1711 - The Siege

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The attackers

Count of Muret

General Deputy of the Bourbon army, which means he was the highest leader below the position of Duke of Vendôme. He directed a division of about 11.000 soldiers to besiege Cardona’s Castle, where he and his army were surprised with a crazy and unexpected defeat. He also participated in Barcelona’s siege (1713-1714), at the command of Duke of Berwick. He died in 1741.

The French Jean- Baptiste Joblot

French military engineer (1655-1725). This character designed the planes of the siege for the Bourbon side, directed by General Deputy Count of Muret. He drafted the memory of the siege and of the assault the Bourbons executed. Joblot reveals a Bourbon point of view, from the attacking side. His maps and indications make it possible for us to understand the success on the assault to the village, but the failure of the siege on the castle. Why the world’s most important army could not subordinate this Catalan fortress by the use of their weapons? What failed in the design of the maps or in the attack strategy? It was all due several nonsense issues.

Cardona’s siege of 1711 occurred in a time when the military drawing’s art revolved around topographic planes accompanied of codified signs, which symbolize the movement of the troops. Through Joblot’s maps, we can see the different phases on how they encircled the troops as well as the conclusions of the failure’s causes: a wrong planning of the siege based on the assumption of a quick occupation; the interruption of the ammunition provided from the rear, the ineffective coordination between units, and, finally, a mistake on the evaluation of strategic parameters.

However, Joblot’s voice gives us a point of view of a troop which went through bitter-sweet situations, from the algid point of the occupation of the village to the frustration of numerous failing attacks, which left them almost without ammunition, starving, freezing and pessimistic. He also lets us realize about the proud and arrogant view of the French leaders (Muret, Marshal of Camp Arpajou, the brigadier Melun or the generalissimo Vêndome from Calaf).

Duke of Vendôme

Generalissimo of the Bourbon army and Marshal of France, highest authority below Philip V. He was part of the Bourbon family, relative from France’s King Louis XIV the Great. He led the Bourbon troops into the Iberian Peninsula since 1710. He was the one who ordered the siege of Cardona. After a long trajectory along Europe (where he already confronted Starhemberg), he died in 1712 in Vinaròs from a seafood indigestion.

Marquis of Arpajou

He was the field Marquis of the Bourbon army. He came with his troops from Castell-lleó (Castellbò, nearby La Seu d’Urgell) and headed to Cardona’s siege. He led from 3.000 to 5.000 men through Pla de Bergús, he subordinated himself to Muret and then initiated with him the assault to the village and the siege to Cardona’s Castle.

Count of Melun

Brigadier of the Bourbon army, directly subordinate of Count of Muret. He actively fought in Cardona’s siege as well as in the bloody Battle of La Querosa against Colonel Edwart Stanhope. He had the same fate as the English official: he died in the battle. Since he wasn’t buried as he deserved, the allied side honored him with a burial worthy of his range, even though he pertained to the enemy’s side. His grave was built inside the castle; we are investigating the exact location.

Louis of Vendôme