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himself mainly to negotiations with the princes and the cities, especially with Rottenburg
and Margrave Casimir of Anspach, urging them to join the peasant fraternity, was suddenly
recalled  in  consequence  of  word  of  the  Koenigshofen  defeat.  His  troops  were  joined  by
those  of  Anspach  under  the  command  of  Gregor  von  Burg-Bernsheim.  The  latter  troops
had  been  only  recently  formed.  Margrave  Casimir  had  managed,  in  true  Hohenzollern
style, to keep in check the peasant revolt in his region, partly by promises and partly by the
threat of amassing troops. He maintained complete neutrality towards all outside troops as
long as they did not include Anspach subjects. He tried to direct the hatred of the peasants
mainly  towards  the  church  endowments,  through  the  ultimate  confiscation  of  which  he
hoped to enrich himself. As soon as he received word of the Boetlingen battle, he opened
hostilities against his rebellious peasants, pillaging and burning their villages, and hanging
or otherwise killing many of them. The peasants, however, quickly assembled, and under
the command of Gregor von Burg-Bernsheim defeated him at Windsheim, May 29. While
they were still pursuing him, the call of the hard-pressed Odenwald peasants reached them,
and  they  turned  towards  Heidingsfeld  and  from  there  with  Florian  Geyer,  again  towards
Wuerzburg (June 2). Still without word from the Odenwald, they left 5,000 peasants there,
and with the remaining 4,000 – many had run away – they followed the others. Reassured
by  false  rumours  of  the  outcome  of  the  Koenigshofen  battle,  they  were  attacked  by
Truchsess  at  Sulzdorf  and  completely  defeated.  The  horsemen  and  servants  of  Truchsess
perpetrated,  as  usual,  a  terrible  massacre.  Florian  Geyer  kept  the  remainder  of  his  Black
Troop, 600 in number, and battled his way through the village of Ingolstadt. He placed 200
men in the church and cemetery and 400 in the castle. He had been pursued by the Elector
Palatine’s forces, of whom a column of 1,200 men captured the village and set fire to the
church. Those who did not perish in the flames were slaughtered. The Elector’s troops then
fired on the castle, made a gap in the ancient wall, and attempted to storm it. Twice beaten
back by the peasants who stood hidden behind an internal wall, they shot the wall to pieces,
and  attempted  a  third  storming,  which  was  successful.  Half  of  Geyser’s  men  were
massacred;  with  the  other  200  he  managed  to  escape.  Their  hiding  place,  however,  was
discovered  the  following  day  (Whit-Monday).  The  Elector  Palatine’s  soldiers  surrounded
the woods in which they lay hidden, and slaughtered all the men. Only seventeen prisoners
were taken during those two days. Florian Geyer again fought his way through with a few
of  his  most  intrepid  fighters  and  turned  towards  the  Gaildorf  peasants,  who  had  again
assembled  in  a  body  of  about  7,000  men.  Upon  his  arrival,  he  found  them  mostly
dispersed,  in  consequence  of  crushing  news  from  every  side.  He  made  a  last  attempt  to
assemble  the  dispersed  peasants  in  the  woods  on  June  9,  but  was  attacked  by  the  troops,
and fell fighting.
The Peasant War in Germany
– 73 –

Truchsess,  who,  immediately  after  the  Koenigshofen  victory,  had  sent  word  to  the
besieged  Frauenberg,  now  marched  towards  Wuerzburg.  The  council  came  to  a  secret
understanding with him so that, on the night of June 7, the Union army was in a position to
surround the city where 5,000 peasants were stationed, and the following morning to march
through the gates opened by the council, without even lifting a sword. By this betrayal of
the Wuerzburg “honourables” the last troops of the Franconian peasants were disarmed and
all  the  leaders  arrested.  Truchsess  immediately  ordered  81  of  them  decapitated.  Here  in
Wuerzburg  the  various  Franconian  princes  appeared,  one  after  the  other,  among  them  the
Bishop of Wuerzburg himself, the Bishop of Bamberg and the Margrave of Brandenburg-
Anspach.  The  gracious  lords  distributed  the  roles  among  themselves.  Truchsess  marched
with  the  Bishop  of  Bamberg,  who  presently  broke  the  agreement  concluded  with  his
peasants  and  offered  his  territory  to  the  raging  hordes  of  the  Union  army,  who  pillaged,
massacred and burned. Margrave Casimir devastated his own land. Teiningen was burned,
numerous  villages  were  pillaged  or  made  fuel  for  the  flames.  In  every  city  the  Margrave
held a bloody court. In Neustadt, on the Aisch, he ordered eighteen rebels beheaded, in the
Buergel March, forty-three suffered a similar fate. From there he went to Rottenburg where
the honourables, in the meantime, had made a counter revolution and arrested Stephan von
Menzingen. The Rottenburg lower middle-class and plebeians were now compelled to pay
heavily  for  the  fact  that  they  behaved  towards  the  peasants  in  such  an  equivocal  way,
refusing  to  help  them  to  the  very  last  moment  and  in  their  local  narrow-minded  egotism
insisting on the suppression of the countryside crafts in favour of the city guilds, and only
unwillingly renouncing the city revenues flowing from the feudal services of the peasants.
The  Margrave  ordered  sixteen  of  them  executed,  Menzingen  among  them.  In  a  similar
manner  the  Bishop  of  Wuerzburg  marched  through  his  region,  pillaging,  devastating  and
burning everywhere. On his triumphal march he ordered 256 rebels to be decapitated, and
upon  his  return  to  Wuerzburg  he  crowned  his  work  by  decapitating  thirteen  more  from
among the Wuerzburg rebels.
In  the  region  of  Mainz  the  viceroy,  Bishop  Wilhelm  von  Strassburg,  restored  order
without resistance. He ordered only four men executed. Rheingau, where the peasants had
also  been  restless,  but  where,  nevertheless,  everybody  had  long  before  gone  home,  was
subsequently invaded by Frowen von Hutten, a cousin of Ulrich, and finally “pacified” by
the  execution  of  twelve  ringleaders.  Frankfurt,  which  also  had  witnessed  revolutionary
movements of a considerable size, was held in check first by the conciliatory attitude of the
council,  then  by  recruited  troops  in  the  Rhenish  Palatinate.  Eight  thousand  peasants  had
assembled  anew  after  the  breach  of  agreement  by  the  Elector,  and  had  again  burned
monasteries  and  castles,  but  the  Archbishop  of  Trier  came  to  the  aid  of  the  Marshal  of
The Peasant War in Germany
– 74 –


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