Siege of Middelburg (1572–74)
The Siege of Middelburg was a siege that lasted two years and took place in the years between 1572 and 1574 during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War. A Dutch rebel army with the support of English laid siege to Middelburg, being held by Spanish forces under Cristóbal de Mondragón; the Spanish held out and only capitulated when news of the relief effort to save Middelburg was defeated at Rimmerswiel. By 1566, the king of Spain's family had inherited the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands and was ruled by the Spanish Monarchy. In 1568, William I of Orange, stadtholder of Holland and Utrecht, other noblemen were dissatisfied with Spanish rule in the Netherlands. A series of revolts emerged against the Spanish authorities caused by religious and economic impositions on the Dutch population who sought to end the harsh rule of the Spanish Duke of Alba, governor-general of the Netherlands; the Dutch rebels hoped to expel Alba and his Spanish troops from the country and as a result hostilities increased, leading to the Eighty Years' War.
In April 1572, the Sea Beggars, Dutch rebels captured Brielle which caused a sensation, a chain reaction of events took place on Walcheren island. After Brielle had been captured this soon led to the seizure of the town of Flushing. Other cities in the province of Zeeland soon joined the rebels, by mid-1572 only Arnemuiden and Middelburg, on the island of Walcheren, Goes, on the island of Zuid-Beveland, remained under Spanish control, all of them besieged and threatened by the Dutch forces under Stadtholder William of Orange with the support of English troops sent by Elizabeth I; the rebels wreaked havoc by looting properties and torching churches with many of the villages on the island falling into their hands, towns like Arnemuiden and Veere were handed over by the inhabitants sympathetic to the rebel cause. During the uprising Middelburg still had a strong Spanish garrison and at the end of April 1572 an attempted assault was made consisting of around 1100 Dutch rebels led by Jerome Tseraerts.
Due to lack of resources and support they pulled back after a day suffering losses where they resorted to looting the outside of the city. In June another attempt was made again, this time by only a hundred Dutch rebels. Led by Bernard Nicholas the storming attempt was successful as the outer defenses were seized but soon after a sortie by the garrison managed to drive the Dutch out. Middelburg was not yet besieged and the Spanish were able to supply the city without any hindrance. On 4 November nearly 1500 Dutch and English under Jerome Tseraerts and Bartholt Entens van Mentheda who just returned from the failed siege of Goes arrived on the island of Walcheren and made plans to besiege Middelburg; the waterways around the city were soon blocked, which soon caused supplies to run low for the Middelburg inhabitants. The rebels included an English regiment under Thomas Morgan and a few Scots ensigns and in addition had been strengthened by a number of untrained recruits from England. Tseraerts was commissioned to be Lieutenant-Governor of the whole of the island of Walcheren if he succeeded in his task of taking the city.
The rebels soon appeared at the castle of Westhoven, located on the east of the city, Tseraerts led an assault which it captured plundered an abbey and set it on fire. The governor of Walcheren, Antoine of Burgundy, wrote to the Duke of Alba Governor of the Netherlands on behalf of Philip II of Spain to report on the situation in the city, becoming difficult with the siege. Alba ordered Cristóbal de Mondragón to go to Middelburg and destroy the Anglo-Dutch siege positions and restore the supply lines. Mondragón meanwhile was to take over the administration of the city itself and as a result Antoine of Burgundy stepped down to become the mayor of Middelburg. In early December Sancho d'Avila arrived from Antwerp, the Duke of Alba, ordered him to send reinforcements by sea, he assembled a fleet at Breskens and hoped to capture Flushing from the Beggars and seize the waterways in Walcheren from the rebels. D'Avila sent some companies via land to Middelburg and managed to supply the city, he was on his way to Flushing but was intercepted and defeated there by Lieven Keersmaker losing five ships.
At the beginning of 1573 the Dutch managed to capture the castle at Popkensburg, just outside the northern part of Middelburg. Meanwhile, within the city walls food shortages were felt as the bitter winter lasted; as well as the population suffering, the Spanish soldiers too had little in terms of consumption. People in the city that were of little use, such as paupers and people dying of disease, were left outside to save food. In late July after the failure to relieve Haarlem William of Orange took over proceedings from Tseraerts. On 5 August the nearby Fort Rammekens was assaulted and captured by the Dutch and English led by Jacobus Schotte and the strong points were being conquered one by one. Around Christmas the food shortage was so dire that between 1000 and 1500 civilians and soldiers died by the end of the year; the situation was desperate in January 1574 with Middelburg still besieged, the Duke of Alba was recalled by the Spanish king and was replaced by Don Luis de Requesens. De Requesens ordered the relief of Middelburg and he assembled a fleet of seventy ships under Julian Romero at Bergen op Zoom in addition from Antwerp, Sancho d'Avila with a hundred ships would join Romero.
The operation however was a fiasco. Not one ship managed to make it to Middelburg and this was a huge blow to the Spanish. In early February, the city for at
Siege of Zierikzee
The Siege of Zierikzee was a siege in the Eighty Years' War between October 1575 – and July 1576. When Modragón lay siege to the city, Zierikzee had had enough time to prepare their defenses, because the preceding siege of Bommenede, had taken Modragón 20 days, a long time for a relative small city; the Spanish couldn't storm Zierikzee, therefore tried to cut off all supplies to the city. Until February 1576, despite heavy fire, small Dutch vessels were able to supply the city; the defenders did several sorties which inflicted casualties and damage on the Spanish. But by March, the Spanish had sealed all access to the city; the Dutch under Admiral Lodewijk van Boisot and William the Silent did 3 attempts to break the siege. On April 11 a major sea battle ended indecisively. A second attack on May 27 failed. Furthermore, Admiral Boisot was killed. After a third failed attempt, the Dutch withdrew on June 13. Hunger now forced the defenders to start negotiations, which were concluded on July 29; the garrison was allowed to leave the city.
The city was occupied by the Spanish. But on July 12 a mutiny broke out under the Spanish troops, which didn't receive their long overdue and promised pay, they extorted money and goods from the population and abandoned Zierikzee on November 3. They headed to Brabant, Modragón had no option, but to follow his troops. VAN OPSTAND TOT OORLOG
Capture of Geertruidenberg (1573)
The Capture of Geertruidenberg was a military event that took place on August 28, 1573 during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War. The capture was conducted by an French Huguenot and Fleming force led by Colonel de Poyet. A small assault force led by Walter Morgan captured the main gate which enabled the complete surprise of the garrison, most of whom were put to the sword; the Spanish held town of Middelburg was under siege, which relied on a Spanish fleet to relieve the place. The Sea Beggars however were successful in defeating and holding any relief attempts the Spanish made in the waters of Zeeland in April at the Battle of Borsele. A second Spanish relief force was turned back after Fort Rammekens surrendered to an Anglo-Rebel force in August. A beggar fleet as a result was able to meet up with the Prince of Orange at Dordrecht. A small force was detached which consisted of English, French Huguenot and Flemish soldiers led by a French Huguenot Lieutenant Colonel de Poyet, numbering 300, with its aim of the capture of Geertruidenberg.
The fleet sailed in the night towards the city. The garrison in Geertruidenberg composed of a company of Walloons from Cristóbal de Mondragón's regiment, which included a number of Spanish officers, led by a French nobleman Captain Draek, in total a hundred and seventy men; the Protestant force approached the city. In the early morning of August 31, 1573, Colonel de Poyet ordered Walter Morgan and a Frenchman Captain Malion with eighteen hand-picked troops, including four Dutchmen who had lived and worked in the city to scale the ramparts of the city and to open the Breda Gate; this was the key to the city, once opened, the attackers would be able to attack the city with speed and surprise. They went unnoticed, scaled the walls dispatched the sleeping guards, after which they were able to open the gate and let in the main force; the garrison troops only became aware that the city was under attack and were taken by surprise. They attempted to fight back but all were killed, only a few managed to escape, including Captain Draek.
In his haste he had left on the table the entire pay to his men, much to the delight of the attackers. The citizens were treated well, despite a priest being killed and a monk hanged. An English soldier recalled that this was the first city to be captured for over a year and was a major boost to the morale of the Protestant forces. Only a few of the garrison escaped including Draek and they fled to Breda. After a garrison was established Poyet and Morgan returned via Dordrecht; the prince appointed Jerome Tseraarts as the garrison commander of Geertruidenberg, in whom he put great trust. On September 8, the first Protestant sermon was held; the city stayed in States hands until April, 1589 when an English and Dutch garrison under John Wingfield sold the place to the Spanish under the Duke of Parma. The Spanish occupation would not last however and on June 25, 1593 after a siege the city was back in Dutch hands for good. Citations BibliographyArnade, Peter J. Beggars and Civic Patriots: The Political Culture of the Dutch Revolt.
Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801474965. Duerloo, Luc. Dynasty and Piety: Archduke Albert and Habsburg Political Culture in an Age of Religious Wars. Ashgate Pub Co. ISBN 978-0754669043. Glozier & Onnekink, Matthew & David. War and Service: Huguenot Soldiering, 1685-1713 Politics and culture in north-western Europe, 1650-1720. Ashgate Publishing Ltd. ISBN 9780754654445. Morgan, Walter. Caldecott-Baird, Duncan, ed; the Expedition in Holland 1572-1574: The Revolt of the Netherlands: the Early Struggle for Independence. Seeley Service. ISBN 9780854220717. Sanders, J. G. M. Waterland als woestijn: geschiedenis van het kartuizerklooster "Het Hollandse Huis" bij Geertruidenberg, 1336-1595. Uitgeverij Verloren. ISBN 9789070403263. Tracy, James; the Founding of the Dutch Republic: War and Politics in Holland, 1572-1588. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780191607288. Ungerer, Gustav. A Spaniard in Elizabethan England: The Correspondence of Antonio Pérez's Exile, Volume 1. Tamesis Books. ISBN 9780900411847
Battle of Borgerhout
The Battle of Borgerhout was a battle during the Eighty Years' War, of the Spanish Army of Flanders led by Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma, upon a fortified camp at the village of Borgerhout, near Antwerp, where several thousand French, English and Walloon soldiers in service of the created Union of Utrecht were stationed. It took place during the reconquest by the armies of Philip II of Spain of the Burgundian Netherlands, whose different provinces had united in 1576 under the Pacification of Ghent to drive out the foreign troops out and to grant religious liberty to Protestants. Despite the rebel victory at the Battle of Rijmenam in July 1578, much of the Southern Netherlands were lost to the Spanish Army during the autumn. Taking advantage of the Dutch rebel army's indiscipline, Farnese decided at the beginning of 1579 to besiege Maastricht; as a feint to distract the Dutch rebels from his goal, but aiming to scare Antwerp's inhabitants, Farnese moved with his troops to surprise the village of Borgerhout close to Antwerp, where a part of the Dutch States Army had its quarters, namely 3,000 or 4,000 infantry which were the backbone of the rebel army and consisted of French Calvinists under François de la Noue, English and Scottish troops under John Norrey's orders.
On 2 March Farnese deployed elements of his army in a plain stretching between his position at the village of Ranst and the Dutch camp at Borgerhout, which Norreys and De la Noue had fortified with moats and earthworks. The assault was divided into three columns, each one provided with a mobile bridge to pass over the camp's moat. After one of the attacks, undertaken by Walloon troops, succeeded in securing a bridge, the Spanish forces were able to attack the States-General's soldiers inside their camp. Norreys and De la Noue's men opposed a strong defence, but Farnese, throwing his light cavalry to the battle, forced the Dutch troops to abandon Borgerhout and look for shelter under the artillery of Antwerp's walls. William of Orange, leader of the Dutch revolt, archduke Matthias of Habsburg, Governor-General of the Netherlands appointed by the States General, witnessed the fight from Antwerp's walls; the battle meant the destruction of the villages of Borgerhout and Deurne and saw up to 1,500 men killed between both armies.
Farnese proceeded to besiege Maastricht, which the Spanish Army invested less than a week after the battle and was taken by assault on 29 June of the same year. Farnese's successful campaign opened the way to a nine-year period of Spanish reconquest of much of the Netherlands. In 1566 the Burgundian Netherlands, Charles V of Habsburg's original realm, which had passed to his son Philip II of Spain on his abdication in 1556, were in disarray due to religious tensions between Protestants and Catholics and the nobility and cities' unwillingness of funding Philip's wars and ceding its powers to the Royal administration. In 1567 Philip sent an army to the Netherlands under Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba, to restore his authority, but Alba's persecution of the religious and political dissenters led William of Orange, the leader of the nobility, to exile into Germany and prepare an invasion of the Netherlands to expel Alba. Orange invaded the Netherlands twice, in 1568 and 1572; the second time, the revolt spread into the provinces of Holland and Zealand, Alba was unable of quelling it.
In 1576, the lack of an authority due to the death of Alba's successor Luis de Requesens, together with a Spanish general bankruptcy, led the Spanish mutinous soldiers to sack several towns, including Antwerp. In reaction, the loyal and rebel provinces united to expel the foreign troops under the Pacification of Ghent. John of Austria, the victor of Lepanto and replacement to Requesens, had no choice but to sign the Perpetual Edict in 1577, accepting the Pacification of Ghent, but frustrated by the intransigence of Orange and his supporters, he seized the citadel of Namur and recalled his troops. John's striking victory at the Battle of Gembloux in January 1578, was followed by a tactical defeat at Rijmenam in July, John himself died of plague in October. However, despite the Spanish failure to exploit militarily the victory of Gembloux, it rendered important political benefits to the royal cause in the Netherlands, as it shattered the unity of the Dutch rebels; as a consequence of the battle's outcome, the leaders of the main families of the Southern provinces lost faith in Orange's cause and the promises of aid made by the English queen Elizabeth I, which meant an important setback to Orange.
Aiming to restore the military capability of the Dutch rebels, Elizabeth arranged with John Casimir, son to the Calvinist Elector Palatine, the raising of a German Army under English pay to assist the Dutch troops John Casimir brought to the Netherlands 11,000 men, but instead of fighting the Spanish, he sided with the Calvinist extremists at Ghent and widened the gap between the Catholic and Protestant rebels. The States General called for help Francis, Duke of Anjou and heir of the King of France, who entered Mons in July 1578, but was back in France in a short time; the Catholic nobility and southern provinces' defections started in the autumn 1578, expanded further when the provinces of Hainaut and Artois on 6 January 1579 concluded the Union of Arras, which Walloon Flanders would soon join. The Catholic provinces of Namur and Limburg were controlled by the Spanish; the Union of Arras opened talks in February with Alexander Farnese, who succeeded his uncle John of Austria as the Royal-appointed Governor-General of the Netherlands, to reconcile with Philip II.
In response, a meeting took p
Siege of Zutphen (1591)
The Siege of Zutphen was an eleven-day siege of the city of Zutphen by Dutch and English troops led by Maurice of Nassau, during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War. The siege began on 19 May 1591 after a clever ruse by the besiegers; the city was besieged for eleven days, after which the Spanish garrison surrendered. Zutphen was a Hanseatic city on the east bank of the River IJssel. In 1572, with the resurgence of the Dutch rebellion against Philip II of Spain, Zutphen was first conquered by State troops led by Willem IV van den Bergh; the city was recaptured by the Spaniards led by Don Frederick, the population was punished and slaughtered for the surrender earlier that year. In 1586, the English under the Earl of Leicester took Zutphen's important outlying sconce, but soon English turncoat Rowland York handed the sconce over to the Spaniards, leaving Zutphen in their complete control. York died there of smallpox a year although he may have been poisoned by the Spanish to keep him from betraying again.
As a consequence, William Stanley handed over the nearby town of Deventer to the Spaniards. In 1590, Maurice had taken Breda by hiding soldiers within a peat barge and was thus able to use Breda as a base for further operations; the Dutch army could launch an offensive at three points: to the South, to the East and to the North. Maurice headed towards Nijmegen to the East along the River IJssel. By the beginning of 1591, Maurice's first goal was to take back Zutphen. With the parallel waterways, he could move the troops and artillery as as possible and keep the Spanish from reinforcing the besieged towns; the garrison of Zutphen itself consisted of nearly 1,000 Spaniards and Walloons, on the west bank of the river lay the important sconce. Maurice's army consisted of 9000 soldiers and 1600 horsemen which marched to Zutphen, along with 100 ships; the rapid march in five days meant that Maurice could prepare his artillery, stored on the ships. In order to take Zutphen, the sconce on the west bank had to be taken, as it controlled the main bridge to the town.
Once this had been taken, the town could be besieged proper once all the heavy guns from the barges had disembarked. Maurice hoped to use another ruse similar to the one. Francis Vere, in charge of the English troops, wanted the'dirt' removed from the 1587 treachery and thus wanted to lead the assault. Vere got his wish and Maurice ordered him to take the sconce on the Veluwe opposite Zutphen by sending no more than a dozen men and disguise them as farmers, some dressed as women, it was hoped that the Spanish would think they were refugees escaping the Dutch army and would let them in. Once the sconce was captured Zutphen would have no hope of holding out. Vere set the plan in motion; the disguised soldiers ran towards the fort, "pursued" by a fake cavalry charge. The garrison let the disguised soldiers in; when the order was given the English cut down the guard enough to allow the Dutch cavalry to rush in, followed by the rest of the troops as they had been hidden by a large mound nearby. Soon the Anglo -- Dutch force turned the guns on Zutphen.
After this successful strategy, having secured the bridge and further reinforced by Count William Louis' Frisian companies, Maurice began the actual assault. The Dutch gunners brought thirty artillery pieces up to three points, in case the garrison tried to retake the town, opened fire; the Spanish garrison soon saw that any further resistance was now futile and surrendered to the besiegers. The town which had so eluded the Dutch was now in their hands, while the Spanish had lost an important town; the terms of surrender were light: the garrison was allowed to retreat, the citizens were allowed three days to either depart or swear allegiance to the Dutch Republic. After setting up a strong garrison in Zutphen, Maurice marched north with his army, his artillery and munitions being sent down the IJssel in barges, his next target would be Deventer. Vere was nicknamed'the fox' after his successful ruse employed during the siege. Zutphen would remain in Dutch hands for the rest of the war. Battle of Zutphen List of Stadtholders of the Low Countries List of Governors of the Spanish Netherlands Henty, G. A.
By England's Aid: Or the Freeing of the Netherlands. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 9781419111372. Honan, Park. Christopher Marlowe:Poet & Spy. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191622793. MacCaffrey, Wallace T. Elizabeth I: War and Politics, 1588-1603. Princeton University: Princeton Paperbacks. ISBN 9780691036519. Markham, Clement; the Fighting Veres: Lives Of Sir Francis Vere And Sir Horace Vere. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1432549053. Lothrop Motley, John; the Rise of the Dutch Republic, Entire 1566–74. Hard Press. ISBN 978-1406952162. Van Nimwegen, Olaf; the Dutch Army and the Military Revolutions, 1588-1688 Volume 31 of Warfare in History Series. Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 9781843835752. Randall, David. "Netherlands Expedition". Encyclopaedia of Tudor England. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. Pp. 790–791. ISBN 9781598842982. Robinson, Paul. Military Honour and the Conduct of War: From Ancient Greece to Iraq. Cass Military Studies, Routledge. ISBN 9780203969632. Rowse A. L. Expansion of Elizabethan England. University of Wisconsin Press.
ISBN 978-0299188245. Cañete, Hugo A. La Guerra de Frisia. Malaga: Ediciones Platea. IS
Battle of Heiligerlee (1568)
Not to be confused with the earlier Battle of Heiligerlee The Battle of Heiligerlee was fought between Dutch rebels and the Spanish army of Friesland. This was the first Dutch victory during the Eighty Years' War; the Groningen province of the Spanish Netherlands was invaded by an army consisting of 3,900 infantry led by Louis of Nassau and 200 cavalry led by Adolf of Nassau. Both were brothers of William I of Orange; the intention was to begin an armed uprising against the Spanish rulers of the Netherlands. The Stadtholder of Friesland and Duke of Aremberg, Johan de Ligne, had an army of 3,200 infantry and 20 cavalry. Aremberg avoided confrontation, awaiting reinforcements from the Count of Meghem. However, on 23 May, Adolf's cavalry lured him to an ambush at the monastery of Heiligerlee. Louis' infantry, making up the bulk of the army, defeated the Spanish force which lost 1,500–2,000 men, while the invading force lost 50, including Adolf; the rebels captured seven cannons. The invading force however, did not capture any cities and was soon defeated at the Battle of Jemmingen.
The death of Adolf of Nassau is mentioned in the Dutch national anthem: Graef Adolff is ghebleven, In Vriesland in den slaech, "Count Adolf stayed behind, in Friesland, in the battle" Dupuy, R. Ernest and Trevor N. Dupuy, The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History, (HarperCollins Publishers, 1993. Laffin, Brassey's Dictionary of Battles, Barnes & Noble Inc. 1995. Menzel, The history of Germany: from the earliest period to 1842, Vol.2, George Bell & sons, 1908
Battle of Zutphen
The Battle of Zutphen was fought on 22 September 1586, near the village of Warnsveld and the town of Zutphen, the Netherlands, during the Eighty Years' War. It was fought by the forces of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, aided by the English, against the Spanish. In 1585, England signed the Treaty of Nonsuch with the States-General of the Netherlands and formally entered the war against Spain. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was appointed as the Governor-General of the Netherlands and sent there in command of an English army to support the Dutch rebels; when Alessandro Farnese, Duke of Parma and commander of the Spanish Army of Flanders, besieged the town of Rheinberg during the Cologne War, Leicester, in turn, besieged the town of Zutphen, in the province of Gelderland and on the eastern bank of the river IJssel. Zutphen was strategically important to Farnese, as it allowed his troops to levy war contributions in the rich Veluwe region. Therefore, he marched to relieve the town, he supplied Zutphen at first, but as the Anglo-Dutch siege continued, he assembled a large convoy whose delivery to the town he entrusted to the Alfonso Félix de Ávalos Aquino y Gonzaga, Marquis del Vasto/Guasto.
Leicester learned of this when a courier dispatched by Farnese to Francisco Verdugo, the man in charge of Zutphen, was intercepted. The English and Dutch prepared an ambush, in which many English noblemen were involved. In the end, the Spanish succeeded in delivering the convoy safely to Zutphen after a hard-fought battle; the Spanish cavalry, composed of Italian and Albanian soldiers, was defeated by the English cavalry under the Earl of Essex. The Spanish infantry, held its ground and delivered the convoy to Zutphen. From there, reinforced by Verdugo, the Spanish troops forced the English to retreat. Zutphen was secured for the Spanish, though in the following weeks the English managed to capture a major Spanish fort, Zutphen's sconce, on the bank of the IJssel river opposite the town. Most of the English gains were negated when, months the English governors of Deventer and Zutphen's sconce defected to the Spanish ranks and handed over their places to Farnese. In 1585, Queen Elizabeth I of England took the United Provinces of the Netherlands under her protection and signed the Treaty of Nonsuch with the States-General.
England dispatched 5,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry soldiers to the Low Countries, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was proclaimed Governor-General of the Netherlands. Commanding untrained and badly paid levies, Leicester was unable to prevent the Army of Flanders under Alessandro Farnese, from seizing the towns of Grave and Neuss, though he managed to take Axel; when Farnese besieged Rheinberg in September 1586, Leicester's army marched towards Zutphen and took a Spanish sconce on the left bank of the IJssel river. On 18 September Leicester laid a pontoon bridge over the IJssel and took positions on the right bank of the river, thus encircling Zutphen. Leicester's Anglo-Dutch army consisted of 8,000 infantry – English and Scottish, but 1,400 Irish – and 3,000 cavalry. Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, led the cavalry, John Norreys the infantry and William Pelham the camp, in which Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg, the deposed Archbishop of Cologne, Manuel, son of the Prior of Crato, claimant to the Portuguese crown, all resided.
On receiving news of the siege, Farnese dispatched the governor of Friesland, Francisco Verdugo, to Borculo with 400 infantry and two cavalry companies, Verdugo's lieutenant Johann Baptista von Taxis to Zutphen with 600 infantry and two cavalry companies. As the siege continued, Farnese left some troops to blockade Rheinberg and supplied Zutphen in person with 600 cavalry and a convoy of 300 wagons of wheat. Leicester was in Deventer but on receiving news of Farnese's approach, he returned to Zutphen's camp, he found, on his arrival, that Counts Philip of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein and William Louis of Nassau-Dillenburg had entrenched the army on a hillock along the right bank of the IJssel. Leicester was informed of the possible ways through which the Spanish army might attempt to supply the town, but because of a misunderstanding no troops were deployed to guard the roads. Led by Farnese himself and Francisco Verdugo, the Spanish troops left Borculo at night, passed next to the Dutch town of Lochem and reached Zutphen through a narrow way flanked by deep woods.
Farnese prayed in the St. Walburgis church and on walked up its tower to watch the English army; the following morning a war council was held after a captured Scottish officer was interrogated and revealed Leicester's plans and strength. Farnese considered the possibility of defending the town himself, but Verdugo dissuaded him to avoid "giving the Queen of England the fame that Prince of Parma was like a prisoner inside Zutphen". Farnese returned to Borculo, entrusted the command of the town to Verdugo, sent Taxis to guard a fort nearby. While the siege continued, he marched to Lingen with his army to intercept a corps of reiters who were being recruited in Germany under Elizabeth I's orders; when he arrived, the reiters had dissolved for lack of pay. To preserve Zutphen's garrison, Farnese gathered enough food to feed 4,000 men for three months in the towns of Groenlo, Lingen and Münster; as this food was carried to Borculo, a large convoy was formed to resupply Zutphen. Farnese gave command of the mission to Alfonso Félix de Ávalos Aquino y Gonzaga, Marquis del Vasto, under whom he put an escort of 2,500 infantry − 1,000 of them Spanish – and 600 Italian and Albanian cavalry, according to the Jesuit historian Famiano Strada, or just 600 infantry and 300 cavalry as claimed by the Spanish chronicler and soldier Alonso Vázquez, an eyewitness