MANSFELD, Ernst, graf von


MANSFELD, Ernst, graf von Count Mansfields directions of vvarre. Giuen to all his officers and souldiers in generall.

London, Printed by Edw: Allde, 1624


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. [viii], 55, [i];  A-H4. Roman letter, some Italic. Small woodcut of a soldier on title, woodcut initials and headpieces, typographical ornaments, early ms. shelf marks at head of title. Light age yellowing, title slightly soiled and creased, verso of last a little dusty, minor marginal marks. A good copy, with good margins, in modern speckled calf, title gilt in long on spine,

Extremely rare first and only edition of this practical manual by the mercenary General, Ernst Graf von Mansfeld, a work that gives tremendous insight into the training of troops for battle in the early C17th. Given directly to soldiers and captains for their training, the work has survived in very few copies. Estc records five copies only; one at the BL, two at Oxford, one at the Staatsbibliothek Berlin, and one copy only in the US, at Illinois. Ernst von Mansfeld, was a German military commander who, despite being a Catholic, fought for the Protestants during the early years of the Thirty Years’ War. Mansfeld often interrupted his campaigns with journeys made for the purpose of raising money, and in these diplomatic missions he showed considerable skill. In 1624 he paid three visits to London. James I, the father-in-law of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, was anxious to furnish him with men and money for the recovery of the Palatinate, but it was not until January 1625 that Mansfeld and his army of “raw and poor rascals” sailed from Dover to the Netherlands

“Mansfield landed n London in April 1624 and was soon courting James’ government and the City for their support in raising troops and money to complement the force of 7000 Germans he had brought with him to England. 12,000 English were quickly raised by the press but the men, drawn primarily from the Southeast, lacked discipline and training and could hardly be called soldiers. To overcome some of the problems of preparing the troops for war, a set of printed instructions ‘Count Mansfields Directions of Warrre’ were issued to the men as they departed England, though most of those conscripted were too ignorant or too weak to take their training to heart. The expedition departed for the Netherlands in late November 1624 and was expected to march from the Dutch ports to join with the French cavalry in operations against the Spanish and Imperial troops now controlling the Palatinate. … Training the militia over the course of the year was one thing, but teaching conscripts plucked from gaols and bridewells to handle weapons and carry out battlefield motions was a futile endeavour, a fact that a succession of Jacobean and Caroline officers were to discover. That said there were attempts to train these men using printed drill manuals, as evidenced in ‘Count Mansfields Directions of Warrre’, printed by Edward Allde and Richard Whitaker and distributed before Mansfeld’s expedition set off for the low countries in 1624. Directions of Warre had two parts; the first was a description of the various officers of the Regiment, both of foot and horse, while the second, titled the ‘Dignitie of Souldiers in Fyles,’ was an explanation of the methods and manner of drill as it was to be exercised by files of ten men. This twenty-six page section could not have been very helpful to a conscripted army that was ill trained, undisciplined, and poorly led, even if the intention was to have it well drilled by the time the troops reached Germany. The duties of each of the file members was spelled out, as were the three distances – open order, order, and close order. The work concluded with brief explanations of the countermarch and advancing on the enemy.” David R. Lawrence ‘The Complete Soldier: Military Books and Military Culture in Early Stuart England.’

A rare and most interesting work.

ESTC S120073. STC 17260. Cockle 102. ““Drawn up by W. G. with the consent of Count Mansfield, who revised the ‘Ordinances’ and gave his sanction for their publication.”
Stock Number: L3468 Category: Tag:

In stock