Letters of the Second Crusade: Another letter from Conrad III to Wibald, Abbot of Corvey in 1148

Conrad, by the grace of God, august king of the Romans, to venerable Wibald, abbot of Corvey, — his most kind greeting.

Because we know that you especially desire to hear from us and to learn the state of our prosperity, we think it fitting first to tell you of this. By God's mercy we are in good health and we have embarked in our ships to return on the festival of the blessed Virgin in September, after having accomplished in these lands all that God willed and the people of the country permitted.

Let us now speak of our troops. When following the advice of the common council we had gone to Damascus and after a great deal of trouble had pitched our camps before the gate of the city, it was certainly near being taken. But certain ones, whom we least suspected, treason-ably asserted that the city was impregnable on that side and hastily led us to another position where no water could be supplied for the troops and where access was impossible to any one. And thus all, equally indignant and grieved, returned, leaving the undertaking uncompleted. Nevertheless, they all promised unanimously that they would make an expedition against Ascalon, and they set the place and time. Having arrived there according to agreement, we found scarcely any one. In vain we waited eight days for the troops. Deceived a second time, we turned to our own affairs.

In brief therefore, God willing, we shall return to you. We render to you the gratitude which you deserve for your care of our son and for the very great fidelity which you have shown to us. And with the full intention of worthily rewarding your services, we ask you to continue the same.