Friday, March 29, 2013

Ulrichstein Campaign: Final Chapter

Early evening after the final battle of the revolt.
As  heavy rain clouds begin to obscure the moon,
 an Ulrichstein hussar waits on picket duty. 
 Accompanied by the aides and staff that could be accommodated in his headquarters tent, Marshal Francois Noailles eyed wordlessly the vision that shimmered gracefully into his tent, bowed and announced himself.  Broad shouldered, wasp waisted, and resplendent in the full dress uniform of an Imperial hussar officer, the exquisite creature seemed more suited to the kind of warfare waged in salons and milady's boudoir, rather than in the open field in all weathers.  Speaking of which, the Marshall could hear the first drops of rain beginning to fall upon his tent.  It was going to be a wet and uncomfortable night.
Archduke Piccolo handing his
hastily written message to his Aide-de-Camp
(from a contemporary George Bentlegg cartoon)

 'Count Gyulai Tambour,' the apparition introduced itself, 'Aide-de-Camp to Marshal General the Archduke Piccolo; bearing a written message to his Excellency Marshal Noailles.'

Count Gyulai Tambour delivering the Archduke's
'Excellency, forsooth!' There was a rare courtesy to a rebel commander.  The Marshal did not expect that.  By way of reply, the Marshal flicked forth his left hand, palm upraised.  The emissary placed thereon a hastily rolled up paper, sealed with a rather worn red ribbon.  Before tearing open this roughly assembled document - clearly written in some haste - the Marshal indicated the wine decanter.  Silently, but politely, the hussar declined with a smile. Marshal Francois Noailles, Commanding-in-Chief
the Rebel armies. 

'H'mmm...,' the Marshal begam to read,' "Time to call a halt to all hostilities..."; Humph! The usual form, I see: "shift from my own shoulders the responsibility for further effusion of blood..."; " upon you ... surrender ... forces in arms against the legitimate authority of Cornelius ter Plonk, Bishop of Ulrichstein." ...   No offer of terms, I see.  Unconditional surrender, I take it?'

The emissary seemed to have been well chosen: he understood the question at once. 'Aye, Your Excellency - and of Graf Raunchfester as well...'

'Speaking of whom: he should be here.'  The Marshal indicated to one of his aides to find and fetch his Rechburg ally, 'While we wait, was there anything you were to convey to me by word of mouth?'

'Aye,' replied the hussar, 'It was made clear that the Bishop is inclined strongly towards clemency, and, so far as circumstances permit, a return to the status quo.  He does want a proper investigation, though, into what happened to his grain convoys last year.  There are some names that will be held for trial - I do not have the list, of course.  But it has been vouchsafed to me that the Bishop values the commerce and enterprise of his northern flock, whether or no they follow the Church of Roma.  So he wishes to see it disrupted as little as possible by large scale executions, imprisonments and exiles.

'There will be some, no doubt,' murmured the Marshal, 'Myself among them I daresay.'

'Exile, Your Excellency,' quoth the emissary at once, 'As leader of the Rebellion's Army, Your Excellency could have expected no less.  But I have been authorised to tell you unofficially that you will be allowed seven days from the signing of the surrender document to wind up your affairs in Ulrichstein.' He lowered his voice a trifle, 'I do believe that the Archduke is ready to put in a good word should you ever seek service with the Emperor.'
Graf Raunchfester, two days later at the formal ceremony
appends his signature to the Instrument of Surrender.
 This was saying possibly too much.  Yet the Marshal could be certain that it was neither the Archduke's naivety nor his emissary's indiscretion that was at play, here.  Oh, he could haggle and delay and bargain, but  what he heard would be as good a deal he was going to get.  Might as well take it early as late.

'What of Rechburg?' the enquired the Marshal.

'The forces of Rechburg will leave this Bishopric at once.  A week should be ample to get them across the border.  All prisoners to be restored - Rechburgers after the corps has quite the country; rebels the same except for those on the list.  Your Excellency,' the Imperial aide paused briefly before continuing, 'Perhaps if I can return with your reply this evening...?'

'I'll speak to Graf Raunchfester first,' Barked the Marshal, at which the hussar nodded, unabashed.  The Marshal for his part had taken note that the officer before him was prepared to ride several miles in the dark and wet, at great hazard to the splendour of his uniform, to fulfil his master's wishes. The significance of that devotion to duty could not escape Noailles's experienced eye. He knew, the hussar knew, the distant Archduke knew: this revolt was over.  It was time the losers took whatever deal they could get...
The defeated and exiled Marshal riding off after the
formal Surrender ceremony.
But deep in his inner heart, Marshal Francois Noailles felt he would rather have been stricken down before the  Imperialist guns than be the man who, by surrendering the army, extinguished the last flickering hope of the  Ulrichstein Rebellion.

My thanks to Robin Sutton, 'Mosstrooper' and others who have recently joined the list of this blog's followers.  I am sorry that my output has been less than voluminous lately.  I hope to redress that in the weeks to come...


  1. A fitting end to an unfortunate war Ion, like the Marshal I am surprised by the gentle conditions offered, I suspect they are much lighter than if the roles had been reversed.
    Very much enjoyed this battles, keep it rolling.


  2. The Bishop Cornelius ter Plonck of the Europeian Ulrichstein I envisaged as a rather unworldly and more genteel a potentate than the religious martinet you portrayed in your Europian world. Of course, the actual terms would have been found in the actual Instrument of Surrender, and there will have been a number of Ulrichstein rebels (such as Warisberg) who would have found them harsh enough.

    I doubt that Marshal Noailles ever did test the Emperor's good will by offering to enter his service - not soon at any rate. It would have looked more than a little unseemly if he had. Rechburg was lucky to escape having to pay restitution, but the Emperor wished to bring the whole issue to a speedy conclusion as was prepared to offer very generous terms to achieve this.

    Cheers, Barry: there may be more to come as the Emperor, whose iron will has kept body, soul and the Empire together for half a century is nearing the end of his days...

  3. I see that old slide show system has gone. Pity. I found it quite handy and simple to use. You could look at the pictures in a series, or switch back and forth easily between text and slideshow. This new system I find unhandy and less attractive.

  4. Quite a sad end but love the illustrations.
    I have tried to reinstate the slideshow in the blogger settings but it did not work. It's worse in Chrome as I usually use the middle mouse button to enlarge pics (in a new tab instead jumping back and forth between pictures and post) and it messes the whole site up some way.

    1. I tried to present both sides of the conflict in a fairly sympathetic light, the real villains being somewhat hidden characters (except for the opportunistic extremist Herr Warisberg). So perhaps the outcome for most people concerned was better than might have been expected and feared. Let us hope that Bishop Cornelius's investigations into disaster profiteering bear fruit; that the Bishop makes more effective arrangements for disaster relief; that religious tolerance is extended to allowing non-Catholic churches and cathedrals to be built with the expenses at least a partial taxation offset; that inter-State commerce carries on to the enrichment of State and population. It is, after all, the Age at which we might reasonably hope that Reason and Enlightenment will prevail...

    2. It is disappointing that the slide show settings no longer work. But I don't understand why the thing was changed. I certainly didn't change it. It is becoming far too frequent these days in which technology is becoming too helpful to be helpful.

  5. That was magnificent. I particularly liked the illustrations.

    Perhaps the Bishop was feeling the spirit of the season?

    1. I shouldn't wonder! It would have been approaching Easter after all at the time the Instruments of Surrender were signed and ratified. It has to be said, though, that my Bishop Cornelius would have been much more suited to monastic life than that of a Head of however small a State.

      Thanks, Conrad,

  6. I like the illustrations too. Raunchfester reminds me of one of the Freak Brothers.

    1. Freewheelin' Franklin, of course... I would not have noticed the resemblance had you not mentioned it. Of course, their characters are altogether different, sociopathic anarchism not obtaining much traction in the 18th Century... :-)

  7. so it is done. My good friend this is a day for celebration in my lands as well as yours. I see Noailles was surprised at the treatment he received, I am glad to see he received it. though I am sure that the Bishop wanted to be merciful I am sure that Noailles was still in-store for something worse that he received. is it perhaps by fried you listened to my advise? No I do not ask to be named to your countrymen nay even to the Bishop but if my hand has kept the hangman's noose from tightening around Noailles neck I shall be very satisfied indeed.

    To my victorious and noble ally! may your grace never leave you. Eduardo Martínez.

    there we go Ion. nice work on the story. it has been a joy to read all this and I must say a most fitting end. thanks for taking us on this journey with you, it has been a long and glorious road. this however is the end of this road but not the final trip that we will be make I hope. I wait with patience for you to lead us down another path.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it Gowan. It is true that the fate of rebel leaders was usually a pretty sticky one, one way or another. But their followers often got off lightly (those that survived the battlefield massacres) usually by pleading that they were misled by plausible demagogues and traitors and we really didn't know what we were doing, we're just ignorant peasants honest and long live the King/Tsar/Duke/Ruler of your choice.

      But I figured upon a degree of enlightenment prevailing in 18th Century Europeia. Although Marshal Noailles led the rebel armies, he acted correctly and professionally throughout, so he gets off with his life and as much of his fortune he can collect with the week's law allowed him to quit the country.

      But you can bet that for some of the rebel politicians, the future will be less certain - especially for those who persecuted people of other faiths, those who would massacre prisoners to vent their spite (Noailles had a short way with them you might recall), and whoever hijacked the Bishop's relief convoys. The gibbet, the block and the pillory in the Main Square of Zerbst will bear witness that the Bishop's justice will be visited upon the deserving.


    2. thanks for the information. well I will await the hangman's show in Zerbst square then. I am not fan of those who kill due to religious differences... I think that they also must pay for the lives of the soldiers who gave their blood for the failed rebellion.