Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bucquoy (Part 2)

Above: Image of Bucquoy taken from a biography.

Our previous post on Bucquoy covered his career up to 1618. We resume here in late 1618.

Arriving in Bohemia, Bucquoy had to contend first against the mercenary army of the Peter Ernst, Graf zu Mansfeld, which had been subsidized on behalf of the rebels by Spain’s enemy, Charles Emmanuel, Duke of Savoy. Mansfeld had taken Catholic Pilsen (Nov. 21), and used it as a base. Meantime, the rebels’ own largely-peasant field army under Heinrich Matthias, Count Thurn, blockaded Vienna. Bucquoy concentrated against Mansfeld and caught a detachment of the freebooter’s army under Mansfeld’s own command at Zablat (modern Záblati, June 10, 1619) and destroyed it, although Mansfeld himself escaped the debacle.

Zablat caused the rebels to raise the siege of Budweis, recall Thurn’s army from Vienna, and redouble their appeal for aid throughout Europe. Ultimately, only Gabriel Bethlen, Prince of Transylvania, agreed to an alliance with the rebels.

In the skirmishing during the advance to Prague, Bucquoy was severely wounded (musket shot in the groin) while on reconnaissance at Rakonitz (Nov. 4 or 5). Feverish and confined to a coach, he is said by at least one author (Reade) to have given up his command to Tilly, but this was evidently not the case—or was temporary—since he played an active role at the ensuing Battle of White Mountain (Nov. 8, 1620) under the ramparts of Prague, no doubt spurred by the palpable mismanagement of the first phase of the battle by Maximilian and Tilly. In fact, he took to horseback and helped to restore order on both flanks, thus at least facilitating what was probably an inevitable final victory over the rebellion by the combined armies of the Emperor and the League. White Mountain was a battle of annihilation and settled the fate of Bohemia for 300 years.

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