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more execution than the other: notwithstanding all which, a battery of guns was presently erected upon that bastion, which very considerably annoyed the enemy.
The breach for a general storm was now rendered almost practicable; yet before that could be advisably attempted, there was a strong horn-work to be taken. Upon this exploit the Dutch troops only were to signalize themselves; and they answered the confidence reposed in them; for, though they were twice repulsed, at the third onset they were more successful, and took possession, which they likewise kept to the raising of the siege.
There was a stratagem laid at this time, which, in its own merit, one would have thought, should not have failed of a good effect; but, to shew the vanity of the highest human wisdom, it miscarried. On the other side of the Maes, opposite to Maestrich, lies the strong fortress of Wyck, to which it is joined by a stone-bridge of six fair arches. The design was, by a false at
tack on that regular fortification to draw the strength of the garrison to its defence, which was but very natural to imagine would be the consequence. Ready to attend that well-concerted false attack, a large flat-bottomed boat, properly furnished with barrels of gun-powder, and other necessaries, was to fall down under one of the middle arches, and when fixed there, by firing the powder, to have blown
the bridge, and by that means to have prevented the return of the garrison, to oppose a real attack at that instant of time to be made
upon the town of Maestrich by the
The false attack on Wyck was accordingly made, which, as proposed, drew the main of the garrison of Maestrich to its defence, and the boat so furnished fell down the river, as projected; but unfortunately, before it could reach the arch, from the darkness of the night, running upon a shoal, it could not be got off; for which reason, the men in the boat were glad to make a hasty éscape for fear of being discovered; as the boat was, next morning, and the whole design laid open.
This stratagem thus miscarrying, all things were immediately got ready for a general storm, at the main breach in the town; and the rather, because the Prince of Orange had received incontestible intelligence, that Duke Scomberg, at the head of the French army, was in full march to relieve the place : but before every thing could be rightly got ready for the intended storm, (though some there were who pretended to say, that a dispute raised by the Spaniards with the Dutch, about the propriety of the town, when taken, was the cause of that delay,) we heard at some distance several guns fired as signals of relief; upon which, we precipitately, and, Prince of as most imagined, shamefully drew off from before the place, and joined the grand ar- before my under Prince Waldeck. But it was matter of yet greater surprize to most on the spot, that when the armies were so
Orange's army retreats from
joined, we did not stay to offer the enemy battle. The well known courage of the Prince, then Generalissimo, was so far from solving this riddle, that it rather puzzled all who thought of it; however, the prevailing opinion was, that it was occasioned by some great misunderstanding between the Spaniards and the Dutch. And experience will evince, that this was not the only disappointment of that nature, occasioned by imperfect understandings.
Besides the number of common soldiers slain in this attack, which was not inconsiderable, we lost here the brave Rhingrave, a person much lamented, on account of his many other excellent qualifications, as well as that of a general. Colonel Ralph Widdrington, and Colonel Doleman, (who had not enjoyed Widdrington's commission above a fortnight) Captain Douglas, Captain Barnwell, and Captain Lee, were of the slain
the English ; who, indeed,
had borne the whole brunt of the attack upon the Dauphin's bastion.
I remember the Prince of Orange, during the siege, received a shot through his arm ; which giving an immediate alarm to the troops under his command, he took his hat off his head with the wounded arm, and smiling, waved it, to shew them there was no danger. Thus, after the most gallant defence against the most courageous onsets, ended the siege of Maestrich ; and with it all that was material that campaign.
Early in the spring, in the year 1677, Cambray the French army, under the Duke of Or- mers beleans, besieged at once, both Cambray and the French. Saint Omers. This last, the Prince of Orange seemed very intent and resolute to relieve. In order to which, well knowing, by sad experience, it would be to little purpose to wait the majestic motions of the Spaniards, that Prince got together what forces he could, all in Dutch pay, and marching forward with all speed, resolved, even at the hazard of a battle, to attempt