The practice, proceedings, and lawes of armes described out of the doings of most valiant and expert captaines, and confirmed both by ancient, and moderne examples, and præcedents, by Matthevv Sutcliffe.
Sutcliffe, Matthew, 1550?-1629.
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CHAP. XV. Containing a discourse concerning the meanes, whereby an armie that is foiled, or feareth to fight may most safely retire: and how the enemie in folowing the course of his victorie, may be stopped.

HOw an armie that is strong in the field, may safely march, fight with aduantage, and vse the victorie, I haue spoken sufficient. But because the successe ofawarres is doubtfull, and Mars (as Poets faine) fauourethbnow one, then an another: To perfite this discourse, it remaineth that Ialso declare, how when blastes of winde blow contrary, wee may either retire from the enemie, that seemeth to haue prise, and fast hold on vs in marching or fighting; or els stop his course that hee proceed no further, or els our selues gather new forces.

It is a matter very difficult for an armie that is broken to rallie it selfe, and depart without vtter discomfiture where the enemie know∣eth it, and vseth his aduantage. For nothing can be more hardly re∣medied, then feare and disorder of the multitude, if once it enter throughly, or the enemie followeth speedilie. If the enemie giueth vs respite, or our forces be not altogether broken, the meanes to saue the rest, and succour those that retire, are these. First, if there be any ground of aduantage in the place, the same is to bee taken with that part of the armie that remaineth intire, which diuided into squa∣brons, may receiue their owne people flying within the distances, and repell the enemie from the higher ground. In the meane while, those that are in disorder, are to be brought into order agayne behinde those squadrons.

ThecHeluetians beyng wearried and foyled in the fight with Caesar, retyred to a hill hath by, and there making head, saued the rest. The forragers sent out by Cicero at Vatuca, being charged by the Germanes retired, and defended themselues well, as long as they kept on the higher ground. AtdGergouia when Caesars men pressed by the enemie, and briuen from the higher ground began to flie, hee succoured them, and staied the enemies pursuite by pla∣cing other squadrous at the foote at the hill, with whom they had Page  209no courage to encounter. Neither didaPompeyes men that chased Caesars souldiers at Dyrrhachium pursue them, after that they once saw Antony comming with succour from the higher ground. If there be no higher ground neere to retrait vnto; the next course is for those companies that are pressed, to retire within the distances of those squadrons, that stand firme. For this cause the Romanes did alwayes so range their battels, that the squadrons of the first battell might re∣tire within the squadrons of the next, and both be releeued within the squadrons of their last. In the encounter at S. Clere Anno 1569, where the Kings Auantgard fled, the same was succored by the bat∣tell that followed, which so charged the Protestants, that pursued it, and draue them downe the hill, that if the Lansquenets that stoode at the foote of the hill had not stoode firme, many of them had there bene cut in pieces.

That aduantage which the higher ground giueth, the same a deepe trenche, or thicke hedge, or a straite like wise affordeth: so that if our squadrons, that stande firme be there placed, the rest that are discoura∣ged may runne behinde them, and take breath. The Romanes retiring oft times within the fortifications of their campe, haue there againe made head against the enemy, and saued themselues.

If neither the place where the army is ordered, nor the ranging of our battels do admit any such retraite: the last remedy is to auance forward either our horsmen, or some firme squadron of footemen, espe∣cially shot and targetters, vpon the flanke of the enemy that chaseth our men: and if hee stay not, then resolutely to charge him. In the meane time those that flie are to be rallyed againe. Annibal in that last battell which hee fought with the Romanes in Afrike, thrise ral∣lyed his forces, and so many fresh charges gaue he vnto them. If his souldiers had bene answerable vnto him, or els if the Romanes had not followed very orderly, he might percase haue broken them.bPhi∣lopoemen charging the enemy, that followed the chase of his men too egerly; did ouerthrow him. At Rauenna thecSpaniards that re∣mained after the battel vnbroken, retiring in good order, and vsing the aduantage of the ground, did so receiue the enemy that char∣ged them, that they slew the General, and diuers of his company.

Those therefore that retire, Iet them marche resolutely, and or∣derly: the shot let them approch neere to the flanks of the squadrons of pikes. There also is the defence of targetters against horse. The Page  210pikes let them not disdeine the helpe of shot, and short weapons. The horse are to bee ranged behinde the squadrons, or on the flankes. Which if they be vnited in one body are not easily broken, nor rashly to be charged.

If being neere the enemy thou desirest to depart without fight, at least without Iosse, thy best course is to make him vncertaine of thy purpose, by pretending that which thou meanest not. By making of fires, hauging of matches in bushes, and standing of tentes, the enemy is oftentimes abused, especially in the night. That thy com∣panies may make more speede, thou art before thou beginnest to dis∣lodge, to sende thy hurt and sicke, together with the baggage and great ordonance before thee, and then to followe with the rest.aCae∣sar departing from Pompey at Dyrrhachium, that he might not be charged at disaduantage in his marche, tooke this course. The sicke, hurt, and baggage of the campe hee sent away first garded with one Regiment. Other Regiments he caused to marche after them some good distance: with two legions that remained hee followed last. And hauing marched so much as he meant to doe that day, and making shewe to lodge there, when the enemy, that fol∣lowed was not aware, and vnreaby, hee departed presently, and that day got so much ground, that after ward hee ould neuer be ouertaken, before hee came whither hee meant to goe. If the enemy be ready in armes to follow, it is hard to goe from him, vnlesse the neerenesse of hils, or straites doe fauour thy retraite.

Lest thou be charged in retiring, with the enemies horse or shot, or disordered in some straite; great care must be vses. To represse the force of horsemen, vse either thy horsemen entermingled with some shot, or squadrons of pikes flanked with musquetiers: against shot, vse horsemen in the plaine, and shot and targetters in straites. If thou fearest to be charged in some straite, take the vpper ground with thy shot, and targets, and seeke those aduantages which before I haue shewed thee in the discourse of the vse of diuers weapons, and aduantages of ground.

To stoppe the enemies pursuite, where he must passe a straite be∣fore be come at thee, it is a good course to cut downe trees and woods, and to set them on fire. For horse will hardly passe through the fire, nor can lightly passe, but in hye wayes or made wayes. By this meanes Xenophon retired safe with his men frombDryla, and Page  211theaBellouacians escaped the handes of Caesar, in the warrs of France.

Pompey being to take shippe at Brundusium, and fearing least if he abandoned the walles, Caesar would enter the towne, and charge his men, as they went on boord,bstopped and dammed vp all the gates and wayes saue one, and in the streetes made blinde trenches, staked them, and couered them; on the walles he placed his archery, and light armed for defence of them, vntill the rest were all shipped: when all the rest were on boord, then did these runne toward the porte, where there were boates and fregates readie to receiue them.

That there may be some ende of flying, either thou art to direct thy course to the hils, and there to make head, as aduantage is of∣fered vnto thee, or els to take some strong towne for thy safegard. The Romanes keeping with their army in the higher ground, wea∣ried Annibals victorious army, and cut betweene the same, and pro∣uision, So long as thecGaules kept on the higher ground, and straited Caesars victuals, hee coulde not hurt them. D. Brutus in ta∣king of Mutina arrested Antonies army, that was going into France. The retraite of Vercingetorix into Alexia, stayed Caesar a great time in that siege, in which meane time the Gaules leuied newe forces. The siege of townes doe oftentimes, breake the force of an army. The Protestants finding no resistance in open fielde, were har∣rassed, and tyred out in the siege ofdPoytiers: and like hap had the aduerse party. For being victorious at Moncontour, they lost all vi∣gour, and strength at the siege of S. Iean d'Angeli.

That thou doe not receiue dishonour by retiring; two things thou art especially to haue regard vnto: first, that thou doe not leaue be∣hinde thee, thy sicke and hurt men; secondly, that thou doe not loose thy carriages, and baggage, nor leaue them. For without them, thou canst neither commodiously cary armes, nor victuals with thee, nor mainteine thy company.

To do whatsoeuer in this case is requisite, nothing is more auaile∣able, then expedition. By that thou dispatchest all impediments, thou winnest ground, thou preuentest the enemy, thou sanest thy selfe, and thy friends. And therefore if in good successe: much more in calamitie, ought we to vse all celeritie. Afranius being almost past all danger, yet for idlenesse suffered the enemy to come betweene him, and his retraite, whichewas his ruine.

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These things they hinder and stoppe the enemies proceeding for sometime. But if thou meanest to driue him out of the countrey, or to hinder him for winning any more ground; newe forces must be le∣uied, and an army sent into the fielde, if not to fight with him vpon eauen grounde: yet to watche all aduantages, and to succour where neede shall require. Further thou must fortifie all townes neere, where the enemy lyeth. This was the proceeding of the Romanes against Annibal, and of the Gaules against Caesar. Philip the Kinga of Ma∣cedonia after his ouerthrow by the Riuer of Aous, encamped with his forces in tempe a place of very hard accesse; put gardes in the cities rounde about; and as any citie or castle was assailed by the enemy; so hee succourd the same with men, and other necessary prouision. But in this course two things we are to take heede of, first that we doe not take vpon vs to defend townes either weake by situation, or want of defence, or els that want things necessary for to susteine a siege. Secondly that we doe not suffer the townes that are besieged to languish without hope of supply, or succour.

For mainteyning of our credite with our friends and confederats, which commonly yeeld to follow the current of good, or bad successe: if in the fielde we receiue some checke, yet are wee as much as wee can to couer our hurtes, and diminish the credite of the enemies vic∣torie. Caesar hauing receiued some losses atbDyrrachium, yet would hee not acknowledge them to his souldiers, but ascribed the slen∣der successe of his enterprise to errour, rather then to the enemies force. Vercingetorix after the losse of Auaricum, where a few one∣ly of many escaped, and that in pitifull plight;capparelled them, and hid their deformitie, and diminished with the best wordes hee could the losse of the towne. The Heluetians likewise being foyled by Caesar at the passage of the riuer of Sone, did diminish the nomber of those, that were ouerthrowne, and assigned it rather to casualtie, then vertue. Nothing doeth moreddiscourage souldiers, then when they see the Generall himselfe by the greatnesse of the cala∣mitie discouraged. This caused the souldiers of Domitius to for∣sake him at Corfinium, and to yeelde the towne to Caesar.eVar∣ro the Romane Consul, discouering vnto the Capuans the wants of the Romanes, and the great calamitie they had receiued at Cannae, thereby thinking to mooue pity, mooued them rather to reuolt, as despairing that the Romanes could euer recouer themselues after Page  213such an ouerthrow. Thea vgly sight of the Macedonians slaine and mangled by the Romanes, which in wisedome the king should haue couered, did greatly terrify the army, when to praise them, he shewed them openly.

Finally, as all calamities, ouerthrowes, and mishaps do proceed from contempt of religion, iustice, and military discipline; so there is no hope to repaire our losses, but by restoring the worship of God, by administring of good iustice, and strict obseruance of military or∣ders. The Romanes as they lost their city, and were ouerthrowen by the Gaules at Allia for their contempt of these things; so restoring matters to their ancient forme recouered the same againe, and after∣ward had great good successe in all their enterprises. Againe, when in the times of the latter emperours, that state was giuen ouer to all impiety, and iniustice, and vtterly neglected the lawes of armes, by which that empire had growen so great; the same fell into vtter ru∣ine. For who can expect good successe in warres, that neglect the worship of the Lord of hostes the supreme moderator of all warres? As long therefore as religion and iustice is troden vnder foot, and hy∣pocrisy, and shewes of ceremoniall reformation, and Iewish toyes goe for good religion, and the goods destinate to the seruice of God, main∣teinance of vertue, and learning, and reliefe of the poore, are made a spoile of harpyes and rauiners, and Gods ministers made a scorne of euery leud railing companion, and honors are solde for mony, and dis∣loyalty, and treason, and all villeiny redeemed with bribery, and glo∣ry is placed in stones, silkes, and strange fashions; and men of value contemned for pouerty, and vertue despised as dust, and wealth e∣steemed as felicity, and learning rewarded with almes, and valiant souldiers cast of with proud and disdainfull words, and base rascals command, and ouerrule vertue, and law with wealth and fauor; and mens skinnes are not valued at the price of dogges skinnes; and no man may do his countrey seruice, but he shall therein endanger his honor, state, and life, and no man careth for the common cause; but euery man abuseth his honor, and authority, either to enrich himselfe and his brats, or to winne money, and wealth, to spende the same a∣gaine in surfet, leachery, and excesse: so long neither can any nation haue victory, nor loosing can e∣uer recouer their losse