Ambroise Paré (151090). Journeys in Diverse Places. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
The Journey to Château Le Comte. 1552
SOME time after, King Henry raised an army of thirty thousand men, to go and lay waste the country about Hesdin. The King of Navarre, who was then called M. de Vendosme, was chief of the army, and the Kings Lieutenant. Being at St. Denis, in France, waiting while the companies passed by, he sent to Paris for me to speak with him. When I came he begged me (and his request was a command) to follow him on this journey; and I, wishing to make my excuses, saying my wife was sick in bed, he made answer there were physicians in Paris to cure her, and he, too, had left his wife, who was of as good a house as mine, and he said he would use me well, and forthwith ordered I should be attached to his household. Seeing this great desire he had to take me with him, I dared not refuse him.
I went after him to Château le Comte, within three or four leagues of Hesdin. The Emperors soldiers were in garrison there, with a number of peasants from the country road. M. de Vendosme called on them to surrender; they made answer that he should never take them, unless it were piecemeal; let him do his worst, and they would do their best to defend themselves. They trusted in their moats, which were full of water; but in two hours, with plenty of faggots and casks, we made a way for our infantry to pass over, when they had to advance to the assault; and the place was attacked with five cannons, and a breach was made large enough for our men to enter; where those within received the attack very valiantly, and killed and wounded a great number of our men with arquebuses, pikes, and stones. In the end, when they saw themselves overpowered, they set fire to their powder and ammunition, whereby many of our men were burned, and some of their own. And they were almost all put to the sword; but some of our soldiers had taken twenty or thirty, hoping to have ransom for them: and so soon as this was known, orders were given to proclaim by trumpet through the camp, that all soldiers who had Spaniards for prisoners must kill them, on pain of being themselves hanged and strangled: which was done in cold blood.
Thence we went and burned several villages; and the barns were all full of grain, to my very great regret. We came as far as Tournahan, where there was a large tower, whither the enemy withdrew, but we found the place empty: our men sacked it, and blew up the tower with a mine of gunpowder, which turned it upside down. After that, the camp was dispersed, and I returned to Paris. And the day after Château le Comte was taken, M. de Vendosme sent a gentleman under orders to the King, to report to him all that had happened, and among other things he told the King I had done very good work dressing the wounded, and had showed him eighteen bullets that I had taken out of their bodies, and there were many more that I had not been able to find or take out; and he spoke more good of me than there was by half. Then the King said he would take me into his service, and commanded M. de Goguier, his first physician, to write me down in the Kings service as one of his surgeons-in-ordinary, and I was to meet him at Rheims within ten or twelve days: which I did. And the King did me the honour to command me to live near him, and he would be a good friend to me. Then I thanked him most humbly for the honour he was pleased to do me in appointing me to serve him.