The Battle of Fontenoy 1745


The Case of the hon. Brigadier general INGOLDSBY, in relation to
his conduct in the late action at FONTENOY. Publish'd with permission.
From the Gentlemen's Magazine Vol. XV 1745 page 316.

The Brigadier represent, that on the day of the battle, being 30th of April, O.S. his royal highness sent for him early in the morning, and told him he was to attack six pieces of the enemy's cannon situated in the wood, and that capt. Forbes, aide de campe to lieut. gen. Campbell, would shew him the place, who carried him to the orchard where the highlanders were posted, and shewed him the wood; some of the officers of the highlanders informed him, that the enemy had cannon at the point of it. On the brigadier's return, he acquainted the Duke, he had been shewn the place, not thinking it was possible, for the person, that was sent on that purpose, to mistake his royal highness's intentions.

The brigadier also told his major of brigade what was to be done.

The Duke further ordered the brigadier, if he took the cannon, to turn them upon the enemy; if he could not turn them, to nail them;  for which purpose, some gunners were ordered and four battalions, viz. Duroure's, Pulteney's, lord Semple's, and a Hanoverian regiment; which latter he was to take off from a post that lay at some distance from the road, and obliged the brigadier to halt till that regiment join'd him.

In obedience to the above orders, the brigadier marched beyond the village into a hollow way, where he halted within a hundred yards of the wood, in order to reconnoitre; and from the banks of which he observed that the enemy had a strong detachment in the wood, and at that juncture were marching several parties towards it; particularly one which lay down flat in the corn, about forty yards from the flank of the wood, and others which marched and join'd some squadrons on a hill near it.

The brigadier finding the enemy thus advantagiously situated sent major Bernard to the Duke, to acquaint his royal highness that he thought some pieces of cannon would absolutely be requisite to flank the enemy, whilst he march'd to the attack, which the Duke readily comply'd with and immediately ordered three six pounders.

Soon after the brigadier sent capt. Crawfurd of major general Pulteney's regiment, to acquaint the Duke with what he had observed, during which time the brigadier call'd the commanding officers together, acquainted them what he was to do, and consulted with them the properest way to attack;  it was resolved to draw up upon the right of the hollow way, where there appear'd no difficulty to hinder our march, and likewise having it in our power to flank the enemy as we marched.

When the brigadier was putting this disposition in execution, capt. Crawfurd return'd and immediately after the Duke came up. The brigadier then acquainted his royal highness with the observations he had made, the cannon being then arrived and on the left of the hollow way.

His royal highness then ordered the brigadier to form on the left of the hollow way, the cannon to advance and fire, and the battalions to march and support them. And further ordered the brigadier to keep in a direct line with that part of the army, that was on the left, which orders were immediately executed.

The brigadier apprehends as his royal highness alter'd his disposition, and gave him fresh orders, which orders were punctually obey'd, that he cannot be liable to a censure for disobedience of orders.

His royal highness some time after return'd and order'd lord Semple's regiment to the attack of the village, which was the whole day afterwards separated from the brigadiers command.

Whilst the brigadier was marching at the head of Duroure's regiment, in pursuance to the Duke's last orders, he received a message from general Ligonier by his aide de campe capt. Amhurst, enquiring the reason why he had not attack'd according to his orders given early in the morning: the brigadier answer'd, that his royal highness had since order'd him to march and keep in a line with the left of the army.

Some time after the brigadier still marching at the head of Duroure's regiment, capt. Napier aquainted him, that major general Zastrow was to command that part of the line, but the brigadier never received any orders from him, neither did he see him.

The brigadier continued at the head of Duroure's regiment, within 150 paces of a redoubt, from which he was exposed to a continual fire, from the beginning of the action, which the loss of that regiment will make appear, and in the attack the brigadier had the misfortune to receive a wound, which obliged him to be carried off.

RICHARD INGOLGSBY.

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