The Battle of Dettingen 1743


An account by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Russell, letters to his wife, 1743
From F.H. Skrine. Fontenoy and the War of the Austrian Succession. (1906), p. 80.

Our men and their regimental offices won the day, not in the manner of Hyde Park discipline, but by our foot almost kneeled down by whole ranks, and so fired on 'em a running fire, making almost every ball take place; but for ten or twelve minutes 'twas doubtful which would succeed, as they overpowered us so much, and the bravery of their Mason du Roy coming upon us eight or nine ranks deep; yet our troops were not seen to retreat, but to bend back only - I mean our foot - and that only while they fresh loaded; then, of their own accord, marched boldly up to 'em, gave them such a smash with loud huzzas every time they saw them retire, that they were at once put to flight. The English infantry behaved like heroes, and as they won the major part of the action, to them the honours of the day were due. They were under no command by way of Hyde Park firing, but the whole three ranks made a running fire of their own accord, and the same time with great judgement and skill, stooping all as low as they could, making almost every ball take place .... The enemy, when expecting our fire dropped down, which our men perceiving waited till they got up before they would fire ....The French fired in the same manner, I mean like a running fire, without waiting for words of command, and Lord Stair did often say he had seen many a battle, and never saw the infantry engage in any other manner.

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