Posts Tagged ‘miqueletes’

Miquelets a Vila-real

Dissabte 9 de gener de 2016, 19.00h


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Josep Marco, natural d’Algemesí, conegut pel malnom de El penjadet, va ser un capità valencià austracista, i lider popular maulet.

Aquest lluitador maulet és força desconegut. Una de les primeres notícies de Marco la donen els cronistes borbònics Josep Vicent Ortí i Major i Josep Manuel Planes en parlar del setge de Xàtiva de 1707, referint-se a ell i els seus homes com una colla de lladres vinguts de La Marina. També se l’ha qualificat de simple guerriller. No obstant això, també pareix clar que el capità Marco comandava una partida prou irregular de miquelets valencians i catalans i que actuaren amb tàctiques guerrilleres durant tota la Guerra de Successió al costat de la causa maulet. Pocs dies abans del setge, Marco i els seus homes, uns 400, arribaren a Xàtiva per donar suport a la milícia i la resta de forces que dirigia l’aragonès Miguel Purroi. Marco fou aclamat pels de Xàtiva, ja que a penes disposaven de municions i aquest en porta una gran quantitat. Josep Marco i els seus miquelets lluitaren durant tot el setge, primer en la ciutat i després en el castell, però quan els anglesos decidiren capitular, Marco trenca el setge la nit abans fugint amb els seus homes i 200 xativins més que s’uniren a ell.

Castell de Xàtiva

Castell de Xàtiva

Tot i el que diuen Ortí i Planes, Marco continuà la lluita en Catalunya. Així el 1713 ja estava al Setge de Barcelona on va comandar, amb el grau de capità, la seua pròpia companyia, la qual era coneguda com “Companyia Josep Marco”. El 1713 eixí amb la seua cavalleria per sumar-se a les forces de Poal i el Diputat Militar. Poc després ja estava en Barcelona de nou, on participà en els combats de la Creu Coberta rebent després la felicitació d’Antoni Villarroel pel paper que hi jugà. De nou tornà a eixir de Barcelona en l’expedició de Berenguer a Alella on quedaren aïllats el 5 d’octubre. Però dos dies després aconseguí obrir-se pas amb un grup de combatents i retornar a la capital. Finalment, el 8 de febrer de 1714 amb Badia i Adjutori Segarra, travessaren, una altra vegada, el cordó del setge de Barcelona i s’uniren a les forces d’Amill primer, després a les d’Antoni Puig i a les Antoni Valls finalment per continuar la lluita en Tarragona.

Les tropes de Josep Marco

Les tropes que comandava Marco eren de cavalleria, la qual cosa explica la rapidesa dels seu moviments. Com a una tropa no regular que eren, no hi ha constància que tingueren un uniforme clarament definit. Soldats no professionals i poc experimentats al principi de la guerra, les tropes de Marco eren al final de les més veteranes i experimentades. El nombre girà sempre al voltant dels 400 als quals s’hi anaren afegint nouvinguts que substituïen a les baixes. Al final de la guerra, però Marco i els seus homes ja no disposaven de cavalls, per la qual cosa es convertiren en una unitat de fusellers. Segons Hernàndez i Riart, durant el darrer any de la guerra, ja no eren més de 40. Per això el 1714, acabaren unint-se i integrant-se a altres unitats.

Maulet valencià de la companyia de Josep Marco "El Penjadet" (Dibuix de Riart al llibre 'Els exèrcits de Catalunya 1713-1714')

Maulet valencià de la companyia de Josep Marco “El Penjadet” (Dibuix d’en Riart al llibre ‘Els exèrcits de Catalunya 1713-1714’)


  1. F.Xavier Hernández, Francesc Riart, Els exèrcits de Catalunya (1713-1714), Rafael Dalmau ed., Barcelona, 2007

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Camp followers

Within all regiments of 1690  – 1715 you will find elements of civilian life, which without whom the army would cease to function properly.

Since the English Civil Wars there has always been a strictly imposed limit on all British regiments as to how many women they were permitted to take with them, but records show that in practice the army rules went out of the window once the regiments left British waters. Officers wrote that the comfort that (preferably British) women provided to their men was great – it was known to reduce desertion for instance. The women also made money on the side by providing sewing, mending and washing, nursing the wounded and cooking. Ex-London seamstresses were very sought after by the army officers who wanted a constant supply of replacement clothes. British army wives or “Camp followers” also developed a formidable reputation during the Spanish Wars for their fast looting abilities after battles, by quickly and efficiently searching the slain soldiers on the fields [sometimes swiftly dispatching the barely alive ones too]. One woman, ‘Mother Ross’,  became famous through her exploits, and Daniel Defoe wrote a book about her:
D. Defoe: The Life and Adventures of Mrs Christian Davies, commonly called Mother Ross (1740)


Occasionally, a woman was able to disguise herself as a man and join the army, usually as a musketeer or drummer. This was obviously rare, although a recent European archaeological excavation at a battle site found three women in men’s uniforms in a mass grave of about  500 men. 15 more women were found in the grave, but there was no clue as to what they were wearing when they died. This has naturally started a debate in the academic world. One of these women, Christian ‘Kit’ Cavanagh (or Davies), better known as “Mother Ross” was one of several women who served as dragoons in the British Army. She enlisted in the 1690’s and fought as a soldier first disguised as a man and later openly as a woman. She fought with honours at Blenheim: Born in Dublin, daughter of a prosperous brewer, she married a servant, Richard Welsh. In 1692 he was forcibly conscripted into the army and in 1693 she disguised herself as a man and enlisted to find him. She served against the French with Marlborough in Holland and soon transferred to the cavalry, joining her husband’s regiment the Scots Greys and remaining with them during the renewed fighting of 1702 and 1703. She was reunited with her husband but remained in the army. She was wounded at Ramillies and her sex was then discovered, but she was allowed to stay with the Dragoons as an officers’ cook. Richard Welsh was killed at the battle of Malplaquet, and soon after she married a grenadier with the Royal Greys, Hugh Jones, who was also killed, in 1710. In 1712 she returned to England, became an innkeeper and married a dissolute soldier named Davies. Eventually she was admitted to Chelsea Hospital where she died. She was buried with military honours.

Gentry and the wealthy classes

By contrast officers wives were a very rare sight in the British army. You were more likely to see them while husbands were drilling their men at British musters, and extremely rarely on campaign. Few did travel across the channel to join their men for the winter quarters, when officers usually rented adequate housing, but this was not common. Some local privileged women would travel by invitation to meet the British officers, and this would be more likely who the soldiers saw in camp. Many officers received letters from their wives on a regular basis, and often this was the only way they got news from home. Marlborough wrote regularly to his wife Sarah, as did Orkney and other officers. Marlborough felt that the army was no place for a Lady and disapproved women visiting, even his own wife, although this did not seem to apply to the lower class women frequently found there.

Leaguer Ladies and Widows

There were several types of women found within the army – Although they may have left Britain with a handful of women, by the time they were on active campaign several types could be found. The most common would be Leaguer Ladies or prostitutes, usually from the region they happened to be camped in. There was an unwritten rule that they had to very discreet with the soldiers [both privates and officers used their services], as they risked a public whipping if caught. Many hoped for the outside chance of marriage to get them out of the poverty trap. Less common would be the widow of a soldier. They tended to get remarried very quickly and often, usually to a succession of men due to death in battle. The obvious tally of army brats would follow. Officers sometimes recorded an anonymous birth during a march in their diaries, with the women stopping, giving birth, wrapping up the baby and carrying on. Sutlery cooks employed women to help them with the preparation and serving of the food, so many became sutleresses and managed to earn enough to survive for the duration of the campaign. All women had one aim – to survive the campaign, get enough money to live on and make it back to Britain. Foreign wives followed their husbands back, as a soldier would have to buy his way out of the army if he wished to stay. All women had to pay for their passage on the ships back home, so it was vital to save as much money [by whatever means] as possible.

Originally published HERE

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