been accustomed to soldiers, when a girl, and delighted with seeing them exercise, I very soon was perfect, and applauded by my officers for my dexterity in going through it.
In a day or two after we arrived at Landen, I was ordered on the night guard, and, by direction of my officer, was posted at the bed-chamber door of the elector of Hanover. Mustapha, a Turk, and valet-de-chambre to his most serene highness, while I was here upon duty, introduced to the elector, a fine, handsome, jolly lady, who was what we call a black beauty; she was dressed in a rich silk, and her gown was tied with ribbons from her breast to her feet. I thought the lady went with a great deal of alacrity, as I believe many more of our sex would visit a sovereign prince with a particular satisfaction; especially if agreeable in his person, as the elector, who then wore his own hair, and the finest I ever saw, really was. When I saw his late majesty, I told him, I remembered him in fine hair of his own, which became him better than that of possibly some lewd women, which he then wore.
Before I was relieved, the French drew nearer to our army, and were engaged by some of the troops of the allies ; I heard the cannon play, and the small shot rattle about me, which at first threw me into a sort of panic, having not been used to such rough music: however, I recovered from my fear, and being ordered by Lord Cholmondeley to repair instantly to my regiment, as I was going, I received a wound from a musket hall, which grazed on my leg a little above the ankle, but did not hurt the bone. Lord Cholmondeley was present, and expressed his concern for my wound in very humane terms, ordering me at the same time to be carried of the field.
A short account of this battle may not be disagreeable to my readers, since it is possible they will nowhere find one more impartial : that given by the French, being too vain,
and the relations we have from the English writers, lessening too much the loss we there sustained.
The duke of Luxemburg having invested Huy, the 18th of July, 1693, King William, to make a diversion, detached the Prince of Wirtemberg with twenty battalions and forty squadrons, which forced the French lines in Flanders, and put the country under contribution. This detachment, and another the king had sent off to cover Liege, greatly weakened our army.
Luxemburg, who had just carried Huy, laid hold on so favourable an opportunity, and drawing together all his forces, as if he had a design upon Liege, on the 28th, about four in the afternoon presented himself before the allies, who being sensible that they were much the weaker, had posted themselves between the Geete and the brook of Landen. The fatigue of a long march, and the day being so far spent, made him defer the battle to the next day ; but this delay gave King William an opportunity to have secured his troops, by retiring in the night to Zouteeuw,
but his majesty rather choosing to wait the enemy, tortified the front of his camp, guarded all the passes, placed his cannon to the greatest advantage, and in a word, took all possible precaution to give the French general a warm reception.
At four the next morning the French advanced in good order, within cannon-shot of our intrenchments, that they might have time to raise their batteries ; after which, the battle began at the village of Laar, with the left wing of our army, where a terrible slaughter was made.
The foot, which were posted behind the intrenchments, suffered the enemy to advance very near to our cannon, and then firing upon them, covered the field with dead bodies, and swept down whole battalions which lay dead in the same ranks and order as they advanced. The French, notwithstanding, made two vigorous attacks, but did not get an inch of ground upon us, and their obstinacy only augmenting their loss, they gave over on that side about eleven o'clock, but it was to begin again with equal violence with our right wing, which was posted at the village of Neerlanden. The enemy here met with the same reception, and being repulsed, they made so considerable a movement backwards, that we thought them quite dispirited, and sick of the undertaking ; but they,
ACCOUNT OF THE BATTLE OF LAAR.
leaving some troops to keep the main body and our left in play, marched with the major part of their forces, and their cannon to the village Laar, to make one more attack upon our left wing, which was both more vigorous and bloody than the two preceding. The allies defended themselves with equal bravery, till borne down by mbers, they were forced to abandon the village Laar, and the ground between the intrenchment and the brook. The French horse having by this advantage an opportunity to extend themselves, trod under foot all that opposed their passage, and fell upon the rear of the infantry which defended the trenches. As it was now impossible to drive them out of the post they had won, King William, seeing all efforts vain, ordered the retreat to be sounded. Some few corps retreated in good order, and without confusion, which were mostly Dutch, but the rest took to flight in such disorder and precipitation, that the bridge broke down, and the enemy made bloody havoc of us ; whole regiments threw themselves into the Geete, to gain the opposite side, and such numbers were drowned, that their bodies made a bridge for their flying companions, and saved them from the fury of the conquerors. The king, indeed, lost the battle with about sixteen thousand men, the French, say twenty thousand, seventy-six cannon, and ninety colours, but he lost nothing in point of reputation. For Lewis XIV. could not help giving him the praise of a great general and brave prince, saying, that Luxemburg had, indeed, attacked like a prince of Condé; but, that the Prince of Orange had made his retreat like a Marshal Turenne; and the prince of Conti, in a letter he wrote to his princess, said, that King William exposing himself with such heroic bravery as he did in this battle, deserved the quiet possession of a crown which he wore with so much glory; and, indeed, the king not only performed the part of a general, but even of a subaltern officer, for he alighted no less than four times to lead on the foot to the attack; and was at the head of the squadron, commanded by Lord Galway, in the hottest part of the battle; he had two led horses killed by him, and a musketball went through his sash. It is true, on account of my wound, I could not be an eyewitness of what I have related ; but as I was in the army, on the spot, I had it from those who were.
I was twr months' incapable of service ; after which I
joined my regiment, which was under cover the remaining part of the summer, and at the approach of winter was ordered into quarters at Gertrudenburg.
While I stayed here, the dikes near the town were ruined by worms, and a village near our quarters was drowned. As the repairing the damaged dikes required the utmost expedition, the English soldiers were commanded to assist the Dutch, and we were obliged to work day and night up to our waists in water, till they were repaired. Lieutenant Gardiner and I staying, the last time we were at the work, somewhat too long, being resolved to see everything secure, narrowly escaped drowning by the tide coming upon us; however, we supported each other, and waded out hand-inhand, long after the others had
off. The following summer was spent in marches and couniermarches to watch the motion of the French. During this peaceful campaign, as we were foraging, the French came unexpectedly upon, and took three-score of us prisoners, stripped us, and, by very tiresome marches, conducted us to St. Germain's en lay. The first night, the Dutch and English were promiscuously imprisoned, but the next day King James's queen caused the English to be separated, to have clean straw every night, while the Dutch had none, and allowed us five farthings a day per head, for tobacco, a whole pound of bread, and a pint of wine a day for each man ; and, moreover, ordered our clothes to be returned us. The other prisoners had but half a pound of bread a day, drank water, and lay almost naked, in filthy dark prisons, without other support. The Duke of Berwick frequently came to see that we were well used, and not defrauded of our allowance. He advised us to take on in the French service, as seven of the English did ; he spoke to me in particular; I answered, that I had taken an oath already to King William, and if there was no crime in breaking it, as I was satisfied it was one of the blackest dye, I could not in honour break my engagement, nothing in my opinion being more unbecoming an honest man and a soldier, than to break even his word once given, and to wear a double face. He seemed to applaud my principles, and only added, that if I had accepted conditions, I should have been well used; but the choice depended entirely on me.
Captain Cavenaugh, who was my first cousin, and an
MAKE ADDRESSES TO A BURGHER'S DAUGHTER
officer in the French troops, often came to the prison, and I was at first apprehensive of his knowing me; but afterwards, had an inclination to discover myself to him, as I certainly had done had my husband been dead, or had I found him; but my fear of such a discovery being an impediment to the search of my husband, got the better of my
inclination. In about nine days after our imprisonment, Mr. VanDedan, a trumpeter, and now living in Chelsea, came to exchange us against some French prisoners, and we were set at liberty ; after which, as it was a duty incumbent on us, we went to the palace to return her majesty grateful thanks for the good offices she had done us, and, indeed, we were greatly indebted to her charity. She had the condescension to see us: she told me, I was a pretty young fellow, and it grieved her much that I had not my liberty sooner.
At our return to the army, we heard the melancholy news of the death of Queen Mary, on which our drums, and colours, &c., were put into mourning, and we soon after drew off into winter-quarters. I was in Gorcum, where my grief for my husband being drowned in the hopes of finding him, I indulged in the natural gaiety of my temper, and lived very merrily. In my frolics, to kill time, I made my addresses to a burgher's daughter, who was young and pretty. As I had formerly had a great many fine things said to myself
, I was at no loss in the amourous dialect; I ran over all the tender nonsense (which I look upon the lover's heavy cannon, it does the greatest execution with raw girls) employed on such attacks; I squeezed her hand, whenever I could get an opportunity: sighed often, when in her company : looked foolishly, and practised upon her all the ridiculous airs which I had often laughed at, when they were used as snares against myself. When I afterwards reflected on this unjust way of amusement, I heartily repented it; for it had an effect I did not wish ; the poor girl grew really fond of me, and
uneasy when I was absent: for which she never failed chiding me if it was but for half a day. When I was with her, she always regaled me in the best manner she could, and nothing was too good or too dear to treat me with, if she could compass it ; but notwithstanding a declared passion for me, I found her nicely virtuous; for when I pretended to take an indecent freedom with her, she told me, that she supposed her tenderness for me was become irksome, since I took a method to