I was born in the year of our Lord 1731 in the Burgraviate of Altefritzenburg. It was the depths of Winter and the cold, the worse for many years, also took my mother away a few days later. My father, unable to cope with the loss, left me in the care of Church and took service as a soldier. I was not to see him again until I was twelve. He was now serving under a mercenary officer by the name of von Donovan and his famed Legion, the Savage Swans, and it was this man, now in service to and loyal to the Burger who was to play such a large part in my life. I professed a desire to follow my father, the prospect of a life of service to God not being to my taste, but my father insisted I was still too young, but struck a deal with me. The Legion had been hired out to serve in the Colonies across the Ocean to the West, as part of his Brittannic Majestie’s army sent there to quell rebellion.This was not expected to be an easy campaign and not suited to a one of my age and experience, but my Father swore that on his return he would speak to the kommander of the Legion musketeers, Count Vladimir Belisarius, and secure me service in the ranks. And it is now four years later I find myself a musketeer in von Donovan’s Legion, the famed Savage Swans! And in this Journal I shall chronicle my adventures as I set off on my first campaign, in the service of Grennoisse as we set sail to bring Granprix to its knees. Our story begins as our Legion marches in all it’s finery from our hometown to the great port of Menchaven. The journey was long and dusty but the Oberstgeneral insisted we encamp on the outskirts of the port and bring our kit and appearance to a standard befitting our reputation as some of the finest soldiers in the land. 2nd April 1747 – the Port of Menchaven. We are now aboard ship, a fine vessel under Captain James Krik and the Legion consisting of my own battalion of musketeers, the Grenadiers, the fine Uhlans and dragoons (unfortunately still without horses) and a detachment of native Altefritzenburgers, the veteran Giezers. Separate from all are the Savages from the Colonies under Captain Ewald. They are fearsome to observe but seem of good tempter and not prone to the excesses often heard of their kind. It is rumoured the Burger himself is aboard the flagship and will accompany us in to battle. 11th April 1747 – The Coast of Granprix. Disaster! The once fine fleet was last night scattered as a storm struck with ferocious force. I must admit to terror during the storm but the veterans who crossed to the Colonies just grinned and swore that this was but a minor squall compared to what they had faced on the Great Ocean. Our valiant Captain managed to bring us safely ashore but the dawn will reveal the true extent of our woes.
12th April 1747 – The Coast of Granprix. God has seen fit to spare our entire force from loss. We spent the day preparing a defensive position on the east bank of the river and I observed the Oberstgeneral send out pickets to north and east to prevent any enemy surprising us. Captain Ewald and his savages were seen heading north east to the high lands seen in the distance. It was with some trepidation that later in the day we observed a large force of cavalry enter our lines from the north. Major Huffington, overseeing our work, was called to translate as it appeared these new arrivals spoke the same tongue. As they later left, heading east to follow our Uhlans, the Major returned to us and quelled our concerns. These were our allies, from the Gateway Alliance, and part of a larger force to our west, similarly cast alone upon this foreign shore. The Major was to later attend a Council of War and left that evening to act as intermediary with our new allies. 13h April 1747 – The mouth of the Rio Safir, West of Pescadrix. It seems our scouts have reported back and we are but 10 miles west of our original objective, the fortified town of Pescadrix. But until we can make contact with the main army our position is precarious. 14th April 1747 – West of Pont de la Ciutat al Mar. Late yesterday our scouts returned in haste. The enemy was on the march! First the Cuirassiers of the Gateway Alliance passed through and returned to their comrades and then word came that our valiant Uhlans were being hard pressed by massed enemy cavalry. The order came to strike camp and with no little concern we left our carefully fortified position and headed northeast. As we approached the small town on the Riu de les Anguiles, Pont de la Ciutat al Mar, with its two bridges, we were greeted by our own Uhlans and our allied cavalry falling back through the town and it was with horror that we saw enemy cavalry flood across the bridges and occupy the town to deny us our crossing. As darkness fell we withdrew to a hasty camp and I now prepare myself for my first battle. My father reassures me that I stand alongside valiant comrades and that if I obey my officers and my training then God willing I will witness a great victory. Our Burger today joined us having come from the Army headquarters and all the men look forward to performing well under is benevolent gaze. 16th April 1747 Pont de la Ciutat al Mar –The sun will soon rise and I have never been so tired as we have slaved through the night building gabions and entrenchments for both man and cannon. But it has been a glorious day and my first battle was all I expected it to be. Early this morning word had come that another allied force, under a Lord Drumcharry, was finally hastening to our aid. We could not delay and allow the enemy to reinforce their bridgehead so the order was given to attack, even as the enemy, under the great Duke Zigor, rushed across the bridges to stop us. The Savage Swans were to deploy and advance towards the bridges in the center while our allies would attack on our right flank. The Geizers of Altefritzenburg were to move through the wooded uplands on our left. In the distance I could see the enemy cavalry, the famed Carabineros Ducal, dismounted on the outskirts of the town but safe across the river on the high ground the enemy had deployed a battery of cannon with clear line of fire on our whole advance. It seemed the day would be a bloody one. I have not the military knowledge to recount the action in its true course of events but can only describe that which I saw. As my battalion marched and deployed in line to the front of the town we started to feel the heavy bloody touch of the enemy cannon. Then I saw a glorious sight. In the hills behind the enemy battery there could heard a great whooping sound as Captain Ewald and his savages charged down upon the startled gunners! They did not even stand to defend their guns and honour but turned tail and ran even as hundreds of their own troops were crossing the bridge below. It was a beautiful thing to see, more so as a whole enemy battalion deployed to advance up the hill too late to stop their guns being cast into the fast flowing waters! The Captain soon made haste to retire in the face of overwhelming odds but to the cheers of his comrades. With renewed vigour we continued our advance as the enemy crossed the bridge to face us. Their cavalry, the Carabineros Ducal, mounted up and move to the attack, only to be scattered by the cuirassiers of the Alliance in a gallant charge. It was then that I witnessed the true majesty of infantry on the battlefield as the Legion and Alliance, now joined by Lord Drumcharry’s troops, performed a great martial display worthy of the parade ground as the combined battalions maneuvered gracefully into a great crescent and descended upon the enemy defending the town! The Alliance and Lord Drumcharry assualted the buildings with great courage and drove the enemy back as many surrendered as they realised their position most untenable. We were to assault the enemy defending the northern bridge and we advanced with great fervour, the veteran Giezers harassing the defenders. But the enemy would not stand and their officers soon lead them in full retreat. As darkness fell, leaving many dead and wounded and a whole battalion captured and made prisoner, a howitzer taken, and the enemy retired in haste back across the bridges dragging a whole battery of sodden cannon with them! But there was to be no rest and celebration of our victory. Scouts bought word that enemy ships had laid waste to our small fleet and a force landed to our rear. We do not know how well the rest of the army fares but rumours are to the good. The order was given to build a great defensive line facing west but even with the labour of our prisoners it was hard work and barely completed in time and I fear the exhaustion of the men after a day of marching, a day of battle and this nights labour will do us ill in the coming day.
16th April 1747 – Evening. Pont de la Ciutat al Mar . Victory! The good Lord has seen fit to grant the forces of Grennoisse a great victory over those of Granprix. I write this from the east side of Pont de la Ciutat al Mar overlooking our massed camp outside the walls of Pescadrix as the Generals discuss terms. The west bank of the town is in the hands of the enemy who had attacked us this day, troops from the Gelderstaadian Koffee Alliance and from Sehrkleinreich They are now our ‘allies’ having cast aside their former allegiance as soon as the battle was seen to be against them. No one here trusts them, for if they have broken an oath once they surely will have no qualms to do so again.
Although the true victory today took place to the east before the walls of Pescadrix, the cavalry of Lord Drumcharry, the Gateway and the Legion must take credit for the crushing of the enemy and the forcing of the bridges. The enemy had withdrawn in the night but as the sun rose we were faced with massed infantry and cavalry defending the main bridge, the elite of Duke Zigors army, the Guardia Ducal and the now reformed Carabineros Ducal. Cannon to the west rained shot upon the Legion behind their entrenchments causing much damage as the enemy infantry and cavalry advanced. But the Count Belisarius and our mascot Ganymede stood firm with us, while the Burger looked on from the balcony of a nearby house, giving us all courage.
A ragged mass of militia approached the foothills to the northwest only to be held at bay by a few of the Gateway Grenzers, or maybe it was the sheep they were afraid of, for this mass of ‘troops’ were only to advance once we began to withdraw across the bridges and the victory was near won, there being little chance of them then engaging with us.
But it was cavalry who were to have the glory this day. First the Legion Uhlans moved to cross the main bridge. They were faced and charged by the Carabineros Ducal and fell back, leading the enemy cavalry on to the massed muskets of the Darien musketeers who wreaked much havoc upon them. When the Carabineros finally retired the Uhlans again charged across the bridge, this time into the face of the Guardia Ducal! It was a valiant but futile charge but once again I was witness to an event. We again heard the savage whooping cries as Captain Ewald’s war party emerged from the surrounding buildings, having secreted themselves there in the night, and fell upon the flank of the Guards. It was however to be to no avail. Against such odds they left many fine warriors dead and the Uhlans too were forced back across the bridge. But these actions had bought time. The cavalry of first Lord Drumcharry and then the Gateway Alliance, streamed across the smaller northern bridge and descended upon the enemy in two great charges. First the Darien troopers swept aside not one , not two but three battalions of the enemy, now in disarray. Before they could recover, the Gateway cavalry charged down upon the remaining men, sweeping all before them! It was a glorious vision and one I will remember for many years.
I was lucky to witness this, though, as from our sturdy positions we of the Legion musketeers were driven back first by the cannon to our front, then as the enemy ships drew close to shore were battered by broadside after broadside. Our valiant light troops slowed the enemy advance and as the bridges were finally cleared and both the Legion and Darien troops move to join the attack across the river, they held the enemy at bay until the battle was won. I must pay tribute to the gunners of the Legion battalion guns, who stayed at their posts to the last, covering their retiring comrades, as hundreds of the enemy descended upon them. An action that maybe the gunners of Duke Zigor could take lesson from.
It was then that I witnessed a strange event. The Boleyn Regiment, a fine body of men who had joined us in the attack on the town yesterday, instead of marching across the bridges, to the ‘sound of the guns’, marched up into the hills to their front and deployed there to face the reluctant militia, who had yet to make any threatening moves. As I began myself to cross the bridge I cast a glance across my left shoulder only to see the same regiment marching back down the hill again! It was a fine display of manoeuvre across difficult ground but I still wonder to what cause? At camp this night I already hear Legion veterans singing:
The Grand Regiment Bolyn
Had near one thousand men
They marched right up to the top of the hill
And they marched right down again.
And when they were up they were up
And when they were down they were down
And when they were only half way up
They were neither up nor down!
As I crossed the bridge I could see clear through the town to the fields before Pescadrix and I witnessed the troops of the Grand Duke of Brunswick sweep all before them and a glorious charge by the their massed cavalry, that surpassed even those of my comrades, as enemy foot were again swept away in panic and disorder. This being one of many heroic events executed by our troops this day, that brought about the defeat of our massed enemies on all fronts. The battle was won. Granprix was defeated. 19th April 1747 – It is now three days since the great victory. The negotiations are still ongoing and we have yet to hear when we will have transport to return home. There is much talk of new campaigns. Apparently when so many mercenary troops are gathered together then word spreads as to who is recruiting and for where. Major Huffington has received word of further unrest in the Colonies and talks of recruiting his own legion and calling on the veterans of the Brittannic Army. The Burgrave has set off for Altefritzenburg already, no doubt to carry word of the victory. My father already talks of a campaign in the lands to the South and East, something he claims will bring him the riches needed to retire from the Legion and settle down. I hope and pray I have many more campaigns ahead of me and the opportunity to recount them with honour in the pages of this Journal.