Instructions for the warres. Amply, learnedly, and politiquely, discoursing the method of militarie discipline. Originally written in French by that rare and worthy generall, Monsieur William de Bellay, Lord of Langey, Knight of the order of Fraunce, and the Kings lieutenant in Thurin. Translated by Paule Iue, Gent.
Fourquevaux, Raimond de Beccarie de Pavie, baron de, 1509-1574., Ive, Paul., Du Bellay, Guillaume, 1491-1543,

The order that a Lieutenant Generall ought to vse for the victualling of his armie: and how the auncient Chiefes did vse their booties, with diuers meanes that a Generall may vse to endomage his enemies, and to keepe himselfe from surprise

The 5. Chapter.

A Lieutenant Generall ought to haue a care so to prouide for his hoast, yt it might be frée of all incombrances as might bee possible, and ought to looke into all those causes that might hinder the compassing of his enter∣prises. Amongst all which, there is none greater then this: to weet, to keepe a Camp furnished with bread and wine. The auncient Chiefes were not carefull for wine: for when the wine fayled them, they dranke water mingled with a little vineger to giue it colour and sauour. And amongst their prouisions for their hoasts, there were no speeches made of wine, but only to haue water and vineger. Moreouer, the auncient Souldiers had not their bread baked in ouens, as we haue at this instant euery where, but baked cakes themselues of a certaine quantitie of meale that was deliuered vnto them day by day, out of the store, and besides that, a cer∣taine quantitie of larde; and this was all: so that the victualls whereof the auncient Chiefes made their prouision for the sus∣tentation of a Campe, was only meale, vineger, and lard for the Souldiers, and barley for the horses. They had moreouer a great number of cattell both great and small, that followed their Campes; which cattell (for that it needed not to be carted or car∣ried, nor likewise was fed with any thing that was carried) was not chargeable, nor troublesome vnto an armie: which was the occasion in times past that their armies went many iournies Page  163 through deserts and solitarie places, without lacke of victualls, for that they liued of victuall that might easely follow a Camp.

The Turke his Souldiers neede no wine, because that their lawe doth forbid them to drinke it, and also they go long with∣out eating bread, if so be that they may haue water and rice, and seldome it is that they do suffer want: for they carrie ordinarilie sackes full of poudered flesh minsed so fine, that it seemeth to be a pouder, and to eate this poudered flesh, they take but a little at a meale, and temper it in warme water, and afterward sup it vp, and so doe the sayd Turkes liue. Moreouer, if they haue great want of victuall, the said flesh being spent, they do let their horses bloud: for they are almost all horsemen, and do liue cer∣taine daies with this bloud. And if so be that the famine doe too much oppresse them, they do kill their horses, and eate them be∣fore they do forsake to do their Prince loyall seruice, and the vt∣termost of their power; which our delicate Souldiers will not do: for they will very hardly serue one day without they bee in wine vp to the eares, or full crammed readie to burst: but when I say our Souldiers, I meane those that are at this instant, but not those that might bee leuied in Fraunce: for that they might easely be made temperate enough, so that ye Chiefes themselues would giue them example, and that they were not so much gi∣uen vnto disordinate eating and drinking as they are. The Scotchmen (as sayth Froisard) haue a very good manner to liue in time of warre: for first of all they do carrie no prouision of bread and wine with them. Moreouer, they content themselus long time, so that they may haue flesh but halfe sodden, which they do eate very well without bread, and drinke water. And moreouer, they are not troubled with the carrying of kettles or pannes, because that they do see the their flesh in the skinnes of beastes when they haue flayed them: nor haue no care to carrie prouision with them, because they are sure to finde in the coun∣trie where they do pretend to make warre. One thing they haue care of, that is, to carrie a plate of yron, and a bagge of meale, to the intent that when they feele their stomackes weake and féeble with the eating of too much rawe flesh, they might comfort them with cakes, which they do make after this manner. They tem∣per Page  164 a little meale in a dish, and cast their plate into the fire, and when the plate is hot enough, they do make little cakes of their paste, and bake them vpon the sayd plate: and by this meanes they do make great iournies to surprise their neighbours, with∣out rumour of their enterprises, and without any great cost. As for vs Frenchmen, we will haue a regard not to liue so soberly what need soeuer there were: for hardly wil we one houre indure the lacke of good wine or good bread, nor of any other daintie, no more then if we were at home in our owne houses, and that eue∣rie man were of abilitie to haue all that he desired. And therfore our armies are quickly famished, as well for that it is hard to make prouision for many daies of so many things as wee do re∣quire, as also for the meruelous spoyle that are made of our pro∣uisions when we haue them. Wherefore we must reforme our hoasts after a new manner, that is, neuer to suffer men of warre to eate other bread then that they should bake themselues. And in so doing, it should be necessarie to furnish the sayd Souldiers, euery man with a quantitie of meale, whether it were by gift, or in rebating it vpō their wages. As for wine, the General should not trouble himselfe to prouide any, nor impeach the victuallers from bringing it aboundantly, and yet he should vse no great di∣ligence on his part to cause any to be brought vnto the Camp. As for the other prouisions, they may bee vsed altogether accor∣ding vnto the auncient manner. This doing, all well conside∣red, you shall finde that a Lieutenant Generall shall free his ar∣mie of a most great charge, and ease himselfe of a great burthen. And to the intent that our Legionaries should finde the want of victualls to bee the lesse straunge vnto them, if that they should lacke at any time, and that they might passe at a neede without wine, and choyse of meates: I am of opinion, that in going and returning from their musters they should be forbidden to drinke wine, and to eate bread baked in an ouen, and likewise the eating of flesh, except lard, whereof only I would cause prouision to be made at the places where they should passe & lodge: and for the rest they should carrie vpon their backs asmuch meale as should serue them during the voyadge, if that they would eate: for other prouision I would make them none of any thing.

Page  165Through this order the Souldiers would learne to suffer all necessities at a need, the countrie should be eased, and the Soul∣diers would not bee so readie to make quarrels and debates a∣mongst themselues as they are, when they haue great aboun∣dance of victualls. To treate of the booties that are gotten after the winning of a battaile, or in going through an enemie his countrie, or in getting any towne by assault, or by the raunsom∣ing of the towne or countrie where an armie doth passe, and for prisoners that may bee taken: first it shall not bee amisse to exa∣mine how the auncient Chiefes did gouerne their armies in the like busines. And consider what is the cause that the warres at these daies do aswell impouerish the Princes that are vanqui∣shers, as those which are vanquished: for that if the one do loose honor, and any part of his lands, the other doth spend his trea∣sure, and his goods: which was not so in times past, because that the vanquisher enriched himselfe alwaies with the goods and spoyles of his enemies, and at this time we do make no such ac∣compt of the booties which we do get as they did then: but all is abandoned vnto the Souldiers, which is cause of two great dis∣orders: the one is that which I haue spoken of touching the im∣pourishing of a Prince; and the other is, that the Souldiers do become the more couetous to get, and lesse carefull to keepe the orders of the warres. For many times it hath béen seen that the couetousnesse of the pillage hath ouerthrowne the vanqui∣sher: as happened vnto the Frenchmen at Guyngate, where the victorie was wholly ours, if the French Archers had not giuen themselues vnto pillage; which they payd for dearely, for they lost all their liues there.

The Romanes who without doubt haue béen the maisters of this exercise, did prouide wisely for these two inconueniences: for it was ordayned amongst them that the bootie that was got∣ten, should appertaine vnto the common vse, and that the Con∣sull should distribute it as he thought good in the name of the Senate and people. And in this case they had Questors, which were as we would say Treasourers, into whose hands were as∣signed all the booties, and raunsomes that were made: where∣withall the Consull did helpe to pay his Souldiers, to succour Page  166 sicke and hurt men, and to helpe to support the other charges of the hoast. But yet the Consull might suffer his men to ran∣sacke, and they did it sometimes; but it neuer caused any disor∣der: for that their enemies hoast being ouerthrowne, al the spoyle was placed in the middest of the armie, and afterward it was distributed vnto euery man according vnto his qualitie and ver∣tue: which manner was cause that the Souldiers gaue them∣selues vnto the fight, and not vnto pillage: and also that the or∣dinarie bands raunged in the bodie of the Battailon, did not pursue those that fled, but continued fast in their rankes without daunger: for the light armed men only had the charge to followe the victorie; so that if the bootie should haue appertayned vnto those that did first gather it vp, it had not béen possible nor a∣greeing vnto equitie to haue kept the battailons in order, & haue giuen others libertie to make their profite. By this meanes the common treasure augmented merueilously, and that was the occasion that a Consull carried so much treasure at his triumph, hauing gathered it together of his booties and raunsomes. The Romanes did also another thing with great consideration, that was, that the one third part of the wages that they gaue month∣ly vnto euery Souldier, was deliuered into the hands of the Ensigne-bearer, which he might not render vnto them agayne vntill such time as the warres were finished. And this did they, being thereunto mooued by two reasons, the one was to the in∣tent that the Souldiers might haue some profite of their wa∣ges: (for being yong men, and without care, the more goods that they had, the more they spent without neede) the other reason was, that the Souldiers should fight the more resolutly, & with the better wills defend him that had their goods in keeping. So that by this meanes they became rich and valiant, which man∣ner we must vse, and also the others before spoken of, if we will reduce the exercise of the warres into it first estate. But to re∣turne to speake of the office of a Generall that would surely con∣duct an armie marching through an enemie his countrie from place to place: because that sometimes there may happen many accidences wherein there are great danger: which to withstand, me thinke that it were requisit yt a Lieutenant Generall should Page  167 imploy his wittes and his Souldiers their vertues: & therefore it shalbe necessarie to speake somewhat thereof. Wherefore, I say that as often as a Lieutenant Generall doth trauell with a great companie or a small, that aboue al things he ought to pro∣uide for the sodaine assaults, and ambushes of his enemies, into which he may fall two manner of waies: for either he falleth thereinto of himselfe in trauailing, or else he is entised thereun∣to by his enemies, for lacke of taking heed. To withstand the first manner, it shalbe néedfull to send out two or thrée troopes of discoueries before. The first troope ought to be but a small num∣ber to runne on the one side & the other to discouer. The second should be of a reasonable force to back them, if they should be as∣sayled. And the third ought to be stronger then the second, for to resist a good force of their enemies, if that they did méet them in the teeth. And how much the fitter the countrie were for am∣bushes, as full of woods, hills, and such like; so much the greater should the troopes of the discouerers be: for ambushes are most commonly made in a wood, or behind a hill, & somtimes in caues and ditches, alongst the banks of riuers, if they be high enough, sometimes in vallies and houses, and behinde olde walls. In briefe, ambushes may be laid in all places how little couered soe∣uer they be: specially for that footmen may lie down flat vpō the ground to be the lesse perceiued. But as an ambush where there is no héed taken may do great hurt: so being prouided for & dis∣couered it can do nothing at all. The foules of the ayre haue of∣times discouered ambushes, and so likewise hath the dust of the ground discouered the comming of an enemie, because of the dust which an armie doth cause to rise in trauailing. Paulus Aemelius Consull of Rome, being to passe through a forrest with his men neere vnto a water, seeing a farre of that many foule rose vp so∣dainly, coniectured that in the water there were men hid; because that the foule rose wholly afeard & flewe ouer the water to & fro without ceasse: he therefore sending discouerers to see what it was, and finding that there were 10000. Bohemians in am∣bush for to haue surprised him in passage, caused his Legions to turne back again, & tooke another way that his enemies doubted not of, & surprised & ouerthrew them that would haue surprised Page  168 him. Likewise Thyamenus the sonne of Horestes being aduer∣tised that his enemies lay vpon the toppe of a high mountaine, where he and his men should passe: hauing sent to knowe the trueth by his discouerers, who reported vnto him that it was o∣therwise then had béen told him before: as the sayd Thyamenus was procéeding vpon his way, he sawe a great number of foule rise from the place that he doubted, which flewe round about not lighting: whereby he vnderstood of his enemies ambush, and sought another way to passe through. As concerning the se∣cond poynt, that is to bee inticed vpon an ambush: a Generall ought alwaies to stand vpon his guard, and ought neuer to giue credite vnto things that are but like vnto a trueth: as if an ene∣mie doth place before him some troope of cattle or other thing to pray vpon, he may beléeue that it is but a hooke to catch him with all, and a couering of his deceipt. Likewise, if a great number of his enemies Souldiers, should flye before a small number of his men; or that a small number of his enemies dare assault a great number of his, he may be assured that it is not done with∣out a consideration. Moreouer, if an enemie do sodainly flye without cause, a Generall may bee assured that it hath a subtile meaning in it. True it is that these things may oftimes be done without thinking of any euill, specially when as they that make these shewes, haue asmuch reason to doubt on their sides, as the others on theirs: notwithstanding, the surest way in these cases, is to take all that is done by the enemie at the worst, except a man had a most certaine aduertisement. Moreouer, a Generall must not beleeue but that his enemie can do his busines with wisedome. Wherefore if a Generall would take heed for being deceiued, & endomaged, he ought to esteeme of his enemie most, when he perceiueth him to be weakest and worst counsailed: and in this busines he must vse two contrarie termes. First of all he ought to doubt his enemie in his owne thought, and in the gouernment of his armie; but to dispraise him in speach, and by all his outward demonstrations to make shewe that he maketh no accompt of him. This doing, the last manner will bee an oc∣casion to animate his Souldiers to conceiue the better hope of the victorie against their enemies: and the first will make him Page  169 the more wary and aduised to kéepe him-selfe from surprice: which is a thing more then necessary, when as a Generall is in an enemy his countrey, because that an army is there a thou∣sand times more in danger, then it may be vppon a day of Bat∣taile. And therefore he ought to be circumspect, and ought to haue all the countrey described vnto him, and platted in sutch sort, that he might know all the places in the countrey, distan∣ces from one place vnto another, waies, footepaths, mountains, fluds, marshes, riuers, and all other qualities. And for to vnder∣stand all this the better, he must get those about him that know the countrey, and must interogat them seuerally from point to point: and afterwards hauing penned their answers, he must conferre them together, to try whether they be like or contrary. And to be the better assured, he must send out horsemen some∣what before into the countrey, and certaine wise Chiefes with them, to discouer the force and estate of his enemies, and to sée if the description made vnto him by the others, do agrée with the truth. He must likewise haue a great regard that his guides be safe kept, for many times false and traiterous guides haue bin the occasion of the losse of many a good man, and so likewise haue false spies: of whome, to be well serued, he must promise to giue them great recompence for their paines in doing theyr duties faithfully: and also must threaten them with death, if that they should faile, and deceiue him: and aboue all things his army must neuer know vnto what place he doth determine to bring them: for in all the exercise of the warres, there is no one point more profitable, then to kéepe secret that which is pre∣tended. And to the intent that an army should not be troubled or astonied through any sodaine assault, the souldiers ought to be alwayes in a readinesse to receiue their enemies, that is to say, to be aduertised and taught what they should do, if that they should be assailed either by night or by day, while they rest, or are vpon the way, for things that are prouided for, do least hurt. We must also note this aduertisement to vse it when as we do trauaile through the countrey, that is, that the one part of the army should not be too farre from the other. And for that some do goe sometimes too fast, and others too slowe, it should Page  170 be néedefull to place certaine expresse Chiefes both before, be∣hinde, and betwixt the battailes, who should haue charge to cause them to march all of one forme and time, kéeping backe those that goe too fast, and hastening those that goe too slowly: for if a Generall do not cause that to be done, they will fall into a disorder, which might happen to cause their ouerthrowe. Euery man shall measure his pace according vnto the stroke of the Dromme, and so their gate will be all one. The single order of euery Legion for the time that they do march together, (I meane when they do march one after another, and that they be farre from enemyes) must be 21. men in a ranke, who so would raunge the Legions readily in battaile: and therefore there must be order giuen that the waies where that they should passe, should be at the least broad enough to receiue the sayd number. A Generall ought also to consider of the custome and qualitie of his enemy, to wéete, whether he vse to assayle in the euening, or in the morning, or in the night, and whether he be strongest of footemen, or of horsemen, to the intent to prouide for him.