Battle of Mainz

Last updated
Battle of Mainz
Part of the French Revolutionary War
Early flight 02561u (1).jpg
Reconnaissance during the French siege of Mainz, 1795
Date29 October 1795
Location
Mainz, present-day Germany
Result Austrian victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg First French Republic Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Habsburg Monarchy
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg François Schaal Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Count of Clerfayt
Strength
33,000 27,000
Casualties and losses
3,000 killed or wounded,
1,800 captured,
138 cannons lost
1,400 killed or wounded,
200 captured

The Battle of Mainz (29 October 1795) saw a Habsburg army led by François Sebastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt launch a surprise assault against four divisions of the French Army of Rhin-et-Moselle directed by François Ignace Schaal. The right-hand French division fled the battlefield, compelling the other three divisions to retreat with the loss of their siege artillery and many casualties. The War of the First Coalition action was fought near the city of Mainz in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.

Habsburg Monarchy former Central European country (1526–1804)

Habsburg Monarchy is an umbrella term used by historians for the lands and kingdoms of the House of Habsburg, especially for those of the Austrian branch. Although from 1438 until 1806 the head of the House of Habsburg was also Holy Roman Emperor, the empire itself is not considered a part of the Habsburg Monarchy.

François Ignace Schaal French politician

François Ignace Schaal, born and baptized on 5 December 1747 in Colmar (Alsace) and died on 30 August 1833 at Sélestat (Bas-Rhin), was a French general and statesman of the French Revolutionary Wars and the First Empire. He was one of six children of Jean-Baptiste Schaal, a lawyer in Colmar and Anne Barbe Kubler.

War of the First Coalition 1790s war to contain Revolutionary France

The War of the First Coalition is the traditional name of the wars that several European powers fought between 1792 and 1797 against the French First Republic. Despite the collective strength of these nations compared with France, they were not really allied and fought without much apparent coordination or agreement. Each power had its eye on a different part of France it wanted to appropriate after a French defeat, which never occurred.

Contents

French troops had ineffectively besieged the western side of Mainz Fortress since December 1794. However, in early September 1795 the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse crossed the lower Rhine River and advanced south to the Main River. For the first time Mainz was besieged on the east side of the river, but this state of affairs did not last very long. In the Battle of Höchst, Clerfayt outmaneuvered Jourdan, forcing his army to retire to the west bank of the Rhine. With Jourdan temporarily out of the picture, Clerfayt fell on Schaal's somewhat isolated corps and drove it away to the south. During this time the commander of the Army of Rhin-et-Moselle, Jean-Charles Pichegru was in treasonous contact with France's enemies, perhaps accounting for Austria's success. The next clash was the Battle of Pfeddersheim on 10 November.

Main (river) right tributary of Rhine river in Germany

The Main is a river in Germany. With a length of 525 kilometres (326 mi), it is the longest right tributary of the Rhine. It is also the longest river lying entirely in Germany. The largest cities along the Main are Frankfurt am Main and Würzburg.

At the Battle of Höchst, the Habsburg Austrian army commanded by François Sébastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt outmaneuvered the French Republican Army of Sambre-et-Meuse commanded by Jean-Baptiste Jourdan. Although the French attacked first, they were unable to dislodge an Austrian flanking column. Afterward Jourdan's army retreated to the north. The clash happened during the War of the First Coalition, part of a wider conflict known as the French Revolutionary Wars. Modern-day Höchst is a suburb and administrative district of Frankfurt am Main in the state of Hesse in Germany. Höchst is about 12 kilometers (7 mi) west of the Frankfurt city center.

Jean-Charles Pichegru French general

Jean-Charles Pichegru was a distinguished French general of the Revolutionary Wars. Under his command, French troops overran Belgium and the Netherlands before fighting on the Rhine front. His royalist positions led to his loss of power and imprisonment in Cayenne, French Guiana during the Coup of 18 Fructidor in 1797. After escaping into exile in London and joining the staff of Alexander Korsakov, he returned to France and planned the Pichegru Conspiracy to remove Napoleon from power, which led to his arrest and death. Despite his defection, his surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 3.

The siege was the second time balloon reconnaissance had been used, after the Battle of Fleurus (1794).

Battle of Fleurus (1794) battle in 1794

The Battle of Fleurus, on 26 June 1794, was an engagement between the army of the First French Republic, under General Jean-Baptiste Jourdan and the Coalition Army, commanded by Prince Josias of Coburg, in the most significant battle of the Flanders Campaign in the Low Countries during the French Revolutionary Wars. Both sides had forces in the area of around 80,000 men but the French were able to concentrate their troops and defeat the First Coalition. The Allied defeat led to the permanent loss of the Austrian Netherlands and to the destruction of the Dutch Republic. The battle marked a turning point for the French army, which remained ascendant for the rest of the War of the First Coalition. The French use of the reconnaissance balloon l'Entreprenant was the first military use of an aircraft that influenced the result of a battle.

People involved

Gabriel Jean Joseph Molitor Marshal of France

Gabriel-Jean-Joseph, 1er Comte Molitor, was a Marshal of France.

Adam Albert von Neipperg austrian marshall and nobleman

Adam Albert, Count von Neipperg was an Austrian general and statesman. He was the son of a diplomat famous for inventing a letter-copying machine, and the grandson of Count Wilhelm Reinhard von Neipperg.

Antoine Christophe Merlin member of several legislative bodies during the era of the French Revolution

Antoine Christophe Merlin was a member of several legislative bodies during the era of the French Revolution. He is usually called Merlin de Thionville to distinguish him from Philippe-Antoine Merlin de Douai.

Strategic Situation of Europe 1796 Strategic Situation of Europe 1796.jpg
Strategic Situation of Europe 1796

Military units

The 54th Infantry Regiment is a line infantry regiment of the French Army.

Military Order of Maria Theresa order of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

The Military Order of Maria Theresa was the highest military honour of the Habsburg Monarchy, Austrian Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Related Research Articles

The Battle of Aldenhoven or Battle of the Roer saw a Republican French army commanded by Jean Baptiste Jourdan attack a Habsburg army under François Sébastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt which was defending the line of the Roer River. The key crossing was won by the French right wing at Düren after heavy fighting. The Austrian retreat from the Roer conceded control of the west bank of the Rhine River to France. The battle occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of a wider conflict called the Wars of the French Revolution. Aldenhoven is located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany about 21 kilometres (13 mi) northeast of Aachen.

The Battle of Rastatt saw part of a Republican French army under Jean Victor Marie Moreau clash with elements of the Habsburg army under Maximilian Anton Karl, Count Baillet de Latour which were defending the line of the Murg River. Leading a wing of Moreau's army, Louis Desaix attacked the Austrians and drove them back to the Alb River in the War of the First Coalition action. Rastatt is a city in the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany, located 89 kilometers (55 mi) south of Mannheim and 94 kilometres (58 mi) west of Stuttgart.

Battle of Tourcoing battle

The Battle of Tourcoing saw a Republican French army directed by General Joseph Souham defend against an attack by an Habsburg, British, and Hanoverian Coalition army under Austrian Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. The French army was temporarily led by Souham in the absence of its normal commander Jean-Charles Pichegru. Threatened with encirclement, Souham and division commanders Jean Victor Marie Moreau and Jacques Philippe Bonnaud improvised a counterattack which defeated the Coalition's widely separated and badly coordinated columns. The War of the First Coalition action was fought near the town of Tourcoing, just north of Lille in northeastern France.

François Sébastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt Austrian marshal

François Sébastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt, a Walloon, joined the army of the Habsburg Monarchy and soon fought in the Seven Years' War. Later in his military career, he led Austrian troops in the war against Ottoman Turkey. During the French Revolutionary Wars he saw extensive fighting and rose to the rank of Field Marshal.

Army of Sambre and Meuse one of the armies of the French Revolution formed on 29 June 1794

The Army of Sambre and Meuse was one of the armies of the French Revolution. It was formed on 29 June 1794 by combining the Army of the Ardennes, the left wing of the Army of the Moselle and the right wing of the Army of the North. Its maximum paper strength was approximately 83,000.

Siege of Mainz (1793) siege

In the Siege of Mainz, from 14 April to 23 July 1793, a coalition of Prussia, Austria, and other German states besieged and captured Mainz from revolutionary French forces. The allies, especially the Prussians, first tried negotiations, but this failed, and the bombardment of the city began on the night of 17 June.

The Army of the Moselle was a French Revolutionary Army from 1791 through 1795. It was first known as the Army of the Centre and it fought at Valmy. In October 1792 it was renamed and subsequently fought at Trier, First Arlon, Biesingen, Kaiserslautern, Froeschwiller and Second Wissembourg. In the spring of 1794 the left wing was detached and fought at Second Arlon, Lambusart and Fleurus before being absorbed by the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse. In late 1794, the army captured Trier and initiated the Siege of Luxembourg. During the siege, the army was discontinued and its divisions were assigned to other armies.

Army of the Rhine and Moselle

The Army of the Rhine and Moselle was one of the field units of the French Revolutionary Army. It was formed on 20 April 1795 by the merger of elements of the Army of the Rhine and the Army of the Moselle.

Friedrich Joseph of Nauendorf, a general in Habsburg service during the French Revolutionary Wars, was noted for his intrepid and daring cavalry raids. Like most Austrian officers of the French Revolutionary Wars, he joined the military as a young man, and served in the War of Bavarian Succession. In the war's opening action, he successfully repelled a Prussian border raid, which earned him the admiration of the Empress Maria Theresa's son, Joseph. His continued success in the Habsburg border wars with the Ottoman Empire added to his reputation as a commander.

In the First Battle of Wissembourg an Allied army commanded by Dagobert Sigmund von Wurmser attacked the French Army of the Rhine under Jean Pascal Carlenc. After an ineffectual resistance, the French army abandoned its fortified line behind the Lauter River and retreated toward Strasbourg in confusion. This engagement of the War of the First Coalition occurred on the eastern border of France about 60 kilometres (37 mi) north of Strasbourg.

Battle of Ettlingen

The Battle of Ettlingen or Battle of Malsch was fought during the French Revolutionary Wars between the armies of the First French Republic and Habsburg Austria near the town of Malsch, 9 kilometres (6 mi) southwest of Ettlingen. The Austrians under Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen tried to halt the northward advance of Jean Victor Marie Moreau's French Army of Rhin-et-Moselle along the east bank of the Rhine River. After a tough fight, the Austrian commander found that his left flank was turned. He conceded victory to the French and retreated east toward Stuttgart. Ettlingen is located 10 kilometres (6 mi) south of Karlsruhe.

The Battle of Friedberg was fought on 24 August 1796 between a First French Republic army led by Jean Victor Marie Moreau and a Habsburg Austrian army led by Maximilian Anton Karl, Count Baillet de Latour. The French army, which was advancing eastward on the south side of the Danube, managed to catch an isolated Austrian infantry regiment. In the ensuing combat, the Austrians were cut to pieces. Friedberg is a Bavarian town located on the Lech River near Augsburg. The action was fought during the War of the First Coalition.

The Battle of Handschuhsheim or Battle of Heidelberg saw an 8,000-man force from Habsburg Austria under Peter Vitus von Quosdanovich face 12,000 men from the Republican French army led by Georges Joseph Dufour. Thanks to a devastating cavalry charge, the Austrians routed the French with disproportionate losses. The fight occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. Handschuhsheim is now a district of Heidelberg, but it was a village north of the city in 1795.

The Battle of Pfeddersheim or Battle of the Pfrimm saw a Habsburg Austrian army led by François Sébastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt attack a Republican French army under Jean-Charles Pichegru. The Austrians defeated the French and forced them to retreat south to Frankenthal where Clerfayt won another clash a few days later. The battle occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. The borough of Worms-Pfeddersheim is located in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany. Worms is approximately 23 kilometres (14 mi) north of Mannheim and Pfeddersheim is about 6 kilometres (4 mi) west of Worms.

Jacques Philippe Bonnaud or Bonneau commanded a French combat division in a number of actions during the French Revolutionary Wars. He enlisted in the French Royal Army as cavalryman in 1776 and was a non-commissioned officer in 1789. He became a captain in the 12th Chasseurs à Cheval Regiment in 1792. The unit fought at Valmy, Jemappes, Aldenhoven, Neerwinden, Raismes, Caesar's Camp and Wattignies, and he was wounded twice. In January 1794 he was promoted to general officer. In April 1794, he reluctantly accepted command of a division that had been cut to pieces at Villers-en-Cauchies and Troisvilles, and this at a time when failed generals often were sent to the guillotine. He led his troops at Courtrai, Tourcoing and in the invasion of the Dutch Republic. He fought in the War in the Vendée the following year, briefly leading the Army of the Coasts of Cherbourg. In the Rhine Campaign of 1796 he led a cavalry division in combat at Amberg, Würzburg and Limburg. He was badly wounded in the latter action and never recovered, dying at Bonn six months later. BONNEAU is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 6.

The Battle of Wetzlar saw a Habsburg Austrian army led by Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen launch an attack on a Republican French army under Jean-Baptiste Jourdan in its defenses on the Lahn River. The War of the First Coalition action ended in an Austrian victory when most of the French army began retreating to the west bank of the Rhine River. On the 19th the combat of Uckerath was fought as the Austrians pursued the French left wing. Wetzlar is located in the state of Hesse in Germany a distance of 66 kilometres (41 mi) north of Frankfurt.

In the Rhine Campaign of 1795, two Habsburg Austrian armies under the command of François Sébastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt, defeated two Republican French armies attempting to invade the south German states of the Holy Roman Empire. At the start of the campaign, the French Army of the Sambre and Meuse, led by Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, confronted Clerfayt's Army of the Lower Rhine in the north, while the French Army of the Rhine and Moselle, under Jean-Charles Pichegru, lay opposite Dagobert Sigmund von Wurmser's Army of the Upper Rhine in the south. A French offensive failed in early summer but in August, Jourdan crossed the Rhine and quickly seized Düsseldorf. The Army of the Sambre and Meuse advanced south to the Main River, isolating Mainz. Pichegru's army made a surprise capture of Mannheim and both French armies held significant footholds on the east bank of the Rhine.

Battle of Kehl (1796)

During the Battle of Kehl, a Republican French force under the direction of Jean Charles Abbatucci mounted an amphibious crossing of the Rhine River against a defending force of soldiers from the Swabian Circle. In this action of the War of the First Coalition, the French drove the Swabians from their positions in Kehl and subsequently controlled the bridgehead on both sides of the Rhine.

Action at Mannheim (1795)

The Action at Mannheim 1795 began in April 1795 when two French armies crossed the Rhine and converged on the confluence of the Main and the Rhine. Initial action at Mannheim resulted in a minor skirmish, but the Bavarian commander negotiated a quick truce with the French and withdrew. On 17 October 1795, 17,000 Habsburg Austrian troops under the command of Dagobert Sigmund von Wurmser engaged 12,000 soldiers, led by Jean-Charles Pichegru in the grounds outside the city of Mannheim. In a combination of maneuvers, the Habsburg army forced 10,000 of the French forces to withdraw into the city itself; other French troops fled to join neighboring Republican armies. First Coalition forces then laid siege to Mannheim. Subsequent action at neighboring cities forced the French to withdraw further westward toward France; after a month's siege, the 10,000-strong Republican French garrison now commanded by Anne Charles Basset Montaigu surrendered to 25,000 Austrians commanded by Wurmser. This surrender brought the 1795 campaign in Germany to an end. The battle and siege occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. Situated on the Rhine River at its confluence with the Neckar River, Mannheim lies in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg in modern-day Germany.

References

  1. Biographisches lexikon des kaiserthums Oesterreich: Enthaltend die lebensskizzen der denkwürdigen personen, welche seit 1750 in den österreichischen kronländern geboren wurden oder darin gelebt und gewirkt haben, Band 11, Constant von Wurzbach, K. K. Hof- und staatsdruckerie, Wien 1864.
  2. Geschichte des 1. Grossherzoglich hessischen Infanterie- (Leibgarde-) Regiments, Ausgabe 115 der Ausgaben 1621-1899, Carl Christian Röder von Diersburg (Freiherr.), E. S. Mittler 1899.
  3. Die reiter-regimenter der k.k.österreichischen armee, Andreas Thürheim (Graf.), F.B. Geitler, 1862.

Coordinates: 50°00′00″N8°16′16″E / 50.0000°N 8.2711°E / 50.0000; 8.2711