Obrazy na stronie

Rev. W. Dillingham.

? 1657


her train ; as it were valiantly to stroke this wild beast which he had now laid fast in the toils, and to look upon the outside of the town before they entered into it.

Now, to have his hopes thus blown up, and to be thrown from the top of so much confidence; wonder not if we find him much enraged at it ! and what can we now expect but that he should let fly his rage in a sudden and most furious assault upon the town ? especially considering that, before the Treaty began, all things were in readiness for such a purpose. But whether it were, that the Treaty had unbended the soldiers' resolution, or the unexpected breaking off had astounded the Archduke's counsels, or whether his men were discouraged at their enemy's increased strength, or whatsoever the cause were: certain it is, that there was no considerable assault made upon the town, for many days after.

And we have cause to believe that General Vere was never a whit sorry for it; who had by this means, opportunity, though no leisure, to repair his works : wherein he employed above 1,200 men for at least eight days together. During which time, he stood in guard in person, at the time of low water in the night, being the time of greatest danger; which conduced much to the encouragement of his men. Having received intelligence, by his scouts, of the enemy's preparations and resolutions, within a few days, to give them a general assault: he was careful to man the chief places, Helmont, Sand Hill, and the rest ; and to furnish them with cannon and stones, and what else might be useful for their defence.

Meanwhile, the besiegers spared no powder ; but let fly at the ships, which notwithstanding, daily and nightly, went into the town: and many a bullet was interchanged between the town and the camp, which lay, all this while, pelting at one another ; some small hurts on both sides being given and received.

But the 7th of January (1602) was the day designed by the besiegers wherein to attempt something extraordinary.

All the day long without intermission, did the Archduke batter the Bulwark of Sand Hill, Helmont, Poriépic, and other places adjoining, with 18 cannon from two of his batteries: the one at the foot of the downs upon the Catteys, and the other on the south side thereof. From whence were discharged, which the cannoneers counted, above 2,000 shot on that side of the town : all the bullets weighing 40lbs. or 46lbs. apiece.

After I was thus far engaged, I happily [by hap) met with an account of this bloody assault, by HENRY HEXHAM, who was present at it. To him, therefore, I shall willingly resign the story.


[H ENRY H e x H A M,
Sir FRANCIS Ver e's Page.
Account of the Assault on Ostend,

7th January, 1602.]

Is Highness the Archduke then seeing him.

self thus deluded by General Vere's Parley, was much vexed thereat; and was very angry with the chief of his Council of War, who had diverted him from giving the assault upon that day (23rd December, 1601) when the Parley was called for :

insomuch that some of them, for two or three days after, as it was credibly reported, durst not look him in the face.

Others, to please him, persuaded him to give an assault upon the town. Hereupon, His Highness took a resolution to revenge himself of those within the town, saying " he would put them all to the sword !” his Commanders and soldiers taking likewise an oath that, if they entered, “they would not spare man, woman, nor child in it!"

Till that, the enemy had shot upon and into the town, above 163,200 cannon shot, to beat it about our ears; scarcely leaving a whole house standing : but now, to pour out his wrath and fury more upon us, on the 7th of January (1602) above-said, very early in the morning, he began with 18 pieces of cannon and half-cannon, carrying bullets of 48lbs and 40lbs apiece (See Vol. IV. p. 251), from their Pile Battery, and that which stood under their Cattey upon the foot of the H. Hexham.] PLAN AND DETAILS OF SPANISH ATTACK. 175



downs, to batter Sand Hill, the Porcépic, and Helmont. And that day till evening, he shot upon Sand Hill and the Curtain of the Old Town, above 220 cannon shot; insomuch that it might rather have been called Iron Hill than Sand Hill: for it stuck so full of bullets, that many of them tumbled down into the False Bay ; and others striking on their own bullets, broke in pieces, and flew up into the air as high as a steeple.

During this furious battery, the enemy, all the day long, made great preparations to assault us against night : and to that end, brought down scaling ladders, great store of ammunition, hand grenades (small shells thrown with the hand], and divers other instruments and materials of war fitting there. unto; and withal, towards evening, drew down his army, and ordered his men in this manner:

Count Farnese, an Italian, should first give on, with 2,000 Italians and Spaniards, upon Sand Hill, the breach, and the Curtain of the Old Town: and the Governor of Dixmunde, with 2,000 Spaniards and other nations, upon the Porcépic and Helmont. Another Captain, with 500 men, was to fall on upon the West Ravelin; and another Captain, with 500 men more, upon the South Quarriers : and the Spanish Sergeant-Major General (? OTTANES] which was an hostage in Ostend, upon the West Quarriers. Making in all 8,000 men to assault the west side.

And the Count of Bucquoy was to have assaulted the east side, the East Ravelin and the New Haven; as a second (support] for them which fell on upon the Sand Hill and the Old Town on the west side. And thus their men, time, and place were ordered.

General Vere knowing the enemy's intent, that he would assault us at low water, slept not; but was exceedingly careful and vigilant, all the day, to prepare the things necessary to defend the town and withstand the enemy. And because there were no spars, beams, and palisadoes in the Magazine, he caused divers houses that were shot (through), to be pulled down; and taking the beams and spars from off them, he made the carpenters make palisadoes and stockadoes of them. At a high water, he shut the West Sluices, and engrossed as much water as he possibly could into the Old and New Town.


TH. Hexhamn,

? 1610.

Towards evening, he drew all the men in the town that were able to fight, into arms: and disposed of them, as followeth:

To maintain Sand Hill, and defend the breach, he placed his brother Sir Horace Vere, and Sir CHARLES FAIRFAX (pp. 136, 166] with 12 weak companies, whereof some were not above 10 or 12 strong; giving them double arms, a pike and a musket, and a good store of ammunition.

Upon the Curtain i.e., the plain wall] of the Old Town between Sand Hill and a redoubt called Schottenburch (a most dangerous place, which he feared most; being torn and beaten down with the sea and the enemy's cannon), Sir FRANCIS Vere stood himself, with Captain ZEGLIN with 6 weak companies, to help to defend it.

Within the redoubt of Schottenburch itself, he appointed Captain UTENHOVEN (pp. 157, 159) and Captain HAUGHTON, with their 2 companies.

From Schottenburch along the Curtain to the Old Church (which the enemy had shot down); he placed Colonel Lone with his 300 Zealanders that came in to the town in the five ships, pp. 170, 172) the day (25th Dec., 1601) the Parley brake off.

From the Old Church along the Curtain and the Flanks to the north part; Captain ZITHAN commanded over 6 weak companies.

Upon the redoubt called Moses_Table, was Captain MONTESQUIRE De Roques, a worthy French Captain, whom Sir FRANCIS Vere loved entirely for the worth and valour that was in him, with 2 French companies.

For the guarding of the North Ravelin; he appointed Captain CHARLES RASSART with 4 weak companies.

The rest of the Curtain, by reason of the Flanks upon the cut of the New Haven, being reasonably well defended, were left unmanned.

Upon the Curtain of the New Town, under Flamenburg, were placed 5 weak companies; to second (support] Moses Table, if need did require.

Upon Flamenburg, 2 whole-cannon and 2 field pieces were planted, to scour the Old Town.

Upon the West Ravelin, 2 companies were likewise placed, and a whole-cannon and 2 half-cannon planted upon it.

H. Hexham.


1610.] 1,200 MEN TO RESIST 10,000 SPANIARDS.


For the defending of the Porcépic, a place of great importance, lying under the Helmont; Sir FRANCIS Vere placed four of the strongest companies that could be found in the town.

Upon the Bulwark called Helmont, which flanked directly the breach and Sand Hill, and scoured along the strand, between the enemy's Pile Battery, the Old Haven, over which they were to pass to come to Sand Hill, and the Curtain of the Old Town, which also did help to defend the Porcépic: he placed 10 weak companies, whereof the General's company was one. And it had upon it 9 brass and iron pieces, ladened with chained bullets, boxes with musket bullets, and cartridge shot. These 10 companies were kept as a reserve, to be employed as a second [reinforcement] where most occasion required. They were commanded by Captain MerkIRCK and Sergeant-Major (= the present Major of a foot regiment: see Vol. I. p. 463] CARPENTER.

The rest of the bulwarks and rampires, and the Counterscarp about the town were but slightly manned, with a few men; in regard that the enemy could come to attempt none of them, till he became master of the former.

Here you see a great many companies thus disposed of; but all, or most of them, were exceedingly weak, and some of them not above 7 or 8 men strong: which in all, could not make above 1,200 able fighting men, to resist an army of 10,000 men, that stood ready to assault them.

The ordnance and other instruments and materials of war, the General disposed of in this sort :

Upon the casement of the West Bulwark, he planted two whole and two half-cannon, which flanked Helmont and the Porcépic, and scoured along the Old Haven down as far as the Ton Beacon, beyond their Pile Battery, next to that place where they were to pass over the haven at a low water. This ordnance was likewise charged with musket bullets, chain bullets, and iron bullets.

Upon all these batteries, especially those which flanked the breach and played directly upon the strand; Sir FRANCIS Vere disposed of the best cannoneers in the town : among the rest, FRANCIS the GURMER, an excellent cannoneer, who had been the death of many a Spaniard. And because they should be sure to take their mark right upon their cog (mark], ENG. GAR. VII.


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