Colonel Claret had received instructions to leave Buckewasser and rejoin the rest of the army now that the Sommerland had been secured. His orders also included an instruction to destroy the bridge across the Farrett to that the Imperial troops could not easily follow.
The platoon of engineered had set to work and the bridge had been prepared for demolition, it only needed the fuse to be lit once the troops were across. By 10 o’clock his regiment was across and marching up onto the Dennep hills leaving only the engineers a company of infantry and a few cavalry.
Arriving on the far bank the Colonel turned to the engineer sergeant said “Right light the fuse and let’s get going.”
Across the river Ilse, Hans Franz and a number of militia were watching anxiously.
Having lit the fuse the colonel and sergeant retired to a safe distance and awaited the explosion. All that occurred was a muffled thump and a cloud of dust. “Must have been a partial detonation sir” said the sergeant “I’ll go and check it”
As the sergeant approached the explosives Hans took aim with his rifle and shot him down before he could discover what had really happened.
Colonel Claret called forward his infantry and considered his options. He had no one else capable of resetting the charges, where there was one rifleman there might be more and rushing the bridge would achieve nothing of value. “Right captain set fire to the houses then rejoin the column, but cover the bridge while you do so in case of more trouble”
As the French left the northern suburb the fires had begun to take hold. However Franz and a large body of locals rushed across the river, organised a bucket chain and got the fires under control before substantial damage was caused.
A picture of the bridge at Bruckewasser showing the minor damage to the bridge.
There will now be a short break while I visit London