Category:Sieges of the War of the First Coalition
Pages in category "Sieges of the War of the First Coalition"
The following 21 pages are in this category, out of 21 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
The following 21 pages are in this category, out of 21 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
1. Siege of Bellegarde (1793) – The capture of the fort gave Spain control of an important road through the Pyrenees. The siege took place during the War of the Pyrenees, part of the French Revolutionary Wars, Fort de Bellegarde is on a height overlooking the border town of Le Perthus, which lies on the modern A9 autoroute and Autovía A-7. King Louis XIV of France built Fort de Bellegarde after 1678 according to a plan drawn up by Sébastien de Vauban and this strong masonry fortress defended the Col de Le Perthus which crosses the Pyrenees at an altitude of 305 metres. The pass is the most important route from Spain into France in the eastern Pyrenees, as Vauban noted, Nothing overlooks this place, and the fortress is situated on the highest ground in the area. When Spain went to war with revolutionary France in mid-April 1793, with Bellegarde dominating the main road into France, the Spanish commander had to surround, besiege, and capture the place before he could use the main road as a supply route for his invading army. Accordingly, Ricardos crossed the Pyrenees 20 km to the southwest with 4,500 soldiers, in the first skirmish of the War of the Pyrenees, the Spanish evicted the 400 French defenders. Continuing his left hook, Ricardos 4,400 troops fell upon a French force at the town of Céret on the Tech River, the French,800 regulars and 1,000 National Guards with 4 cannon, panicked and fled. Between 100 and 200 Frenchmen became victims of Spanish musketry and steel, Ricardos reported only 17 men wounded. During the initial operations, the Spanish commander placed a detachment near Bellegarde to keep Boisbrulé, with the seizure of Céret, Ricardos placed his army nearly in the rear of Bellegarde. After receiving some reinforcements, he advanced farther to the northeast to the vicinity of Trouillas, at this location, the 7,000 Spanish troops were confronted by the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees led by General of Division Louis-Charles de Flers. At the Battle of Mas Deu on 19 May, Ricardos defeated de Flers with the loss of 150 killed,280 wounded, the Spanish lost 34 killed and an unknown number of wounded. The demoralized French soldiers retreated north to the department capital of Perpignan, rather than press on, Ricardos turned back to besiege Bellegarde, which overlooked his main supply route back to Barcelona. The siege of Bellegarde and its garrison of 1,536 French soldiers began on 23 May, the garrisons firepower included at least 41 cannon and seven mortars. The 6,000 Spanish besiegers and 34 cannon first concentrated their efforts on reducing two outworks on the side of the main fort. The French Émigré Vallespir battalion fought alongside the Spanish, by 30 May, Ricardos had sited 16 guns in batteries at a distance of 1,200 paces from Fort les Bains. On 3 June,350 Frenchmen surrendered the outwork after a bombardment, two days later, the Fort de la Garde fell after its water supply was cut off, and 200 more French soldiers became prisoners of war. While siege operations proceeded,3,350 Frenchmen tried to escort a convoy to the fortress but were driven off on 29 May. For several weeks the Spanish siege guns pounded the fortress until a breach was made in the main wall, by this time,42 of the 50 French artillery pieces were dismounted
2. Siege of Collioure (1794) – The Siege of Collioure saw a Republican French army led by Jacques François Dugommier invest a French port held by a Spanish garrison commanded by Eugenio Navarro. The actual siege work was carried out by Pierre François Saurets reinforced division, after the three and a half week War of the Pyrenees siege the Spanish fleet sent to evacuate the garrison was blown off station by a storm. Navarro surrendered the town on the promise to exchange the paroled garrison with an number of French prisoners. After the defenders were released, the Spanish army commander Luis Firmín de Carvajal, the infuriated French government afterward passed a decree ordering death to all Spanish prisoners and some units carried out the brutal order. On 16 January 1794 Jacques François Dugommier replaced Eustache Charles dAoust as commander-in-chief of the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, aoust was condemned and executed by guillotine on 2 July 1794. Dugommier had an advantage over previous commanders of the army because he came as the victor of the Siege of Toulon which ended on 19 December 1793 and he was also a member of the National Convention and therefore part of the political establishment. Until Dugommiers accession, the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees was under the control of arrogant representatives on mission who abused their authority to remarkable degree, Dugommier enjoyed good relations with the new representatives Édouard Jean Baptiste Milhaud and Pierre Soubrany. At first the two removed a number of army officers in an indiscriminate manner. Unlike the earlier representatives, they interfered less in military matters, for example, they managed to get forage for horses and mules delivered that was previously held up by the Army of the Alps officials at Lyon. Dugommier organized the best soldiers into battalions of infantry, which were a success, and grenadiers. He also separated the better troops into combat units and the worst men into garrison units, some soldiers had been using fowling pieces. Except for 5,000 or 6,000 muskets, the inefficient infantry weapons were all replaced with good firearms, under Dugommier, the artillery, cavalry and hospitals all saw some improvement. The Army of the Eastern Pyrenees received 10,500 troops from Toulon, Dugommier welded these into a field army of 28,000 trained soldiers and 5,000 recruits, placing 25,000 men in training camps or garrisons. Pierre Augereaus 6, 300-man right wing division soon emerged as the best unit in the due to frequent drilling. An independent division operated in the Cerdagne farther inland, but its commander Luc Siméon Auguste Dagobert died on 21 May 1794 and was replaced by François Amédée Doppet. Antonio Ricardos, the commander of the Spanish Army of Catalonia died on 13 March 1794, supposedly after drinking a poisoned drink intended for Manuel Godoy, the close adviser of King Charles IV. His successor Alejandro OReilly died ten days later and the king appointed Luis Firmín de Carvajal, the interim commander Jerónimo Girón-Moctezuma, Marquis de las Amarillas fortified Le Boulou in the Tech River valley. When La Unión arrived to command at the end of April
3. Siege of Dunkirk (1793) – Following a Coalition defeat at the Battle of Hondshoote they were forced to raise the siege and withdraw northeast. The plan to besiege Dunkirk was taken not by military commanders, right from the beginning of the campaign Dundas had considered the possession of Dunkirk as desirable, both as a bargaining counter in peace negotiations and as a potential British base in Europe. Nevertheless, York obediently followed instructions and through the days of August 1793 moved rapidly north-west. The Advance Guard consisting of the Austrian Sztáray Infantry Regiment Nr.33, not only were the French surprised by Yorks advance, Dunkirks defences were in a dilapidated condition. The town would most likely have fallen quickly had the promised Royal Navy fleet arrived on time, an English civilian witness wrote to the Public Advertiser that the town would have surrendered outright had it not been for Commissioners arriving from Paris to prevent it. Meanwhile, in Paris the election of Lazare Carnot and Pierre Louis Prieur to the Committee of Public Safety was to have beneficial consequences for the Republican field armies. Historian Burne indicates these reinforcements were the former garrison of Valenciennes. Jourdan was then transferred to command troops at the Cassel entrenched camp, with the able assistance of his chief of staff, the young Lazare Hoche, Souham, and later Jacques Ferrand were able to act vigorously to bolster the demoralised defenders. On the 24th Yorks reserve column under the Austrian Feldmarschall-Leutnant Graf Eduard dAlton took the suburb of Rosenthal, fortescue says York lost almost 400 casualties, though the Officer of the Guards gives returns as Austrians 170, British 74 and Hessians 55 killed and wounded. The casualties included dAlton, who was shot and killed towards the end of the day, thereafter Yorks command began entrenching in a line from Tetteghem to the sea. Confidence was high, however York was about to face a number of disappointments, Dundas had omitted to provide York with adequate equipment for a siege, and most importantly no heavy siege artillery. Siege guns had been due to arrive at Nieuport on the 26th, on 27 August, transports arrived to disembark the gun crews but no guns. On 30 August Admiral John MacBride arrived to coordinate naval operations, though he could ill afford it, York dispatched six squadrons of Hessian cavalry to bolster the Dutch line. York was in a difficult position, Souham had opened the town sluices, which slowly inundated the fields connecting York to Freytag and filled British trenches on the dunes with two feet of water. In the end the British were only able to find ordnance by disarming a frigate at Furnes, on 6 September Houchard led the French forces at the Cassel entrenched camp against Freytags covering Hanoverian corps at the Battle of Hondshoote. On the same day the defenders of Dunkirk made a sally in order to pin down Yorks command. One of the killed this day was Yorks chief of Engineers Colonel James Moncrief, on Yorks left flank Freytags Hanoverians were eventually driven back to the town of Hondschoote. Since Freytag was wounded and briefly captured by the French before being rescued, Johann Ludwig, on the 8th Houchard attacked and forced Wallmoden to withdraw in the Battle of Hondschoote after a very hard defence
4. Siege of Fort-Louis (1793) – The French capitulated after a defense lasting exactly one month. The siege occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars, in 1793 the fortress was sited on an island in the Rhine River, but today Fort-Louis is a village in the Bas-Rhin department in France. Dominique-André_de_Chambarlhac supervised the technical elements of the defense, altogether, Fort-Louis mounted 111 artillery pieces. General-major Franz von Lauer commanded the 4, 700-man besieging force which included a train of 55 guns
5. Siege of Landrecies (1794) – The fortress capitulated on 30 April 1794. In the amended plan de campagne that the leaders of the Coalition agreed upon in The Hague in early April the capture of the fortress of Landrecies was a key objective. The mobile army of the States Army was charged with obtaining this objective, Landrecies had long been a contested city between France and the Habsburg Netherlands of which it originally was a part. In 1543 the French conquered it and repulsed an attempt by Charles V to retake it, in 1655 the city was taken by the French after a brief siege, and not returned to the Spanish Netherlands at the Treaty of the Pyrenees of 1659. Vauban then gave it a built according to the latest military insights. This made it impregnable in the Franco-Dutch War, and the War of the Spanish Succession when it withstood an attempt by Prince Eugene in 1712 to capture it. The Coalition armies, under command of the Austrian emperor Francis II were facing the French armies under general Jean-Charles Pichegru. The French started the Spring campaign of 1794 in March, Emperor Francis first reviewed the troops of the combined British-Austrian-Dutch army on 16 April 1794 near Cateau-Cambrésis. The next day,17 April, the Allies attacked on a broad front. The Dutch mobile army reached the glacis of the fortress of Cambrai that evening, the columns of the Prince of Hessen-Darmstadt and major-general Van der Duyn captured Catillon-sur-Sambre, near Landrecies that evening. The Dutch mobile army was reinforced with Austrian infantry and auxiliaries under command of major-general Count Baillet de Latour, on 18 April 1794 this corps left its camp near Cambrai and marched on Landrecies. The 19th was spent on preparations and on 20 April the corps opened an attack on the fortress. The Swiss Guards of the brigade of De Gumoëns and the brigade of Hesse-Darmstadt distinguished themselves in this fight, the middle column overran the redoubts and demi-lunes of the outer fortress. The garrison of the fortress was forced to withdraw within its walls, the Dutch losses were 23 officers and 358 other ranks. The mobile army immediately started to invest the fortress, work was begun on a line of field works that ran in front of the fortress, with its endpoints on the Sambre river, cutting the fortress off from overland access. Two batteries were placed on the approaches to the town. The Hereditary Prince made the chateau of Bousies his headquarters, and those attempts at relief were defeated by the Coalition in the Battles of Villers-en-Cauchies and Beaumont-en-Cambresis. Sorties by the garrison also hindered the preparations, on 26 April the stadtholder, William V, the father of the Hereditary Prince, and Captain-General of the States Army, paid a visit to the camp of the besiegers
6. Siege of Le Quesnoy (1793) – After two and a half week siege, the French capitulated after suffering heavy losses. The War of the First Coalition operation was fought at Le Quesnoy, after the successful Sieges of Condé and Valenciennes, the Coalition divided their forces. While an Austrian army laid siege to Le Quesnoy, a British-led army marched west to the coast to operate against Dunkirk, on 11 September, two French columns marched to the relief of Le Quesnoy. The force from Cambrai on the west came to grief in the Battle of Avesnes-le-Sec while the force from Maubeuge was also repelled, the Le Quesnoy garrison laid down their arms on 13 September, but the Siege of Dunkirk was a total failure. Undeterred, the Austrian host next laid siege to Maubeuge, leading to the Battle of Wattignies in mid-October, the Coalition besieging force under the Count of Clerfayt numbered about 18,000 troops in 24 battalions and 10 squadrons. There were five Austrian grenadier battalions, those of Attems, Sinoth, Ulm, the Austrian line infantry included two battalions each of Infantry Regiments Archduke Charles Nr. 17, Grand Duke of Tuscany Nr,29, Erbach Nr.42 and Stain Nr. 50, and one battalion of Infantry Regiment Beaulieu Nr.59, the Austrian cavalry comprised four squadrons of the Latour Chevau-léger Regiment Nr.31 and two squadrons of the Barco Hussar Regiment Nr.35. The French Royalist cavalry included two squadrons each of the Bérchény and Saxe Hussars, the Coalition admitted losses of 208 killed and wounded during the siege. The French lost about 1,000 killed out of a garrison of 5,000 troops, the 4,000 survivors became prisoners of war. The Armies of the First French Republic, Volume I The Armée du Nord
7. Siege of Lille (1792) – The Siege of Lille saw a Republican French garrison under Jean-Baptiste André Ruault de La Bonnerie hold Lille against an assault by a Habsburg Austrian army commanded by Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen. Though the city was bombarded, the French successfully withstood the Austrian attack in the War of the First Coalition action. Because the Austrians were unable to encircle the city, the French were able to continuously send in reinforcements. After news of the French victory over the Prussians at Valmy, Albert withdrew his troops, the next battle was at Jemappes in November. The Column of the Goddess monument was completed in 1845 to commemorate the siege, after the Kingdom of France captured Lille in 1668, the famous military engineer Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban was ordered to improve its defenses. The five-sided citadel was constructed between 1668 and 1672 at a cost of 1,500,000 florins and the result was announced by Vauban to be the Queen of Citadels. The citadel was surrounded by marshes, except where it adjoined the city, in 1670, parts of the old walls were torn down to make room for new fortifications. When the work was done, Lille was protected by 16 bastions, Vauban estimated that 12,000 soldiers were required to defend the huge fortifications, including 1,000 manning the citadel. On 19 August, Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette left his command at the Army of the North, on 17 August, the increasingly radicalized French Legislative Assembly had demanded that La Fayette report to Paris for questioning and on the 19th he was charged with treason. Not understanding that his enemies wanted to guillotine him, the Prussians and Austrians imprisoned La Fayette until 1797. His replacement in command was the more astute Charles François Dumouriez. Dumouriez dreamed of an invasion of the Austrian Netherlands. On 24 August, the politically-connected François Joseph Westermann arrived at headquarters with the news that Longwy had fallen to the Coalition the day before after a feeble defense, the Coalition forces bombarded Longwy into submission then gained a quick triumph in the Battle of Verdun on 2 September. At last Dumouriez realized that Brunswick might be headed to Paris and he also ordered Pierre de Ruel, marquis de Beurnonville to join him with 10,000 soldiers from the Army of the North and Blaise Duval to bring 3,050 more. The Battle of Valmy occurred on 20 September, after which Brunswick withdrew from France, with Dumouriez absent, the French only had 6,000 troops under René Joseph Lanoue to defend Maubeuge. There were 4,000 soldiers led by Jacques Henri Moreton Chabrillant spread between Bruille-Saint-Amand, Saint-Amand-les-Eaux and Orchies as well as 4, 000–5,000 men in the Camp of Maulde. Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen decided to divert French strength away from Brunswicks invasion by launching attacks on the enemies before him, Saxe-Teschen counted 51 infantry battalions and 40 cavalry squadrons of which 14 battalions were in garrisons. On 3 September Anton Sztáray threatened Philippeville while Johann Peter Beaulieu menaced Quiévrain, when Maximilian Anton Karl, Count Baillet de Latour advanced from Tournai toward Lille on 5 September, Moreton abandoned the Camp of Maulde and fell back behind the Scarpe River