Siege of Bredevoort (1597)

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Siege of Bredevoort in 1597
Part of the Eighty Years' War
Map of the siege of Bredevoort 1597
Map of the siege of Bredevoort 1597
Date 1–10 October 1597
Location Bredevoort, Gelderland
(present-day the Netherlands)
Result Dutch & English victory
Belligerents
 Dutch Republic
 England
 Spain
Commanders and leaders
Dutch Republic Maurice of Nassau Spain Damien Gardot
Strength
6,000 infantry
1,200 cavalry
200 infantry (Bredevoort)
40 cavalry (Bredevoort)
Casualties and losses
Unknown 80
English troops attacking the Alter gate
Commemorative coin of the campaign with the conquered cities Turnhout, Alphen, Rijnberk, Meurs, Bredevoort, Groenlo, Goor, Enschede, Oldenzaal, Ootmarsum and Lingen

The Siege of Bredevoort in 1597 was a siege of Bredevoort by the military forces led by Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, during the Eighty Years War and the Anglo-Spanish War. The siege lasted from October 1 until October 9, after that day Bredevoort was occupied by the besiegers. The siege was part of a campaign which Maurice conquered the cities Turnhout, Alphen, Rijnberk, Meurs, Bredevoort, Groenlo, Goor, Enschede, Oldenzaal, Ootmarsum and Lingen.

Events[edit]

Bredevoort was defended by only two companies of soldiers (200), led by a French captain Damien Gardot and his lieutenant Van Broeckhuysen, as Count Hendrik van den Bergh and his supporting troops were absent. Bredevoort was considered impregnable, the city was surrounded by swamps which made it very difficult to get guns within shooting range. Maurice was advancing towards the city with 6,000 troops and 1,200 cavalry which included 13 companies of English troops under Horace Vere. To tackle the swamps Maurice had brought a new invention: a bridge of cork. These bridges were light and mobile and had not been previously used. The bridge proved successful and made it possible to get the guns nearby to fire successfully at the walls. Finally, a large breach in the wall was made which meant that Maurice's troops could storm the city. A bloody battle ensued and the defenders retreated to the castle. Maurice's soldiers ransacked the town for two days, which was followed by negotiations to surrender. The defenders under Gardot agreed to the terms and were allowed on payment of ransom to leave the city.

One of Maurice's troops looking for loot in the night knocked a candle which then ignited a bundle of hay which then set fire to the building. What followed was a huge fire which engulfed much of the city - only twenty houses were spared. Citizens fled to the castle while many soldiers fled the city. Maurice was angry about the incident but used the burning as a message, it was thought that it would be a deterrent to other cities on the approach of Maurice.

Following the consolidation of the town, Maurice then went on to take Enschede and this time the city was spared destruction.

Sources[edit]