Scale, i:170,000 The attack of the allies was begun by the first three columns, which moved down from their bivouacs behind the Pratzen plateau before dawn on the 2nd, towards Telnitz and Sokolnitz.
The Scots were surprised in their bivouacs, but quickly formed up, and at first repulsed both the horse and the foot.
Ladmirault, commanding the French 4th Corps had seen, during the afternoon of the 15th, the terrible crowd and confusion prevailing in the defiles leading to Gravelotte, and resolved to disobey his orders and to move direct from his bivouacs by the road from Woippy to St Privat, disregarding altogether the alleged danger from the Prussians supposed to be advancing from Thionville.
And X., which had been so heavily engaged on the 16th, still in their bivouacs preparing to move.
The wet state of the ground (largely composed of corn-fields) and the scattered bivouacs of the French army prevented the attack from being made at 6 A.M.
Pushing on through the night, they drove the French out of seven successive bivouacs and at length drove them over the Sambre.
In the field, armies lived as a rule in camp (q.v.), and when the provision of canvas shelter was impossible in bivouac. At the present time, however, it is unusual, in Europe at any rate, for troops on active service to hamper themselves with the enormous trains of tent wagons that would be required, and cantonments or bivouacs, or a combination of the two have therefore taken the place, in modern warfare, of the old long rectilinear lines of tents that marked the restingplace and generally, too, the order of battle of an 18th-century army.
By evening, the adjutants had spread it to all ends and parts of the army, and in the night from the nineteenth to the twentieth, the whole eighty thousand allied troops rose from their bivouacs to the hum of voices, and the army swayed and started in one enormous mass six miles long.