The politicke and militarie discourses of the Lord de La Nouue VVhereunto are adioyned certaine obseruations of the same author, of things happened during the three late ciuill warres of France. With a true declaration of manie particulars touching the same. All faithfully translated out of the French by E.A.
La Noue, François de, 1531-1591., Aggas, Edward.
Of sixe notable occurrences in the battaile of Dreux.

AMong all the battailes fought during our ci∣uill * warres in France, was there none more notable then the battaile of Dreux, in respect as well of the experimented Captaines there present, as for the obstinacie in fight. Howbeit to say the truth it was an accident worthie la∣mentation, through the powring foorth of the blood of aboue fiue hundred gentlemen of both sides into the bo∣some of the sea▪ together with the losse of sundrie Princes, Lordes and sufficient Captaines: but sith things are so fallen out, wee are not forbidden to applie them to our instructions, albeit it were bet∣ter neuer to returne to the like folly, that cost so deere. Now, many things there happened, which euery man did not peraduenture note, and that is it that hath caused me to set them downe, to the ende that such as ouer sleightly doe passe ouer the notable feates of armes without consideration of whatsoeuer may profite them, may be more diligent hereafter: for that is the way to learne to be a Captaine.

Page  380 The first thing that happened, albeit it were not of any great * importance, may yet be noted as an extraordinary matter. That is, that although both armies were aboue two long houres within a Canon shot each of other, as well to put themselues in aray, as to comtemplate their aduersaries, yet was there not any skirmish small or great before the generall battell, albeit in many other bat∣tels that haue bene fought the same haue bene the for〈…〉mers, as at Cerisolles, Sienne & Graueling. Neuerthelesse, shee may not say that the battels must of necessitie beginne by such actions, but for the most parte men are led thereto by the qualitie of the place, either when they finde themselues strong in shot, either to trie their enemies, either vpon some other consideration. There euery man stoode fast, imagining in himselfe that they that came against him were no Spaniards, Englishmen, or Italians, but Frenchmen, and those of the brauest: among whom were their companions, friends and kinsefolkes, as also that within one houre they were to say each other. This bred some horror, neuerthelesse without quay∣ling in courage they thus stayed vntill that the armies mooued to ioyne.

The second notable matter was the generositie of the Suitzers,* whom we may say to haue there made a worthie profe of their va∣lour: for the great bodie of that battell wherein they were, being at the first onset ouerthrowne, and their troope shrewdly endomaged by the Prince of Condées squadron, yet stood they fast in the place where they had bene aranged, albeit they were alone and that their horsemen had forsaken them. Yea a pretie way from the auant∣garde, three or foure hundred of the Protestants Harqueuziers seeing them so fit, set vpon them and flewe many, and yet could not make them giue place: A battell of Launceknights likewise did assault them, whom they ouerthrewe and followed beating vp∣pon them aboue two hundred paces. They were afterward also beset with two Cornets of Reistres, whom they withstoode, and lastly with one of Reistres & Frenchmen together, who made them to retire, albeit with small disorder, towarde their men that had bene behoulders of their valour. And notwithstanding their Colonel and almost al their Captaines were left dead in the place, yet did they by such resistance purchace great glorie.

The third act was the Lord of Guizes long patience, whereby * he attained to the victorie: for after the bodie of the battell which the Lord Constable led was wholy ouerthrowne except the Suit∣zers,Page  381 and himselfe taken, the sayd Lord stood fast, waiting whether they would rome to set vpon him: for as yet the Prince of Con∣dées footmen had not fought, whereto also parte of his horsemen still gathered into aray besides those that yet houered: but this a∣uantgard thus setting a good face on the matter, the Protestants durst not bite: In the meane time some of them stayed to charge the Suitzers, as is aforesayd: others to pursue those that fled, and many to spoyle the cariages, wherein they spent an houre and a halfe. Sundrie euen of the Lord of Guizes parte seeing him stand still so long while they that were ouerthrowne were pursued, wist not what to thinke of him, as if he had bene beside himselfe: and I beléeue some accused him of cowardlinesse, as the Romaines did Fabius Maximus almost in the like case: euen some of his aduersa∣ries began alreadie to crye that the victorie was theirs: but I re∣member that I heard the late Lord Admirall aunswer: We are de∣ceiued, for by and by wee shall see this great clowde dissolue vpon vs: And it so happened soone after, wherevpon ensued the chaunge of fortune. Hereby did the Lord of Guize well shewe that he did but watch for oportunitie: and could patiently behould the disordering of the Prince of Condées great troopes (which at the beginning being ioyned againe might haue troubled him shrewdly) about these small actions afore rehearsed: But after he did see them so scattered, he marched with such a bould countenance that he found but small resistance. Wee are not therefore suddenly to iudge of the entents of these great Captaines: for the effects doe afterward discouer their considerations to bee otherwise then many would imagine.

The fourth thing worthie memorie was the long continuance of * the battaile: for ordinarily in battailes in one houre we see al wonne and lost, yea that of Montcontour lasted not so long: but this be∣ginning about one of the clocke after noone lasted vntill fiue: yet must wee not imagine that they fought all this while, for they had many pawses, and sometimes gaue small onsets, and sometime great, which caried away the best men, and this continued vntill darke night. Truely the courage on both sides was wonderfull, as the great number of the dead did sufficiently testifie, which as many men say, amounted to aboue seauen thousand men, of whome the most were slayne rather in fight then in flight. But the chiefe cause of the prolonging of it was as I thinke because the Kings armie was strong in footmen, and the Prince of Condées in horsemen. Page  382 For the one could not breake the great battailes, neither the other driue away the horses. If wee doe well consider all battailes that haue bene fought since the Suizers battell, which fought againe the next day, wée shall finde none comparable to this, yea the battell of S. Laurence was ended in halfe an houre.

The fifth accident was the taking of the two Generalles of the * armies, a rare matter, because that they ordinarily doe neuer fight but in the ende and vpon extremitie: and many times a battell is al∣most wonne before they came to this poynt. But these stayed not so long, for in the beginning each of them endeuoured to set his men an example not to dallie. The Lord Constable was first ta∣ken and sore wounded, hauing likewise bene wounded in seauen battailes that he had bene in, which is testimonie sufficient of his courage: and the Lord Prince was likewise taken toward the ende and wounded also. Herevpon may growe a question, whether a Generall ought to aduenture so farre? Whereto it may bee aun∣swered, that this is not to be termed aduenturing, when the maine battaile marcheth to the charge, and so he departe not out of his place: Besides that these hauing good seconds, did the lesse feare the daunger of their persons: for the one had the Lord of Guize, and the other the Admirall, who both also were farre enough in the conflict.

The six was the maner how both the armies parted, which ma∣ny * times happeneth otherwise then there it did. Wee lightly see that the end of a battaile is the flight of the partie ouercome, which is withall pursued two or three leagues, and sometimes farther. But here we may say was no pursuite, but the Protestants retired an easie pace and in order, hauing yet two battailes of Reistres and one of French horsemen, in all amounting vnto about 1200. horse. But the Lord of Guize, who was weake in horse, not willing to abandon his footmen, was content to haue followed fiue or sixe hundred paces after them. Thus as well the one as the other be∣ing wearie, the night comming on parted them. He tooke his lod∣ging in the fielde where the battaile was fought, and the Admirall went to a Uillage a long league of, whether his footmen with all his cariages were retired. Some hould opinion that the battaile was not lost because the losers were not quite disordered, but ther∣in they are deceiued. For he that getteth the field, winneth the Ar∣tillerie and taketh the footmens Ensignes, hath tokens enowe of the victorie: albeit it may bee sayd that it was not at the full, as if Page  383 plaine flight had ensued. If anie man should replie that often times they had seene the two armies retire each from other in good order, as at Roche-abeille, also the fridaie before the battail of Moncon∣tour: It is true, but then had they not had any maine fight as heere, but onely great skirmishes, wherein eyther parte kept their aduan∣tage of the ground. There are yet liuing many Gentlemen & Cap∣taines able to remember what was there done, & stil to deliuer some obseruations thereupon.

Finallie, I thought good to set downe yet one thing aboue my * number, as also it happened after the battaile, which was the curte∣sie and honestie that the Lord of Guize beeing the conquerour vsed toward the Lord Prince of Condie his prisoner, which most men of each parte did not thinke that hee would haue done: for it is well e∣nough knowen how odious in ciuill watres the chiefe of either fac∣tion is, as also what things are imputed vnto them, so as if they fall into their enimies hands, after many reproches which they are for∣ced to beare, their liues also are in daunger. Howbeit here it fell out contrarie: for being brought before him, hee spake reuerentlie vnto him, and with verie modest speeches, wherein hee coulde not gather that hee meant to gird or checks him. Also so long as he soiourned in the campe, he oftentimes did eate with him: likewise because vp∣pon this daie of battayle they coulde haue but few beds brought, the rather for that the carriages were halfe rifled and scattered, be offe∣red him his bed, which the sayd Lord Prince would not accept, but for the one halfe. Thus did these two mightie Princes beeing as it were capital enimies, both in one bed, the one triumphing, the other a prisoner, take theyr rests together. It may be sayd that the Lorde Marshall of Anuill hauing him in custodie (for to him he yeelded himselfe) would not suffer him to haue any iniurie offered, because his father was also a prisoner: I confesse he would haue done what in him had lien, but surely if the Lorde of Guize woulde haue hurt him, his credite and reputation was then such as no man coulde haue letted him. Such braue actions are not, in my minde, to bee buried in obliuion, because that all that professe armes ought to stu∣dy to imitate them, and to abondon all crueltie and vnworthy de∣me a••res whereinto in these ciuil warres so many doe fall for that they either cannot or will not bridle their malice. To the enimy that resisteth we are to shewe our selues haughty: but being ouer∣come honesty willeth that we shew him curtesy. Some man might yet crosse me and say that hee might well ynough shewe him this Page  384 curtesy, considering what hee had before procured at Orleance a∣gainst the saide Prince: To whome I will aunswere that heare I meane to commend the beautifull actions of vertue when by chance I mèete with anie; but not to speake of other's which are not to my purposes: so that when I see them shine in what man so lower, I will honour them.