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and after a heavy cannonade from forty-six great guns, continued for several days, it was thought by the 25th of March, that an impression had been made upon the city. A portion of the brick curtain had crumbled, but through the breach was seen a massive terreplein, well moated, which, after six thousand shots already delivered on the outer wall, still remained uninjured. It was recognised that the gate of Tongres was not the most assailable, but rather the strongest portion of the defences, and Alexander therefore determined to shift his batteries to the gate of Bois-le-Duc. At the same time the attempt upon that of Tongres was to be varied but not abandoned. The Bishop of Liege had furnished four thousand miners, of course well used to subterranean work, and these molish auxiliaries were soon busily engaged with pick and shovel. While a great display was being made above the earth, their hidden workers burrowed towards the Tongres gate, and Parma congratulated himself on a very successful movement. But the besieged had their miners also—peasants who knew full well how to handle pickaxe and mattock. The women no less than the men joined in their labour and did excellent service. There was a whole

army of gnomes buried deep in the earth to defend, as well as to attack, the beleaguered city. Sometimes they met in their subterranean work, and then the fight was terrible. The citizens contrived to ascertain the exact position of the Spanish mine, and constructing a dam across it, poured hogsheads of boiling water on their foes and scalded scores to death. They heaped branches and light fagots in the hostile mine, and setting fire to the pile, blew thick volumes of smoke along the passages with organ bellows brought from the churches for that purpose. Many of the besiegers were thus suffocated. But the Spaniards were not easily disheartened. Compelled to abandon the mine they had already constructed, they sank another shaft at a long distance from the Tongres gate, still towards that point, however, burrowing in the darkness, and working without obstruction until they came directly beneath the doomed ravelin.

There they excavated a spacious chamber and stored up coffers of gunpowder to an immense extent.

When all was ready, information was conveyed to the Duke of Parma. He had made preparations for the assault, and proceeding to the mouth of the mine ordered that it should be sprung. The explosion was terrific ; a part of the tower fell with the concussion, and the moat was choked with heaps of rubbish. The assailants sprang across the passage thus


afforded, and mastered the ruined portion of the post. They were met in the breach, however, by the unflinching defenders of the city, and after a fierce combat of some hours, were forced to retire, retaining possession only of the moat and the dismantled portion of the ravelin.

Five days afterwards, says the historian to whom we are indebted for this account, a general assault was ordered. A new mine having been already constructed towards the Tongres ravelin, and a frightful cannonade having been kept up for a fortnight against the Bois-le-Duc gate, it was thought advisable to attack on both points at once. On the 8th of April, accordingly, after uniting in prayer, and listening to a speech from Parma, the great mass of the Spanish army advanced to the breach. The moat had been rendered practicable in many places by the heaps of rubbish with which it had been encumbered, and by the fagots and earth by which it had been filled by the besiegers. The action at the Bois-leDuc gate was exceedingly warm. The tried veterans of Spain, Italy, and Burgundy, were met face to face by the citizens of Maestricht, together with their wives and children. All were armed to the teeth, and fought with what seemed superhuman valour. The women swarmed to the walls and fought in the foremost ranks. They threw buckets of scalding water on the besiegers, hurled firebrands in their faces, quoited blazing pitch hoops with unerring dexterity about their necks. The rustics, too, armed with their ponderous flails, worked as cheerfully at this fearful harvesting as if threshing their corn at home.

More than a thousand had fallen at the Bois-le-Duc gate, and still fresh besiegers mounted the breach, only to be beaten back or to add to the mangled heap of the slain. At the Tongres gate, in the meanwhile, the assault had fared no better. A herald had been despatched thither in hot haste to shout at the top of his lungs, “Santiago ! Santiago! the Lombards have the gate of Bois-le-Duc !” while the same stratagem was employed to persuade the invaders on the other side of the town that their comrades had forced the Tongres. Animated by this fiction, the soldiers advanced with renewed fury against the ravelin, and were received with a deadly fire; at the same moment a new mine, which was to have been sprung between the ravelin and the gate, but which had been secretly undermined by the townsfolk, exploded with a horrible concussion at a moment least expected by the besiegers. Five hundred of the Spaniards were blown into the air, but none of the defenders were injured. Recovering from the panic, the besiegers again rushed to the attack, and the battle was


fiercely contested; but Maestricht was not to be carried on that occasion. Four thousand Spaniards, horribly mutilated, lay on the ground; but the savage spectacle only still further inflamed the cruel heart of Parma. To the officers who expostulated with him, and besought him to recall the troops, he answered, “Go back to the breach, and tell the soldiers that Alexander is coming to lead them to victory." With these words he rushed forward with a maniac's fury; but all the generals who were near him threw themselves in his path, and besought him to desist, reminding him of how much value his life was to the royal cause.

Alexander reluctantly gave the signal of recall at last, and accepted the defeat. For the future he determined to rely more upon the sapper and miner, and less upon the superiority of veterans to townsmen and rustics in open fight. Sure to carry the city at last, according to line and rule, determined to pass the summer beneath the walls rather than abandon his purpose, he calmly proceeded to complete his circumvallations. A chain of eleven forts upon the left, and five upon the right side of the Maas, the whole connected by a continuous wall, afforded him perfect security against interruptions, and allowed him to continue the siege at leisure. His numerous army was well housed and amply supplied, and he had built a strong and populous city in order to destroy another. Relief was impossible. But a few thousand men were now required to defend Farnese's improvised town, while the bulk of his army could be marched at any moment against an advancing foe. A force of seven thousand, painfully collected by William the Silent, moved towards the place, under command of two distinguished officers-Hohenlo and John of Nassau, but, struck with wonder at what they saw, the leaders recognised the hopelessness of attempting relief. Maestricht was surrounded by a second Maestricht.

The efforts of Prince William were now necessarily directed towarde obtaining, if possible, a truce of a few weeks. Parma was too crafty, however, to permit the Spanish authorities to consent, and as he himself disclaimed any power over the direct question of peace and war, the siege proceeded. The gates of Bois-le-Duc and Tongres having thus far resisted the force brought against them, the scene was changed to the gate of Brussels. This adjoined that of Tongres, was farthest from the river, and faced westwardly towards the open country. Here the besieged had constructed an additional ravelin, which they had christened in derision “Parma," and against which the batteries

of Parma were now brought to bear. Alexander erected a platform of great extent and strength directly opposite the new work, and, after a severe and constant cannonade from this elevation, followed by a bloody action, the “Parma” fort was carried. One thousand, at least, of the defenders fell, as, forced gradually from one defence to another, they saw the triple walls of their ravelin crumble successively before their eyes. The tower was absolutely annihilated before they abandoned its ruins and retired within their last defences. Alexander, being now master of the fosse and the defences of the Brussels gate, drew up a large force on both sides of that portal, along the margin of the moat, and began mining beneath the inner wall of the city.

Meantime, the garrison had been reduced to four hundred soldiers, nearly all of whom were wounded. Wearied and driven to despair, these soldiers were willing to treat. The townspeople, however, answered the proposition with a shout of fury, and protested that they would destroy the garrison with their own hands if such an insinuation were repeated. Sebastian Tappin, too, encouraged them with the hope of speedy relief, and held out to them the wretched consequences of trusting to the mercy of their foes. The garrison took heart again, while that of the burghers and their wives had never faltered. Their main hope now was in a fortification which they had been constructing inside the Brussels gate-a demilune of considerable strength. Behind it was a breastwork of turf and masonry, to serve as a last bulwark when every other defence should be forced. The whole had been surrounded by a fosse thirty feet in depth, and the besiegers, as they mounted upon the breaches which they had at last effected in the outer curtain, near the Brussels gate, saw for the first time this new fortification.

The general condition of the defences, and the disposition of the inhabitants, had been revealed to Alexander by a deserter from the town. Against this last fortress the last efforts of the foe were now directed. Alexander ordered a bridge to be thrown across the city moat. As it was sixty feet wide and as many deep, and lay directly beneath the guns of the new demilune, the enterprise was sufficiently hazardous. Alexander led the way in person, with a mallet in one hand and a mattock in the other. Two men fell dead instantly, one on his right hand and one upon his left, while he calmly commenced, in his own person, the driving of the first piles for the bridge. His soldiers fell fast around him. Many officers of distinction were killed or wounded, but no soldier dared recoil while their chieftain wrought amid the bullets like a common pioneer. Alexander, unharmed, as by a miracle, never left the spot till the bridge had been constructed, and till ten great guns had been carried across it, and pointed against the demilune. The battery was opened, the mines previously excavated were sprung, a part of the demilune was blown into the air, and the assailants sprang into the breach. Again a furious handto-hand conflict succeeded ; again, after an obstinate resistance, the townspeople were forced to yield. Slowly abandoning the shattered fort, they retired' behind the breastwork in its rear—their innermost and last defence. To this barrier they clung as to a spar in shipwreck, and here at last they stood at bay, prepared dearly to sell their lives.

The breastwork, being still strong, was not attempted upon that day. The assailants were recalled, and in the meantime a herald was sent by Parma, highly applauding the courage of the defenders, and begging them to surrender at discretion. They answered the messenger with words of haughty defiance, and, rushing in a mass to the breastwork, began with spade, pickaxe, and trowel, to add to its strength. Here all the ablebodied men of the town took up their permanent position, and here they ate, drank, and slept upon their posts, while their food was brought to them by the women and children.

A little letter," written in a fine, neat hand-writing," now mysteriously arrived in the city, encouraging them in the name of the Archduke and the Prince of Orange, and assuring them of relief within fourteen days. A brief animation was thus produced, attended by a corresponding languor upon the part of the besiegers, for Alexander had been lying ill with a fever since the day when the demilune had been carried. From his sick bed he rebuked his officers severely that a temporary breastwork, huddled together by boors and burghers in the midst of a siege, should prove an insurmountable obstacle to men who had carried everything before them. The morrow was the festival of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and it was meet that so sacred a day should be hallowed by a Christian and Apostolic victory. Saint Peter would be there with his keys to open the gate; Saint Paul would lead them to battle with his invincible sword. Orders were given accordingly, and the assault was assigned for the following morning.

Meantime, the guards were strengthened and commanded to be more than usually watchful. The injunction had a remarkable effect. At the dead of the night, a soldier of the watch was going his rounds on the

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