The Battle of Val 1747


Extract from the diary of James Wood, Royal Artillery

June ye 19.

March'd by 4 o'Clock Morning and Came to our Quarters by 4 in the Afternoon, within 6 miles of Mastrick. March'd about 12 Miles....

June the 20, 1747. Battle Mastrick.

March'd by 3 o'Clock in the Morning and Left Mastrick 1 Mile to ye left. About 12 o'Clock ye French Hussars attack'd our Hussars on a Hill, whereof proceeded a Smart Engage't. In a little time, made ym retreat into a village where they had a Battery of 5 or 6 Guns, but the English Immediately brought up to the top of the Hill six 6 pounders. A Great Many Shots fir'd on both Sides, we blew up one of their Batterys with a Shell and kil'd a Great Many of them.... By reason the Village was so thick with trees, they Killed but two of our men that Evening, 1 Bombardier and 1 Mattross. It rained so prodigious hard that at last both Parties left off Firing, in the mean time we Detach'd two Pieces of Cannon to Every Reg't, as far as they would allow of number they was Short Sixes and Long three pounders. Draw'd the rest of the Heavy Cannon into the Park and in the night Erected Batterys for our 12 and 9 pounders faceing the Village, and prepar'd our selves in Readiness for an Engagement the Next Day. Lay on our Arms all that night in the Open Field, continued Rayning all night. Nothing to be got to eat. Prince of Waldeck Com'd the Dutch, Marechal Bathiani the Austrians and Bavarians.

Sunday June ye 21, 1747.

Battle Mas'ick Plain. The English begun Cannonading from our Batteries that was Erected in the night, we begun about 5 o'Clock Morning, the French begun about 6 o'Clock, and Continued Cannonading until half an hour after 8 oClock, then the French advanc'd, accordingly the English, Hanoverians and Hessians advanced with two Pieces of Cannon with Every Regm't. Advanc'd and fir'd at one Another for three Hours and a half as fast as we could load. At half an hour after 11 o'Clock they at last retreated, we following with Loud Huzzas, but the Dutch horse gave way and the Austrians Never Coming to Back us, and a large boddy of both horse and Foot Coming from the right to the Assistance of the French, and as they say the French King Coming up along with [them]. Inspir'd them with new Life and Courage, which Caus'd them Immediately to turn and Advance on us, most Furiously, and they really behav'd Very Well, tho we Cut them Down with Grape Shot from our Batteries of 12 Pounders. Ye [French] Did not Seem to mind it, but fil'd up their Intervals that we made with Grape Shot as they Advanc'd. Being over Power'd we was at Last oblig'd to retreat Something faster than we Advanc'd and in our retreating we left 9 three Pounders, 6 Short Six pounders, 1 Long six Pounder with three Colours and a Kettle Drum.

Our Army lost about 6 Thous'd, the French 10 Thous'd men, the Hanoverians lost 6 pieces of Cannon, as to the Loss of Men on both Sides I cannot tell as Yet. Sr. jon. Ligonier was Taken Prisoner and Several officers of Distinction, we Lost More of the Artillery People that Day than Ever was known at any Battle before.

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