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.

Part. 1. Wherein is declared, what things are especially to be considered of those, that leade an army by land, or by sea, into a forreine countrey.

VNcertainty, and irresolution, as in other actions, so in the proceeding of warres, worketh no good effect. Time may not be spent, nor money wasted vainely. A wise captaine therefore purposing a iourney into an other countrey, wil before hand resolue, first what time is fittest to set forward, secondly what things be necessary for his seruice, that he may haue them ready against that time; and thirdly what place is fittest both to make his prouision, and to assemble his troupes in. The consideration of the time is very materiall: for neither is it conuenient to enter in the depth of Win∣ter, for that at that time forage for horses is very hard to come by; nor in the heate of Sommer, for that the time is hurtfull for mens bodyes to trauell in, Caesar entring into France in the middest of Winter, was driuen to great extremities, and albeit hee had good helpe of friendes to relieue him with victuals, and other nacessaries: yet were his souldiers and horses almost famished. Then it is hard to lye without doores: the wayes then also are very troublesome. The duke of Lancasters army arriuing inaPortugal, in the dayes of king Richard the 2. in the heate of Sommer, suffered no lesse through heate, then the other through cold. Much also did thebblacke Prin∣ces army suffer in Spaine through the heate of Sommer. Neither did the heate of the Countrey in our late voyage of Portugal further our enterprise. The most conuenient time to enter any Countrey with an army is, when the same may finde greatest store of victuals for men, of forrage for horses, and is most temperate: so that men may endure trauaile best, without endangering their health. Of thiscCaesar had respect both in his warres in France, and Affrike, and other places. And euill did it befall those, yt without consideration of time rashly aduentured to goe in foreine seruices. He that conside∣reth not the time, must make his prouision the greater.

The place also woulde be chosen, and certainely resolued vpon, where both our prouision is to be made, & our souldiers are to be ap∣pointed to meete. The Romanes in their warres in Greece, assēbled their forces at ye port ofdBrundusiū, sayling into Affrike against the Page  88Carthaginians, they made their prouision & rendeuouz at Lilibaeum, which say right ouer against Afrike, as the other port was commo∣dious for those yt sailed into Greece. Cato in his iourney intoaSpaine chose the port of Luna, as lying directly against Spaine. Annibalb purposing a voyage into Italy, assigned newe Carthage for his men to meete at. WhencCaesar entended the inuasion of this Iland, he appointed his men to meete, and his prouision to bee brought to Caleis and Bollein. For that neither the time, nor place of meeting, was appointed certaine, I report mee what hinderance it was to vs, in the enterprise of Portugal. But greatest care would be had, first that we cary with vs force of our owne, sufficient: and secondly, that we haue prouision of armes, victuals, munitions, and all instruments of warre with vs. For in vayne looketh he for helpe of others, or of the countrey where he goeth, that is not strong of himselfe.dBanished men doe make those that goe in their succour beleeue, that they haue great parties in the countrey, and that the enterprise is easie; but there is no wisedome to giue them futher credite, then such men deserue. In Portugall we may remember, how we were abused, or rather abused our selues to thinke that the countrey would reuolt be∣fore we had beaten the Spaniard, that kept the people in subiection: and too late it is to looke for supplie from home of men or victuals, when we are presently to vse them. The Romanes although they sent diuers times succours to other natiōs, as to the Greekes oppres∣sed by the kings of Macedonia: to the Sicilians inuaded by the Car∣thaginians: yet neuer sent they lesse then a sufficient armie, furnished with all things necessarie. Caesar for that hee was driuen to leaue a great part of his armie, and prouision behinde him, both in hisevoyage against Pompey, and against Scipio infAfrike, was dri∣uen to great extremities, and omitted many opportunities before the rest of his armie came at him. Hee that hath his men, and all things ready with him, oppresseth the Countrey, before prouision can be made against him.

Yet may not the Prince that inuadeth others, so prouide against the enemie, that hee forget to couer and defende his owne Coun∣trey and Coast, and frontier Townes against all sudden enterpri∣ses. Annibal marching towardes Italy, before hand prouided onegarmie for the garde of Afrike, another for the garde of Spaine. And Caesar pursuing Pompey into Greece, committed Page  89theaguarde of Italy, and the port townes thereof vnto Antony IfbSyphax going out of his countrey to warre against the Romanes,had had like care, his country had not beene taken from him in his absence by Masinissa and Laelius. Hee is not wise that seeking to strike his enemy, lieth open himselfe.

But because warres spend both men, and victuals, and other prouisions, especially where there is made great resistance: wee must not onely thinke to send sufficient at the first; but also cause the same to be supplied in time. Nothing did cause Anniball tocleaue his hold in Italy, but want of succour, and supplie. The slownesse ofdCaesars supplies after his army transported into Afrike made him loose many aduantages, and sustaine diuers losses. I will not say what hurt want of supplie did vs in the Portugall action, whhen it may be imputed rather to presumption, that wee went foorth vn∣furnished; then to want of care, that wee had no supply in time. For wher to could supply haue serued, where the whole was through want disordered before? for guarde of shippes of carriage, and assu∣rance of the army, the whole nauy where the passage is by sea, is to be furnished, and to saile in warrelike sort.eCaesar for that hee was driuen to passe his army in certaine Marchant shippes without guard of shippes of warre, lost diuers of his souldiers sayling into Greece.

King Edward the third passing his army into France sailed in that warrelike sorte, that encountring the French nauy at Scluce hee ob∣tained a famous victory. If the passage be not cleared by shippes of warre keeping the seas, it is to be feared least the enemy lying in wait intercept diuers of our shippes and men passing betweene; as hath often happened in the passage betweene England, and the Low countries within these few yeares. And as at sea, so by land like∣wise the waie is to be cleared, that no enemy bee lefte vpon our backes.

The Generrall being ready to set saile with all his company; ei∣ther by ticket sealed, or else word of mouth, hee is to declare to what port he will haue his company to bend their course; to the ende that such as by tempest are seuered at sea, may yet afterwarde meete at a port.fCaesar vsed tickets.gScipio sailing into Afrike calling two of euery ship, declared what he would haue them do, and whither to set their course. Cato hauing all his ships and men together, & Page  90being ready to set saile foraSpaine caused proclamation to bee made, that all his shippes should direct their course to the porte neere the Pyreneies which I suppose was Emporia. Because Caesar gaue not like direction in his voiages into Albany against Pompey, and Afrike against Scipio, he sustained diuers losses. And in the voy∣age of Portugal such as lost sight of the fleet either returned, or went to Rochel, being vncertaine whither to go. That the nauy faile not of the port, euery ship is to haue a good pilot.

The better and more certainely the Generall vnderstandeth the state of the enemies country, & the ports, and defences thereof, and proceedings of the enemy: the more certaine direction he shal be able to giue. And therefore as at all times hee ought by his espialles to vnderstand what the enemy doth, and what hee prepareth: so in this time especially when hee goeth about to transporte an armie into his countrey. For this causebCaesar sent Commius, and Volusenus into this Iland, the one to vnderstand the state of the people, the other to view the coast, and sound the Ports. Ca∣to before hee went against the enemie in Spaine, sent his espialles to vnderstand the number, the place, and proceeding of his armie.

After the arriuall of the nauy in the enemies countrey, the first care of the Generall ought to be, to seize vpon some commodious port towne, or harbour, and to fortifie the same, that both his ship∣ping may be safe there, and that both succours, and victualles may safely come thither: and last of all, that both from thence hee may safely proceede in his action, and haue a safe retraite in a storme. Caesar landing his men in Afrike fortifiedcRuspina, and by tren∣ches and bankes made it both a good harbour for shippes, and a safe lodging for his army. The same was practised before of Scipio, who landing neere a point of land in Afrike, did first make fortificati∣ons in that place. But afterward perceiuing that Vtica thereby was more commodious, hee tooke the towne, and made that adcastle of retrait from the land, and an accesse for his shippes from sea; and a place commodious for dispatch of other marters. The reasons that moued Scipio to take newe Carthage in Spaine were these, that hee might haue a conueient porte for accesse of his shippes, and a commodious storehouse for his prouisions of warre.

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Annibal made many attempts againstaNaples and Nola, that he might vse them for the same purposes lying commodiously for those that come out of his countrey. Neither had Edward the third other respect in his long siege of Caleis, but that he might haue a commo∣dious port for his shipping on that side. These causes at this present haue moued the Spaniardes that lately haue set foote in Brytaine, to fortifie Hannebon and Bluet. Little did the Macedonians vnder∣stand the practise of warre, that takingbChalcis a very opportune port for their warres in Greece, left the same without fortification, or garrison.

That the nauy be not idle, the Generall after he hath landed his men, is to employ the same in ranging the coast, fetching in of vic∣tualles, and annoying the enemy both by land and sea. Unlesse the same be at sea, the enemy wil depriue him of succours, and victualles. Therein let him follow the precedent of Scipio in Spaine, of Caesar in Afrike.

Those that inuade the enemy by land, likewise are to seize some towne neere the enemy which may serue them for a fortresse whither to retire, and whence to sally out. ThecPersians inuading Greece, vsed the towne of Thebes as a retraite, and propugnacle against the Greekes.

The Lacedemonians to straite the Athenians fortified Eleu∣sis a bourgh in the territorie of the Athenians.dAsdrubal vsed the towne of Oringis in Spaine, as a fortresse, from whence hee made roades into the midland countrey thereabout. Sulpitius the Romane Consul in the Macedonian warre seizing ae towne that lay fitly against Macedonia, did put garrison in it, and from thence made diuers attempts against the Macedonians. Antiochusf pur∣posing to inuade Aegypt furnished Pelusium, which is the kay of that countrey, with sufficient garrison.

Yet before the army be brought in sight of the enemy, the same is to bee refreshed certaine dayes, whether it bee of their tra∣uailes by land in their march, or iactation and disease at sea.gAnnibal before hee brought foorth his army to fight with the Romanes in Italy caused the same to refresh, and rest it selfe di∣uers dayes after his wearisome iourney through the Alpes. And likewise returning out of Italie into Afrike to defend his Coun∣trey against Scipio, heehrefreshed his men certayne dayes Page  92of their trauaile at sea, before he marched against the enemy.

Whether the country be knowen to the General or not, yet ought be not to march without diligēt discouerers sent before, at any time: least of all when hee commeth into a strange country all enemy. Wherefore after hee hath setled his matters in the towne, or port which hee hath seased, and refreshed his men, let him then send forth espials and discouerers, to vnderstand the site of the countrey, and proceedings of the enemy.aAnnibal before he incountred with Fla∣minius the Romane Generall, sent before him certaine men to espy his purposes, and to view the situation of the countrey, and the wayes which he was to trauaile. It is the practise of all wise Ge∣neralles. The Romanes neglecting to make this discouery were enclosed at Caudium by the Samnites, and shamefully ouercome, and Annibal himselfe trusting an ignorant guide, was almost intrap∣ped at Cales by Fabius. Curiobmarching in the sandes of Afrike without knowledge of the enemies power, or the disaduantage of the country being drie, and plaine, was ouerthrowen together with his whole army by the Numidian horsemen of Iuba. Appiuscspoy∣ling the country of the Boyans without espiall sent before, & guards placed in conuenient distances; was himselfe slaine, together with his company. The meanes to escape these trappes, and ambushes is viligent espiall, and discouery.

If our army do march farre vp into the countrey; then is diligent heede to be taken, that the enemy do not cut betweene vs, and our succours or victuallers. For fauour whereof wee are to assure our selues of the passages, and to place garrisons in conuenient distances. Caesar distributed tenne thousanddHeduans in diuers townes, and fortes vpon the way, that his victualles might come to his army with safety. He tooke Vellaunodunum that lay upon the way, lest the enemy might stop the passage. The towne ofeAstapa in Spaine was taken and ruinated by L. Martius, for that the garrison of the enemies there, did spoyle the confederates of the Romanes, and in∣tercept the victuallers that came to the army. The same course didfCaesar take for the brideling of the enemy, and assurance of his vi∣ctualles in his warres against Pompey.

But because nothing is more to be feared of an army transported into a strange country, then want of victuals: therfore must the Ge∣nerals mind be intentiue, and carefull, not only for thegpresent, but Page  93also for the future time. He may not thinke that hee shall alwayes finde corne and prouision in the country, especially if the enemy vn∣derstand the traine of warres. Caesar found the same by experience in his warres in France, when the enemy burned the country before him. When the Persian king vnderstood the intention of Cyrus, to be to depriue him of his crowne: he sentahorsemen before to burne all things, that might profitably serue the enemy. And in the inuasi∣on which Annibal made in Italy Fabius caused all the prouision that might serue for an army to be either spoyled, or brought into strong townes in all places neere where Annibal, and his company passed. Therefore is it requisite, that store of horses, and carriages go along with the army for carriage of victualles, munitions, and other neces∣saries.

Cyrusbhad foure hundred wagons laden with prouision, beside those that belonged to particulars. When in the country nothing is to be found, then may this serue. Further for fetching in of vi∣ctualles, the army ought to haue a sufficient strength of horsemen seconded with troupes of footemen for their retraite. Annibal at one roade in Italy beside infinite cattell tooke foure thousand hor∣ses, notwithstanding the strict commaundement of the Romanes, that all things should be brought into strong holdes. Whatsoeuer prouision may be found, the same is to be saued, and conueyed into those places, that best may be defended and serue fittest for the pro∣uision of our army.cAnnibal brought all the corne and proui∣sion, which he found in the territorie of Metapontus, and Heraclea into Salapia. After thatdScipio in his expedition in Afrike, had taken Vtica, he caused all the prouision, and corne that could be found in the country to be carried thither, and to be laid vp in store. The same course did Quintius take in his warres against Nabis the tyrant, and Caesar in his inuasion of thiseIland.

If the country where our army passeth doe not furnish vs with victualles, the same is vtterly to be ruinated, and burned. Which if the countrey people do perceiue, either for feare or for hope, they will succour vs.fManlius inuading the Gallogrecians, forced all those countries where hee passed to compound for feare of spoyle, For like dreade the Frenchmen where the English armygpassed in the dayes of Edward the third did supplie the same with necessarie prouision. It is a shame (saiethhXenophon) for him that hath a Page  94sufficient army not to bee able to get victualles, and things neces∣sarie for the same. If the enemie shall spoyle one countrey as loo∣king for our forces that way, yet shall it be hard for him to spoile the whole, vnlesse hee meane to famish his owne people also. The Ro∣manes against theaSamnites led foorth their armies diuers wayes, whereby the enemy being made vncertain of their comming, could not preuent them, nor depriue them of prouision.

Finally, it is not possible for an army to enter any countrey, but the same shall finde some weary of the present gouernement, and de∣sirous of innouation, which may bee induced to helpe to furnish it with necessary prouision. Caesar in his warres against the Helueti∣ans, and Ariouistus, had his prouision from the Heduans, in his iour∣ney into Belgium from those of Rheimes. Arriuing here in Britaine he found both partisans, and prouision sufficient. Neither are the times nowe changed. In all estates there are some malcontents, and many desirous of alterations. If desire of innouation worke nothing, yet if our army haue good successe, the same shall procure vs friendes and meanes. After Annibals victory at Cannae most of the subiectes of the Romanes reuolted, and tooke part with him. When the Frenchmen inuaded thebkingdome of Naples, the coun∣trey either folowed them, or tooke against them, as they had pros∣perous or bad successe. And if that our successe in Portugalll had bene good, there is no doubt, but that all the country would haue re∣uolted from the Spaniardes.

The Generall aboue all things is to haue regarde, that hee spend no time vainely. Opportunitie to doe great matters seldome offe∣reth it selfe the second time. By all meanes the enemy is to be prouo∣ked to fight, while our army is strong, and his souldiers yong and vnexercised. Annibal had more paine at the first to bring the Romans to fight, then to ouercome them. If the enemy refuse to fight, he is to be pursued into some towne or straite, or else by besieging of some strong place driuen to come to succour the same. All the countrey doth followe the successe of the chiefe citie. yet forasmuch as it is not sufficient to take, vnlesse we keepe the same: there is no lesse care to bee taken in fortifying and furnishing a towne taken, then in ta∣king the same. Unlesse wee meane to loose our prize, as thec French did Nouara in the dayes of Lewis the twelth for want of prouision, and good order.

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Those that haue followed this course, haue done great matters, as is euident by the examples of Caesar, Scipio, Annibal: the rest ey∣ther failed of victory, or could not maintaine their conquest. I will not specifie it by our expeditions into France, Portugal, Flanders. For that might be odious. Although those that are wise, by that which we wanted, may see what we ought to haue had, and done. But I will rather vse forraine examples. The enterprise ofaLau∣trecke in the kingdome of Naples was broken by niggardly ex∣penses, slender preparatiues, slowe proceeding, couetousnesse of officers, disorder, and want of care about victualles, and other prouisions. The like disorder in the times of Charles the eight of France, made the French to loose the kingdome of Naples, which but lately before they had wonne. Some of the chiefe gouernours spent their time in pleasures, others minded nothing but spoyle: they furnished not their townes with victualles, nor with souldi∣ers, they pursued not the enemy so, but that they suffered him to gather strength againe. Neither may we impute the losse of Nor∣mandy, Gascoigne, and Guienne to other causes, then to disorders in warres, want of succour and supply, and too much credulitie in trusting the French, and presumption, in hoping for successe with∣out meanes.

But, may some say, to what end tendeth al this discourse, seing mē now a daies are so farre from inuading their enemies: that some can be content to leaue their friends languishing for want of help, which are ioyned neere vnto them both by bond of religion, and couenant? and what hope is there that such shall giue the charge on others, see∣ing they suffer the fire so neere their owne doores? true it is, that go∣uernours haue not beene so forward, as some would haue wished, and percase as some thinke their honour and the profite of their state re∣quired: yet haue not matters beene so carelesly neglected, as is sur∣mised. But suppose they had; yet I hope the same course will not alwayes be continued, nor that the discipline of armes shall fore∣uer be neglected of commanders.

There are yet a number left of the posteritie of those, that haue made the name of the English nation famous in France, Flanders, Spaine, and other countries: and many do now beginne to mislike, and condemne former disorders. If at anie time such men may be heard, or folowed, I doubt not, but that this Page  96discourse may be put in practise, and such aduertisements heard, and accepted more gratefully. To annoy our enemies, and procure our own safetie, there is no better course, then to translate warres frō our own doores into the enemies countrie. Whatsoeuer wil be per∣formed, I thought it myduety not to conceale, that which I thought not onely profitable, but necessary for my countries honour: as, God willing, by many reasons I shall shew vnto you.