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 trauerses, and oppositions the defendants are to make, that thereby they may stoppe or hinder the progresse, and march of the enemy.

THis may be vnderstood in part by that, which hath bene said already. For seeing the difficulties that hinder the proceeding of an army, are either wants and weaknesse in it selfe, or oppositions made by the enemy, that taking the aduantages of hilles, or wooddes, or straits, or riuers, is alwayes ready to hurt, or hinder it: who seeth not that the stronger our oppositions are, the slower will the army be able to proceed?

The principall meanes to breake the course of an army ranging vp and downe the countrey, is want of prouision. This was the course that Fabius vsed against Annibal in Italy. To effect this, strait order is to be taken, that theapeople saue themselues in places of strength, and that thither also they conuey their corne, prouision and cattell. whatsoeuer cannot be carried away, the same is to be burned, and spoiled all along where the enemy commeth. Which order Fabius caused to be proclamed, and obserued in the warres in Italy with Annibal.bPhilip king of Macedonia not being able to defend the townes, & countrey of Thessalia, transported the people into other places, the townes & villages he burnt, the corne he laid vp safe, the cattell he caused to be driuen into places of strength.cVercingetorix the captain of the Gaules seeing himselfe no way a∣ble to match Caesars army in open field, yet by spoiling the country, & burning whatsoeuer might be cōmodious for the enemy, draue him to great extremities. and percase had done more, if that the neces∣sity of poore people, & hope to defend townes of no strength had not spared much, that should haue bene spoiled. The Greeks yt returned frō the voyage of Cyrus into Persia, were by nothing hurt more, then by the wilfulnesse of the people through whose countries they passed, which burning their prouision, which they coulde not saue, made them go far about, & suffer great want. The duke of Alua had not bene so easily rid of the army which the prince of Orenge brought into ye Low countries, if he had not without compassion spoiled the country, & for∣ced him to returne for feare of hunger. The duke of Aumale likewise Page  128did spoile the country where the Almaines that came to ayd the Pro∣testauts anno 1569 passed. If pitie of the poore, and fauor of friends will permit vs to execute this without respect, there is nothing more au••lable against a strong enemy, for whatsoeuer prouision the eue∣my bringeth with him; yet if he finde no supply in the countrey, he cannot long cōtinue there.aFabius by following this course brought Annibal with his victorious army into those straits; that had it not bene for shame and danger, that would haue followed him by fly∣ing, he would haue returned backe into France.

Lest the enemy range too farre abroad, he is to be restreined with strong garrisons placed in cownes defensible, and with a power of horsemen, these will intercept straglers, and garrisons sallying vp∣on outriders will keepe them in order. It is not the point of a wise Generall to leaue the enemy vpon his backe.bLucterius the French capteine would willingly haue spoiled the countrey of the Romans in France, but he stayed himselfe, fearing to enter among the garri∣son townes; which hee could not doe without apparant danger. Caesarc besieged Vellaunodunum that lay in his way, for feare the garrison of the enemy left there, might doe him some annoyance. The army of the Protestants, anno 1569, retiring out of Poitou into Gascoigne, & thence into Dauphinè, receiued many algarades of the enemies garrisons in the countrey where they passed. but no∣thing doth keepe the enemy straiter, nor more hinder his march, then a power of horsemen galling him continually on the sides, and wat∣ching all opportunities. By themdVercingetorix kept Caesars forragers very short. Cassiuellanus with hise essedarians that fought in charets, kept the Romanes from going farre on forraging the countrey. andfFabius with his horsemen meeting at euery turne with such as Annibal had sent out to fetch in corne, and other proui∣sion, made them returne many times short home. So long as horse∣men do hang vpon the sides and taile of an army, they make but a slow march. Caesar sending his horsemen before to charge the ene∣mies last troups, did so trouble them, that he ouertooke yegHeluetians andhBelgians in France, & Afranius his army in Spaine, although they had gotten farre before him. himselfe and his army were so molested by the horsemen ofiScipio in Afrike, that in foure houres he could not march much aboue an hundred paces, being driuen to stay and receiue euery charge, and stirre. as also befell the Romans Page  129an other timeaencountring the enemie in his marche. The French horsemen that coasted the Almaines, that anno 1569. came in aide of the Protestants of France, kept them from stragling: but if they had bin more, and durst haue charged them; they had staied them lon∣ger in their iourney. For if the first marche, while those that are be∣hinde fight, then are these left to the butcherie, as it happened to thebBelgians pursued by Caesar.

Further, such straites and hilles, as the enemie is to passe, if he meane to enter further into the Countrey are to be garded, and the wayes to be trenched, that both our men may haue a couer, and the enemie more difficultie in forcing the passage. Leonidas to stoppe the Persian army, kept the straites of Thermopylae: which was also practised by Antiochus against the Romanes. Philipcpurposing to stop the Romane army at the straite of Aous trenched the passage, and on the higher ground placed archers, and slingers, and the rest of his army in conuenient places. But it succeeded not, for that he suffered the enemie, not onely to take the higher ground, but also to come on his backe. Which also was the ruine of Leonidas, and An∣tiochus. Those therefore that keepe hilles, and passages, are to take heede of three dangers: the first, that they suffer not the enemie to take the higher ground: the second, that they doe not so lye open, that the enemie may come on their backes: and thirdly, that their company be not vnable to abide the enemies force, or to defende the grounde committed to their charge. For in this case those that seeke to stoppe other, are often taken in trappe themselues: especially if they lye not strong, nor looke well to their garde.

If the enemie enter into a strayte, which hath but two or three is∣sues, take those issues, and garde them strongly, and thou hast the enemie enclosed, as it were in a nette. So were the Romanes enclo∣sed at Caudium, and compassed in before and behinde, & on the sides. But take heede, that thy garde be strong, and watchfull, least ye same be forced, and all thy labour frustrated, as happened to Fabius ha∣uing enclosed Annibal at Cales, by the weakenesse of the corps de garde placed on the hill Calicula.

If the king of Macedonia had placed strong garisons in ye straites of Athamany, and Thessaly, and shewed himselfe in head of the Ro∣manes, they coulddneuer haue issued thence without great slaugh∣ter, and losse. There is no greater tryall of a captaine, then in the Page  130taking of the aduantage of grounds. And therefore let him proceede wisely; and cause his men to worke diligently, that his trenches be sufficient and well furnished with stones and shotte, and all things necessarie. And especially that he be not enclosed, nor beaten from the higher ground.

Woods are a good couer for any enterprise: and therefore wise cap∣taines therein doe place such companies of souldiers, as may eyther charge the enemie passing through, or by them. Yet let them take heede that they haue a place of retrait there, that going about to hurt others, they be not cutte in pieces themselues.

The surest defence against the enemies proceeding, is a riuer not to be forded ouer: but the bridges are to be broken, and the botes to be taken from the other side, and ye bankes where they are most lowe and easy to be raysed with earth, and fensed with stakes, and the same to be garded with a competent force both of horsemen, and footemen with their sconces in cōuenient places. By this meanesaCaesar kept the Heluetians at a baye, and stopped them from passing the riuer of Rone, notwithstanding their diuers attemptes both by night, & day: & thebRomanes stopped the outcourses of Annibal. Which course if the French king had taken, the Protestants had not so easely reti∣red from the battell of S. Dennis,canno 1567, nor had they passed so many Riuers, nor taken so many Townes so easely. But neither were the Townes garded with souldiers, nor the bridges broken, nor the bankes garded. In garding of Fordes, great care is to be taken, first that the enemie passe not ouer some other way, and so come on our backes, secondly that he force not our garde. This is preuented by good fortification, and that by diligent watch, and sufficient num∣ber of men. He that looketh not to these things, is fitter to keepe go∣slings, then the passages of Riuers.

By these meanes an army is slopped, or at least hurt, and hindred. But for that men are hardely induced to fire their owne goods, and fewe men can endure ye lamentable flames of his countrey: and with∣out a sufficient force of men, all other meanes to stoppe an enemie are nothing; let there first be a sufficient armie leuied, and opposed against the enemie, not that I would haue the same to hazard lightly, or come to the triall: but for that he that hath an army ready, may take all ad∣uantages of Hilles, Straites, Woods, and Riuers, and cut off such as wander abroade, and execute that which priuate men will not Page  131doe in spoyling where the enemie is to passe, as the practice of Armes requireth.aL. Licinius though inferiour in force to Asdrubal in Spaine, yet taking the aduantage of hilles and straytes, and nowe charging the enemie on the sides, then on the backes, practised on him all the precepts of warre: for which he deserued great commen∣dation. The proceeding of Monsieur the French kings brother and lieutenant, that disbanded his souldiers, and sent them into garrison, when he should haue resisted the Almaines that came to succour the Protestants anno 1569. and kept the fielde, doeth contrariwise de∣serue reproofe, as contrary to the practice of warre, and profite of his Prince. For if that Poytiers had not arrested the Protestants, and susteined the siege contrary to expectation, there had ensued great losse to his partie. In the meane while what reason had he to suffer the enemie to spoyle the countrey at his pleasure?