Sunday, January 16, 2011

Count Wallis' anger

Tarragona, 26th August 1713

-Our troops are coming, Sire -the aide explained to Count Wallis -Their column can already be seen from the northern ramparts.

-God bless them! -he spontaneously exclaimed -Any incidence?

-No troubles, Sire. It seems that our recommendations to General Areizaga took their effect, for our men passed through the Spanish columns undisturbed.

-Excellent, excellent. -Count Wallis answered -Do you already have their effectives listing?

-For sure, Sire. Heading the column, Hamilton's Dragoons. Following them, O'Dwyer's and Geschwind's regiments, one battalion each. Besides, there are the 2 remnant companies of Laborda that hadn't been able to come in before, who are escorting a light battery.

-...and what about Bagni's regiment? -the general asked, suddenly concerned.

-Er... 3 companies only, Sire. We are missing the bulk of the Regiment, no one knows where they are. Perhaps they had some kind of trouble in their way. -the aide responded -As a matter of fact, their withdrawal route was to run quite close to Ponts battlefield...

-Hum, true. Let's order messagers to be urgently dispatched to the zone, with letters either for Spanish commanders and for Bagni himself. Anything else?

-Yes, Sire. Colonel Hamilton's couriers have denounced the presence of a considerable proportion of French troops in Areizaga's columns. Hamilton's rangers have detected the presence of Anjou's IR in full strength, as well as one battalion belonging to Charolais IR. Besides, I've been reported that O'Dwyer had also detected French troops in the Spanish Army Group Centre, currently stationed close to Igualada town. To be precise, La Couronne IR in full strength and one Irish battalion, apparently belonging to Dillon's regiment.

-WHAT!!?? -Count Wallis shouted in anger. -This is a VIOLATION of the truce terms!! ...King Philip was expected to GET RID of the French troops under his command and let them withdraw back home, just as we are doing!!

After his initial explosion of anger, Count Wallis stood for a moment, and then told to his aide, in a calmly voice again:

-All right, it's their choice. Now listen to me: urgent words must be sent to the Spanish commander-in-chief Duke of Popoli, with no delay. These must be written in the roughest threatening tone permitted by due politeness, stating that all French troops under Spanish service must be immediately removed from first line service. Otherwise, we shall consider the truce as broken and accordingly perform. An immediate response will be claimed for. -After a short pause, he added: -with copies to Duke of Berwick in Perpignan, and to His Imperial Majesty in Vienna, of course. And please, would you mind to ask our recently arrived Colonels to meet us in Balsells Palace for an urgent Council of War?

-Jawohl, Sire. Of course! -the aide eagerly answered, his face lit up with excitement.


Jeroen72 said...

Oooohh, those tricksy Spaniards, what will happen next :)

abdul666 said...

The question is: what are the orders -official and secret- given by Versailles to the French units?
So far the diplomatic efforts from diverse sources seem to have tilted the balance in favor of a French political disengagement, implying the will to avoid at all costs any further military involvement?
Given the truce terms, facing *imperial* troops could provide an unhoped for -and blessed- excuse for a -limited at first- military withdrawal.

Soldadets said...

Jeroen72 & Jean-Louis,

As a matter of fact, it is somewhat hard to understand to me what happened during these late 1713 turmoil months. Theoretically, the agreements represented some kind of "de-internacionalization" of war, leaving both sides in the Peninsula to their own means. Therefore, Imperial evacuation was to be accompanied by a French withdrawal. And in fact Louis XIV refrained the bulk of his Army to further progress inside Catalonia; however, it was actually recorded the presence of some French troops among the 1713 first invasion wave...

To be sincere, at the campaign start I'd ever imagine that our Imagi-nated diplomacy would be able to get so close to a separate peace with Louis XIV, so that this weekend I suddenly thought it would be good taking some profit of such extraordinary situation ;)

It's hard for me to imagine yet which one is to be Versailles' response to the affair. In the worst case (for Philip V), it might mean a premature end to their 1713 campaign, for not less than half of His 3 army groups in the Principality comprise French regiments. But this by no means represents a definitive setback to His will: at this very same time, Spain is still in process of evacuating up to 28 regiments from Flanders and Sicily.

So that... it seems to me that we've still got campaign for a long time ;)

abdul666 said...

Freshly integrated foreigners are sometimes more 'patriot'/ chauvinistic than true 'nationals': this was the case of the Camera Mayor, who rejected her intended role of puppet of Louis XIV and on the opposite struggled to free her 'new' country from French influence. As such,-and given the reinforcements expected from oversea- she would try to convince Felipe to get rid of, or at least not to use, French troops, in order not to be 'in debt' for any success in Galatea. Currently the Queen María Luisa Gabriela de Saboya is still alive, and thus the Princesse des Ursins in full power.

abdul666 said...

PS: how were recruited the Spanish regiments at that time? In practice at 'national level' (with the unavoidable sprinkling of foreigners) or 'regionally'? In other words, among the troops present in the Peninsula and -even more- among those coming from oversea, are there some units of mainly 'Aragonese' (or 'Italian') recruitment?

Salvador said...

Msr. Jean Louis, not wanting to look rude, I have to correct you. The Princess Des Ursins'rank is that of "Camarera Mayor", spanish "cámara" meaning english "chamber".
Note that it's a thoughtful correction as this word may bring some light to as how much and why she had such influence.

Soldadets said...

Salvador, what does Jean-Louis mean is that Princesse des Ursins has been already tempted by Eugene of Savoy's proposal of a principality in Flanders in exchange for the Galatan Liberties. Given her considerable influence on Queen Maria Luisa, her death and later replacement by Isabella Farnese (who quickly dismissed the Princesse) would be a serious setback for Imperial & Galatan negotiation positions.

Soldadets said...

Jean-Louis, as far as I know, in spite that Spanish regiments were given geographical names after the 1706 reform, such names sometimes had little to do with the enlisted men origin. It should be checked by the regiment, for each one's history is singular.

A few regiments were built in Aragon and Valencia after their occupation (as far as I know, a couple in Aragon and one in Valencia). However, Philip V never dared launching them against Catalonia, keeping them instead at garrison/police duties inside thir respective territories. Most likely, they were considered less reliable than 'proper' Spanish ones. Inversely, Philip V had one Catalan Dragoons regiment and two volunteer fusiliers battalions belonging -some of which were actually brought in the 1713-1714 campaign. Maybe as an otherwise useless attempt to divide patriots, I guess.