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Marshal Boufflers

Anecdotes Home






A few days previous to the battle of Malplaquet, it was
publicly talked of at Versailles, that a very important battle would soon
take place between the French army commanded by Marshal Villars, and the
allied army under Prince Eugene and Marlborough. Louis XIV., who for some
years had met with many mortifying repulses, seemed to be very uneasy about
the event. Marshal Boufflers, in order to quiet in some degree the
perturbation of his sovereign's mind, offered, though a senior officer to
Villars, to go and serve under him, sacrificing all personal considerations
to the glory of his country. His proposal was accepted, and he repaired to
the camp. On his arrival, a very singular contest took place between the
two commanders. Villars desired to have Boufflers for his leader; but the
latter persisted in yielding him all the glory, while he shared the danger.
No event in the life of Boufflers ever contributed more to render his name
illustrious. Marshal Villars, who commanded the left wing at the battle,
being obliged to retire on account of a wound he had received, Marshal
Boufflers charged the enemy six times after this accident; but finding they
had made themselves master of a wood through which they penetrated into the
centre of the French army, he yielded them the field of battle, and made a
retreat in such good order, that the allies declined pursuing him.





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