Of the returne of the two armies toward Orleance and Paris: also of the course that the P. of Condie tooke in victualling, marching, and lodgiug of his men.
AFter the ioyning of the Reisters there needed * no long consultation to knowe what were best to be done. For the generall voice imported to transport the warre to Paris. This did some de∣sire peraduenture the rather to the ende to see their owne houses, but the most part knewe it to be the best waie to attaine to peace: neither were the Generalles ignorant that to continue the warre, their ar∣mies Page 404 could not misse artillerie, pouder, money, and other commo∣dities that are to be wreasted from the marchant and the artificer, whereof vnlesse they drewe towarde Orleance (which was their nource mother) they should be depriued, which made them to yéeld to the common desire. In this good minde did the Protestants re∣turne, beeing of opinion that the enimies armie would coast them, as well to debarre them from dismantelling diuerse small and weake Townes, as also to spie occasion to intrappe some one of their troopes. Then did Fraunce abounde in all sortes of virtu∣alles, and yet were they to vse greate arte and diligence to feede an vnpayd armie of aboue twentie thousand men, whom the Coun∣trie fauoured not as they did the other, beeing but meanely furni∣shed with munition. The Lorde Admirall had an especiall care aboue all things to haue expert commissaries, and to cause them to haue carriage according to the Protestant want, and was wont when so euer there was anie question of forming the bodie of an armie, to saie: Let vs beginne the shaping of this monster by the bel∣lie.
Nowe because our horsemen did commonlie lodge scattering * abroade in the good villages, the sayde commissaries besides theyr ordinarie carriages kept still in euery cornet a baker and two horse of burthen, which came no sooner to their quarter but they fell to making of bread, and so sent it to the footemen. All these small helpes proceeding from fortie cornets (for there about wee then were) being gathered together, amounted vnto a great deale: yea, and thence sometimes they sent both flesh and wine, whereto the Gentrie were so affectionate that from their lodgings they would not spare their carriages for conduct of whatsoeuer was requisite. The small Townes that were taken were reserued for the muni∣tionaries, and they threatned the rest that kept no garrisons to fire all a league rounde about if they sent in no prouision: where∣by our footmen who lodged close were ordinarilie well prouided. I doe not heere speake of the booties which as well the footemen as horsemen wonne from the aduersaries, neyther is it anie doubt but this denouring animall passing through so many Prouinces, could still finde soule pasture where with was sometimes mixed the poore mans garment, yea, and the friendes to, so sore did necessitie and desire to catch incite those that wanted no excuses to coulour their spoile. Of these fruites were many prouided of those things which besides foode the soldiour is to buy, as garments & weapons Page 405 which are most ne•essarie things.
Now must I speake of the lodging of the armie which they were * forced to scatter abroade, and that for two principall reasons. The one for the commoditie of virtuall, the other that it might be vnder couert, whereby to be defended from the iniurie of the winter: for without this help it could not consist. I know this to be a verie bad kinde of lodging: also that in imperial & royall warres men would beware of committing such ouer sights, least they might be straight wayes surprised: But in ciuill warres both partes were forced and accustomed so to doe, at the least in France. The footmen were lodged in two bodies, viz. in a maine battayle and an auantgarde, and the horsemen in the villages next to hand. Uppon anie earnest allarum the horsemen drewe to their quarters: likewise if one se∣uerall lodging were assayled, the others went straight to the re∣scue.
Among the Cornets there were many harquebuziers on horsback, and when they were come to their quarter, all the wayes were very well fortefied: and many times they prouided themselues in the Churches and Castles, so to holde out two good houres vntill they might haue succour. I haue sometimes seene one of the Generals march with fiue or sixe hundred men and beate back the enimie that had assayled some lodging. Howbeit notwithstanding whatsoeuer watch on all sides, yet there happened many surprises, albeit the waies were beaten both night and daie. Many times wee had our best aduice from the Picorers, who buzzing abroade like flyes did ordinarilie meet with the enimie, and so some one brought in word, for these men to flie are as swift as hares, and when they goe about some bootie they euen flie. The head towarde the enimie who had light horsmen did commonlie consist of fiue hundred good horse, and as many harquebuziers on horsebacke, with small store of carriage, except horse of burthen, which was done to the end to keepe the eni∣mies busie, that they should make no enterprise, also that the armie might alwayes haue warning.
Concerning the order of the march, all the troopes had theyr meeting nominated at a certaine houre in place conuenient, for the * diuision of the lodgings: and thence they repayred each to his quar∣ter, as also they vsed greate speede when they were to trauayle sundrie wayes. One inconuenience there was in marching thus scatteringlie, namelie, that oftentimes they did vse ma∣ny false allarums. Neuerthelesse it was neuer noted that the Page 406Prince of Condie had euer anie notable surprise. Neither woulde I that anie man should build anie rule vpon these examples which necessitie engendered, vnlesse vppon the lyke reason as then bare swaie: for so may they be vsed in accomodating them to time, place, and persons. But the surest waie were to reforme our customes by the ancient militarie rules, wherin is more perfection than in those which wee now a dayes doe practise. Yet must we not saie that these great Captaines ought to haue done otherwise than they did, for they neuer fayled in ought that either could or should be done. As also their most notable actions are since their deathes vanished away.