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 An Account of Gallantry and Heroism at Arms.

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Rupert Palatine



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Join date : 2010-06-15

PostSubject: An Account of Gallantry and Heroism at Arms.   Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:09 am

This being an account of the battle at the village of Pfalzburg and it's bridge, later renamed Prince's Crossing in honor of Prince Rupert's actions on the day. This in the First Year of the Reign of His Majesty King Leopold I of Frisia, in the early stages of the War of Frisian Succession.


OPENING MOVES

Following the death of the old Monarch of Frisia, his declared heir, but not blood heir, ascended to the Throne. The new King Leopold's succession was quickly and vocally opposed by Francis, Earl of Aquealia. The Earl's Noble blood line was distantly related by blood to the Royal line and was old and influential. The nobility and and powerful Barons of Frisia were soon split of the question of which man had the stronger claim and right to the Throne. Both contenders quickly took to the field with hastily assembled armies. The quality of both Kings' armies was mixed and ranged from well equipped and trained regiments to hastily levied peasant militias and volunteer bands. Despite the majority of the standing army regiments and the Household Guard regiments remaining loyal to Leopold, it quickly became apparent that he had the smaller army. This was a result of the majority of the rich and powerful western Barons siding with the pretender Francis. In response, as both Kings mustered and marshalled their forces, Leopold turned outside his own borders and to the hiring of mercenaries. Among these, was the gallant Prince of the Palatine, Rupert. The exiled Prince, long having been supported by Leopold's adopted father arrived rapidly with two regiments of foot and one of horse, raised at his own expense, clad in blue coats and breeches, and were soon known as "Rupert's Blues". Rupert, though still young, had already cultivated an exemplary martial reputation and was appointed Captain-General of Horse in the Royalist camp, as Leopold's supporters had become known.

Before long, both armies had begun to march, Francis from his power base in the western Baronies, directly east toward the Capital. Leopold, from the south, hurrying to intercept and block the Pretender. Leopold's army was smaller, at a mere 15,000 men to Francis' 22,000, but benefited from being being composed of more professional soldiers. It's core comprised of the Household Guard and most of the regular army regiments (some had mutinied and followed their colonels, most minor nobility, to the Pretender's side.), and several mercenary regiments. These mercenaries, though hardened, and well trained and equipped presented unique problems of their own. They had to be paid on time and at the agree rates; a day late or a penny short and these men had little moral issue with looting, brigandry, and pillaging to supplement their income. Worse still, if not paid, it was not unheard of for whole mercenary companies to simple refuse to fight or abandon their employer and march away, or, worst of all, switch sides. Leopold, outnumbered as he was, could not afford any of these.

In order to pay his mercenaries and spare his new kingdom their ravages, King Leopold sent riders ahead of his host to the Royal Mint to prepare sufficient amounts of coin and bullion. The mint, however, was perilously athwart the path of the advancing Pretender, Francis. Accordingly, the treasure, the amount having increased due to donations of the pro-Royalist nearby abbeys and monasteries of gold and silver plate, was loaded onto wagons and set out to meet with Leopold's army. Worried over the slow moving wagon train's vulnerability and dire importance, Leopold dispatched his own brother, Maurice, as well as Prince Rupert at the head of a troop of dragoons and horse each, respectively, to meet and escort the wagon train.

The prudence of this decision soon became apparent. Francis' army abruptly turned south, away from the capital. The Pretender had learned of the treasure laden wagons and struck for them rapidly. He knew the loss of the gold and silver would very likely be a blow the Royalist army could not recover from, and he desired to inflate his own war chest as well.

Thus, the stage was set, as both Kings raced toward the slow moving convoy of wagons, the village of Pfalzburg and it's stone bridge over the Edirne river laying between them.




From left to Right: King Leopold I, the King's Brother Maurice, Prince Rupert of the Palatine.



Men of the Household Guard in Leopold's Camp
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Rupert Palatine



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Join date : 2010-06-15

PostSubject: Re: An Account of Gallantry and Heroism at Arms.   Sat Jul 30, 2011 4:00 am

Prelude and Skirmish at Skinner's Farm


The first action of what would become the first pitched battle of the War of Frisian Succession began almost farcically. Prince Rupert and the King Leopold's brother, Maurice, arrived first at the village of Pfalzburg, ahead of the vanguard of the Pretender army. They crossed over the stone bridge there to the north side of the river and began to search for the coveted wagon train of gold and silver bullion, coin, and plate. Later that same day, near dusk, a force of Pretender horse arrived from the north, led by one Count Sebastiani. Neither side was aware f the others presence, both under the false assumption that any danger was a days march or more away. Further complicating things, the treasure convoy was still at large; it was, as it happened, many miles still up river, lumbering westward along the river road toward the village and it's bridge.

As night fell the men of both armies camped, astonishingly, in nearly adjacent fields. The entire night passed without discovery, as neither commander had posted sentries or picquettes, confident as they were that no enemy was within reach. It would not be until morning, when a small party of Maurice's dragoons out gathering firewood stumbled upon the Pretender camp that one would learn of the other. It was only by the whimsy of blind luck that the dragoons did not give away the whole game for the Royalists and they slunk back to their own tents to report what they had found.

Prince Rupert, on hearing the shocking report, showcased his trademark characteristics of command, rapidity of action and concentration of shock. Rupert called his men to horse and instructed them to attack quickly, foregoing all other details. So fast came the order that many of his men had no time to do up their breast plates and charged across the fields of Skinner's Farm with armor flapping. In contrast, in the Pretender camp, cookfires were well underway and the men took their breakfast at leisure when Rupert and Maurice broke headlong through the hedges. The attack was a disorganized affair, Royalist horse and dragons interspersed and resembling a roiling mob more than any recognizable formation of military men. However, they came on furiously and with crushing momentum against a surprised and unprepared enemy.

Sebastiani's men scattered in all directions from he onslaught and Royalist discipline almost immediately broke down. Many of the attackers preferred to loot the camp and enjoy a breakfast of captured food over pursuing and destroying their foe. Consequently, Sebastiani's horse, though in disorder and disarray, and having lost most of their arms, equipment and mounts, were allowed to escape with relatively light casualties, an error that would haunt Rupert's next few days.

It took more than an hour to restore order and discipline in the Royalist ranks, with many a promise of floggings shouted by officers at all levels. After the camp had been picked clean of anything useful or valuable, and the res set to fire, Rupert and Maurice resumed searching for the missing wagon train. It was finally located that same day in the late afternoon, the Royalist horse and dragoons escorted it down the river road to the bridge and crossed it over to the southern bank. By now, King Leopold was only a day's march farther south and was advancing rapidly.

In the north, however, Francis had halted his army. Count Sebastiani and his shattered troop trickled in throughout the day in disgrace and shame. The ferocity and unexpectedness of Rupert's assault had set Francis on the back foot. The Pretender King decided to consolidate his long column before advancing again toward Pfalzburg.

Both armies set sentries around their camps after the affair at Skinner's Farm




Prince Rupert's assault
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An Account of Gallantry and Heroism at Arms.
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