Monday, May 17, 2010

At All Costs

Tarragona, 10th July 1713

-...Your permission, Sire?

Engrossed in reading a missive just delivered by a messenger arrived from Barcelona, Count Wallis startled: -Uhhhh... Yes? -and then he recognized the young officer waiting at the door.

-Oh you, Leibnitz! Please forward, and take a seat!

-Wouldn't I disturb thou, Sire?

-No, by no means, in fact... although... Did you notice this, Leibnitz? -responded Count Wallis, at the time he extended to his partner the missive he had been reading. After a quick glance, the young officer raised pensively his gaze: -"War at all Costs..."

-Yes, that is -continued Wallis. -This is a transcript of the resolution published yesterday by the Catalan "Junta de Braços", or Parliament, reassuring their fidelity to His Majesty and committing themselves for the defence of the Principality by their own means... that we are leaving them alone.

Count Wallis could not avoid shrugging shoulders: -The affairs of diplomacy are far beyond our hands, lieutenant. We have been given orders to withdraw from here within the shortest period of time and in good order, and we must comply with such orders, no matter our actual feelings.

-For sure, Sire. However, I was guessing whether... there was any margin of... er... interpretation...

-Our orders are strict enough not to admit any delay or mistaking, Leibnitz
-answered emphatically the high officer, and followed: -Our troops must leave this soil to the Two Crowns, and that is all. And personally I wouldn't like to see how the entire Army of Philip d'Anjou waits on the shore for us to embark!

-Are they already coming, Sire?

-Oh, yes they are! Three different columns have started marching from Tortosa, Lleida and Balaguer, and at least one of these will be knocking at Tarragona gates in a couple of days. Not less than 30 thousand men in total, I would say.


Bluebear Jeff said...

Hmmm, the troops must leave . . . okay . . . but do they need to take their weapons and ammunition with them?

Just a thought.

-- Jeff

Jordi said...

Jeff, there was more weapons than people. So Catalans need people... and if Wallis forget some baggage it could be worthfull.

Soldadets said...

Nevertheless, Jeff's suggestion is quite realistic. In fact, the Louis XIV military and chronicle writer Marquis de Quincy complaints bitterly about the ambiguous attitude of many Imperial officers, whom he accused of secretly informing the Catalans about their withdrawal timing details, so permitting them to take positions in advance before the arrival of Two Crowns' forces...

And, well, in the end even Count Wallis himself seemingly couldn't find room enough in the ships for a few items, so that... 600 of his battle horses went straight into Catalan hands!

True that the Catalan convoy leading them to Barcelona was later intercepted by a Spanish column, so that most were lost...

...but the fact is that such... er... flexible... interpretation about what to carry on the ships wasn't so uncommon among Imperial officers ;)

Salvador said...

So fine a start this of yours! Msr. Vilalta, can I hope to have a little talk with you this weekend at the site of Torredembarra, where we are to have a parade of the catalan troops dispatched there? It would be such a nice meeting for me, and I think I can add to that feeling another faithful follower of your chronicles who will be there too.

Fuseller Clotet said...

You're right, captain Murlà! Torredembarra we'll be the perfect meeting point for our business...

Soldadets said...

Meet you at Torredembarra on Sunday, Sirs.