|Battle of Peyrestortes|
|Part of the War of the Pyrenees|
Some parts of Perpignan's ramparts survive today. Rather than attack the fortress directly, the Spanish tried to surround it with fortified camps.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
|200–300, unknown||1,702–3,500, 26–46 guns, 7 colors|
The Battle of Peyrestortes (17 September 1793) saw soldiers of the First French Republic fighting troops of the Kingdom of Spain during the War of the Pyrenees. Forces from the French Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, temporarily commanded by Eustache Charles d'Aoust and Jacques Gilles Henri Goguet, defeated two divisions of the Army of Catalonia led by Juan de Courten and Jerónimo Girón-Moctezuma, Marquis de las Amarillas. This Spanish setback in an attempt to capture Perpignan marked the high point of their invasion of Roussillon.
The War of the Pyrenees, also known as War of Roussillon or War of the Convention, was the Pyrenean front of the First Coalition's war against the First French Republic. It pitted Revolutionary France against the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal from March 1793 to July 1795 during the French Revolutionary Wars.
The Army of the Eastern Pyrenees was one of the French Revolutionary armies. It fought against the Kingdom of Spain in Rousillon, the Cerdanya and Catalonia during the War of the Pyrenees. This army and the Army of the Western Pyrenees were formed by splitting the original Army of the Pyrenees at the end of April 1793 soon after the war started. Shortly after the Peace of Basel on 22 July 1795, the fighting ended and the army was dissolved on 12 October that same year. Many of its units and generals were transferred to join the Army of Italy and fought under Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796.
Eustache Charles Joseph d'Aoust was a general officer during the French Revolutionary Wars.
The Spanish army of Antonio Ricardos had occupied part of Rousillon and made an abortive attempt to seize the fortress of Perpignan in July 1793. At the end of August, the Spanish commander sent two divisions on a sweep around the western side of Perpignan in an attempt to isolate the fortress and choke it off from resupply. After an initial Spanish success, the French army commander Hilarion Paul Puget de Barbantane, lost his nerve and fled from the area. D'Aoust and Goguet stepped into the command vacuum and led their troops to attack and rout the two Spanish divisions from their fortified camps. After the battle, the Army of Catalonia found itself back in its original positions. Ricardos successfully defended a Spanish foothold in France during the remainder of 1793. Peyrestortes is located 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) northwest of Perpignan.
Antonio Ricardos Carrillo de Albornoz was a Spanish general. He joined the army of the Kingdom of Spain and fought against Habsburg Austria, the Portugal, and the First French Republic during a long military career. By embracing the Spanish Enlightenment, he earned the displeasure of conservative elements of society. He played an active role in reforming the Spanish military. Upon the outbreak of the War of the Pyrenees in 1793, the king sent him to command in Catalonia. He invaded Rousillon where he won several victories over the French. After his death in early 1794, the war went badly for Spain.
Hilarion-Paul-François-Bienvenu du Puget de Barbantane disgraced himself during the French Revolutionary Wars by abandoning the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees during a crisis. A nobleman, he was made colonel of the Aunis infantry regiment in 1788. He was promoted general of brigade in 1791 and general of division the following year. He intrigued to obtain command of the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees and got his wish when Louis-Charles de Flers was dismissed in August 1793. When the Spanish commander Antonio Ricardos surrounded Perpignan with a chain of fortified camps, Barbantane panicked and fled the city, going absent without leave.
Peyrestortes is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.
Beginning in April 1793, Captain General Ricardos and his Spanish army brushed aside the badly trained French armies in the department of Pyrénées Orientales. Ricardos defeated General of Division Louis-Charles de Flers at the Battle of Mas Deu on 19 May. The Siege of Bellegarde concluded with the Spanish capture of the important Fort de Bellegarde on 24 June.Ricardos and de Flers fought again on 17 July in the Battle of Perpignan and this time the 12,000 French troops repulsed a 15,000-strong Spanish assault. However, even a victory was not enough to satisfy the all-powerful and high-handed Representatives-on-mission. They arrested de Flers on 7 August on the charge of "having lost the confidence of the citizen-soldiers". The general was sent to Paris and eventually executed by guillotine.
Louis-Charles de La Motte-Ango, vicomte de Flers joined the French Royal army and rose in rank to become a general officer in the French Revolutionary Wars. After serving in the Austrian Netherlands, he was appointed to command the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees. His army suffered several defeats in May and June 1793, but he rallied his troops to win a defensive victory at the Battle of Perpignan in July. The all-powerful Representatives-on-mission arrested him in August 1793 for a minor setback and sent him to Paris under arrest. The Committee of Public Safety executed him by guillotine on trumped up charges in the last days of the Reign of Terror. De Flers is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe.
The Battle of Mas Deu or Battle of Mas d'Eu on 19 May 1793 saw the French Revolutionary Army of the Eastern Pyrenees under Louis-Charles de Flers fighting Bourbon Spain's army of Catalonia led by Antonio Ricardos.
The Siege of Bellegarde commenced on 23 May 1793 and ended on 24 June 1793 when Colonel Boisbrulé's French garrison surrendered the Fort de Bellegarde to a Spanish army under the command of Antonio Ricardos. 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.
The representatives-on-mission appointed General of Division Barbantane as de Flers' successor as army commander.Barbantane had been one of the generals critical of de Flers. At the same time de Flers was sacked, the representatives-on-mission sent General of Division Luc Siméon Auguste Dagobert and 3,000 troops to carry out an independent operation in the Cerdagne. On 28 August, Dagobert would win a victory over General Manuel la Peña at Puigcerdà. Meanwhile, the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees had been left by de Flers in the fortified Camp de l'Union under the walls of the fortress of Perpignan, the capital and defensive key to the Pyrénées Orientales department.
Luc Siméon Auguste Dagobert de Fontenille was a French general of the French Revolutionary Wars.
Puigcerdà is the capital of the Catalan comarca of Cerdanya, in the province of Girona, Catalonia, northern Spain, near the Segre River and on the border with France.
Perpignan is the prefecture of the Pyrénées-Orientales department in Southwest France. Perpignan was the capital of the former province and County of Roussillon and continental capital of the Kingdom of Majorca in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Ricardos responded to the situation by establishing his own fortified camp at Ponteilla on the southwest side of Perpignan.The Spanish commander also built fortified camps at Argelès-sur-Mer to the southeast of Perpignan and Olette on the Têt River to the west. Ricardos directed Lieutenant General Marquis de las Amarillas and his division to cross the Têt and attack the French camps on the north side between Millas and Perpignan. Amarillas scored an initial success, driving the French from Corneilla-la-Rivière on 31 August and gaining a foothold on the north bank. Elements of the 61st and 79th Line Infantry Regiments carried out a rearguard action as they withdrew north to Rivesaltes. At this time the French still controlled Collioure on the Mediterranean coast well to the south of Perpignan.
Ponteilla is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.
Argelès-sur-Mer is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.
Olette is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.
On 3 September, a Spanish probe was turned back at the Mill of Orles near Perpignan by Colonel Charles-Louis Gau de Fregeville's 2nd Hussar Regiment and other troops under Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Banel's command. The next day,Barbantane suddenly withdrew his headquarters and one division from Perpignan north to Salses-le-Château, turning over command of Perpignan to General of Division d'Aoust. When the representatives-on-mission demanded answers, Barbantane insisted he was commander of the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees and not of Perpignan.
Colonel is a senior military officer rank below the brigadier and general officer ranks. However, in some small military forces, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.
A hussar was a member of a class of light cavalry, originating in Central Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. The title and distinctive dress of these horsemen were subsequently widely adopted by light cavalry regiments in European armies in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
Salses-le-Château or just Salses is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France. It is located north of the city of Perpignan.
Finally, the thoroughly panicked Barbantane abandoned his army altogether, dashing off to Narbonne supposedly looking for reinforcements. In his letter of resignation to the War Minister, he wrote, "The situation is beyond my powers", and he was dismissed. The government named Louis Marie Turreau as the new army commander, but it would be some time before he arrived from the Vendée. In the meantime, the representatives chose Dagobert as Barbantane's successor. Pending Dagobert's arrival from the Cerdagne, the representatives appointed d'Aoust to assume temporary command and named General of Brigade Goguet to lead the 4,000-man division at Salces.
Hearing of Barbantane's unmilitary behavior, Ricardos determined to take advantage of the disarray in the French high command. The Spanish commander ordered Amarillas to march to Peyrestortes via Baixas. On 8 September, Amarillas occupied Peyrestortes, northwest of the provincial capital. That day, he attacked d'Aoust's Camp of the Union at Rivesaltes and drove the French away after a tough fight. Meanwhile, D'Aoust and General of Brigade Louis Lemoine constructed redoubts to defend Perpignan. 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of Perpignan). This was Lieutenant General Juan de Courten's division, which took position behind an irrigation canal, with 24 cannon covering the road leading north to Salces. This last move was a blunder because Ricardos did not mount a serious enough threat to d'Aoust's forces from the south at the same time.The Spanish set up a fortified camp at Peyrestortes and defended it with 12,000 soldiers. The Spanish pushed forward a column from Peyrestortes to Vernet (a suburb
At 2:00 am on 17 September, José de Iturrigaray's Spanish artillery brought Perpignan under a heavy bombardment from the direction of Cabestany to the southeast. Ricardos deployed 6,000 troops to support the gunners on the south and west sides of the fortress. At 4:00 am that morning, d'Aoust fell upon de Courten's division at Vernet in four columns. Lemoine led the left column, Colonel Catherine-Dominique de Pérignon commanded the center column including some cavalry under Banel, and General of Brigade Antoine Soulérac directed the right column. An observation force that included Lieutenant Jean Lannes moved to the far left. One of the French columns managed to turn de Courten's flank. After a stubborn fight, the French captured all of de Courten's artillery.
At 10:30 am d'Aoust hesitated, worried that Ricardos might assault Perpignan from the south. However, a crowd of citizens from Perpignan had watched the fight and they demanded more action. Urged on by the representatives-on-mission, d'Aoust reformed his soldiers and prepared to attack Peyrestortes. Representative Joseph Cassanyes galloped away to Salces-le-Château to bring Goguet into the fight. In the improvised battle plan the two divisions would attack together at 5:00 pm.D'Aoust had no authority over Goguet and his division, but the two agreed to cooperate. D'Aoust attacked at 5:00 pm with 4,000 men, but was driven off. Because of bad staff work, Goguet's 3,500-man division was late and only joined the battle at 7:00 pm.
The Salses-le-Château column was led by Goguet and General of Brigade Pierre Poinsot de Chansac.Guided by Cassanyes who was familiar with the area, the French found a gap in the Spanish defenses. Amarillas neglected to post troops to defend a ravine, and Goguet exploited this blunder to push his soldiers into a hand-to-hand fight where Spanish firepower counted for little and French élan for much. As the day wore on, French reinforcements kept arriving from Salses, giving their attack ever increasing momentum. The fighting went on even as daylight faded. Soulérac's column joined the attack on Peyrestortes hill. In the confusion and darkness, Rafael Adorno's Spanish cavalry panicked and withdrew. By 10:00 pm, French soldiers broke into the Spanish positions and forced both Amarillas and de Courten into a disorderly retreat back to Trouillas and Mas Deu.
Historian Ramsay Weston Phipps stated that the French captured 500 Spanish soldiers, 43 guns and seven colors, but did not list the killed and wounded.Digby Smith gave Spanish losses as 52 officers and 1,150 rank and file killed, wounded, and missing out of 6,000 engaged. In addition, the French captured 500 men, 26 cannon, and seven colors. French losses were given as 200 killed and wounded out of a total of 8,000 troops involved in the fighting. Another source listed Spanish casualties as 800 killed and 1,500 wounded, while the French captured 1,200 prisoners, 40 cannons and six howitzers. During the action, Pérignon was wounded in the thigh and he received promotion to general of brigade the following day. The next action was the Battle of Truillas on 22 September 1793.
The heroes of Peyrestortes fared poorly. In late December, the French suffered a costly defeat at the Battle of Collioure. At the end of 1793, the only French soil held by her enemies was in Roussillon. Even though the representatives-on-mission shared a large part of the responsibility for failure, d'Aoust was arrestedand sent to the guillotine on 2 July 1794 during the Reign of Terror. On 21 April 1794, Goguet's division was defeated during an abortive attempt to break the Siege of Landrecies. During the retreat some mutinous soldiers shot down their general. Though the fatally wounded Gouget begged Jean Baptiste Bernadotte to keep calm, Bernadotte harangued the troops until they seized the assassins. Ultimately an officer was sentenced to die for inciting his soldiers.
In spite of his strange defection, Barbantane managed to avoid the guillotine. He was imprisoned at Toulouse but later freed. Maximilien Robespierre put him in prison again but he survived the Reign of Terror. Later on, Napoleon instructed that Barbantane be left at home because he was useless at Paris.
A battle memorial commemorating the victory is 1 kilometre (0.6 mi) southeast of the village, near the Perpignan–Rivesaltes Airport. The monument has the following inscription, A la mémoire de l'armée des Pyrénées-Orientales qui combattirent à Peyrestortes sous la conduite des conventionnels Cassanyes, Fabre, des généraux Daoust et Goguet. (To the memory of the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees which fought at Peyrestortes under the direction of deputies Cassanyes, Fabre, of generals Daoust and Goguet.)
The Second Battle of Boulou was a battle in the War of the Pyrenees, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. This battle saw the French Army of the eastern Pyrenees led by Jacques François Dugommier attacking the joint Spanish-Portuguese Army of Catalonia under Luis Firmin de Carvajal, Conde de la Union. Dugommier's decisive victory resulted in the French regaining nearly all the land they lost to the Kingdom of Spain in 1793. Le Boulou is on the modern A9 highway, 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of the department capital at Perpignan and 7 kilometres (4 mi) north of Le Perthus on the France-Spain border.
The Battle of Truillas was fought on 22 September 1793 during the French Revolutionary War between the French Army of the eastern Pyrenees led by Luc Siméon Auguste Dagobert and the Spanish Army of Catalonia under Antonio Ricardos. This attempt by the French to exploit their success in the Battle of Peyrestortes ended in a Spanish victory. Part of the War of the Pyrenees, the battle was fought near the village of Trouillas in the French department of Pyrénées Orientales, 12 km southwest of Perpignan.
The Army of the Western Pyrenees was one of the Republican French armies of the French Revolutionary Wars. From April 1793 until 12 October 1795, the army fought in the Basque Country and in Navarre during the War of the Pyrenees. After indecisive fighting during the first year of its existence, the army seized the Spanish port of San Sebastián in August 1794. By the time the Peace of Basel was signed on 22 July 1795, the Army of the Western Pyrenees held a significant portion of northeastern Spain.
The Battle of the Black Mountain was fought from 17 to 20 November 1794 between the army of the First French Republic and the allied armies of the Kingdom of Spain and the Kingdom of Portugal. The French, led by Jacques François Dugommier defeated the Allies, who were commanded by Luis Firmín de Carvajal, Conde de la Unión. Though the Spanish right wing held, its left flank was driven back on the first day's fighting. On the last day of the battle, the French overran a key position and put the Spanish army to rout. The battle was remarkable in that both army commanders were slain. A Spanish artillery shell killed Dugommier early in the battle and Dominique Catherine de Pérignon assumed command of the French army. De la Union was shot dead while leading a cavalry charge on the last day of the fighting and was temporarily replaced by Jerónimo Girón-Moctezuma, Marquis de las Amarilas. The French victory led to the capture of Figueres and the Siege of Roses (Rosas), a port in Catalonia.
Jerónimo Morejón Girón-Moctezuma, 3rd Marquis de las Amarillas, born 7 June 1741 at Málaga and died 17 October 1819 at Seville, became a general officer in the army of the Kingdom of Spain and commanded division-sized combat units during the War of the Pyrenees in 1793 and 1794. Though he attained high rank, he displayed limited military talent. Shortly after succeeding to the top command of the Army of Catalonia, he was dismissed for blunders made on the battlefield.
Juan de Courten (elder) or Juan Antonio Curten Massenet or Juan Courten or Juan Curten began his Spanish military career in the War of the Austrian Succession at the age of 14. His father was a brigadier general of engineers who died in 1745. Courten fought in the Spanish–Portuguese War (1761–1763), the Invasion of Algiers in 1775, and the Great Siege of Gibraltar. He was the last Spanish governor of Oran in 1792. As a lieutenant general, he led an infantry division during the War of the Pyrenees against the First French Republic in several actions including Perpignan, Peyrestortes, Truillas, Boulou, and the Black Mountain. He was appointed Captain General of Aragon in 1795.
The Battle of Perpignan or Battle of Niel on 17 July 1793 saw the French Army of the Eastern Pyrenees led by Louis-Charles de Flers defending against an offensive by the Spanish Army of Catalonia commanded by Antonio Ricardos. The French turned back the Spanish attacks and forced their opponents to pull back. Perpignan is now the capital of Pyrénées Orientales department, but in 1793 was the chief city of Rousillon province. The action was fought during the War of the Pyrenees, part of the War of the First Coalition.
Jacques Gilles Henri Goguet rose to command a French division during the French Revolutionary Wars before he was assassinated by his own soldiers after a defeat. Trained as a physician, he became a member of the French National Guard in 1789. He joined a volunteer battalion in 1792 and fought at Jemappes in November that year. In 1793 he was promoted to general officer and transferred to the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees. In September 1793 when a Spanish army threatened to surround Perpignan, the French army commander fled, leaving the army leaderless. In the emergency, Goguet cooperated with Eustache Charles d'Aoust to win the Battle of Peyrestortes. A few days later he led a column at Truillas.
The Battle of Collioure saw troops from the Kingdom of Spain attack a Republican French division during the War of the Pyrenees. The Spanish troops led by Gregorio García de la Cuesta were completely successful in ousting the French under Louis Pierre François Delattre from Collioure, Fort Saint-Elme and Port-Vendres. The contending sides were the Spanish Army of Catalonia commanded by Antonio Ricardos and the French Army of the Eastern Pyrenees led by François Amédée Doppet and Eustache Charles d'Aoust. In September 1793, the French successfully defended Perpignan from Spanish attack but December saw a series of French defeats. One of the French representatives on mission, Claude Dominique Côme Fabre was killed during the fighting at Collioure. Aoust and Delattre were arrested, condemned and executed by guillotine for the disaster.
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 Sauret's 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 equal number of French prisoners. After the defenders were released, the Spanish army commander Luis Firmín de Carvajal, Conde de la Unión refused to authorize the agreement or return any French captives. The infuriated French government afterward passed a decree ordering death to all Spanish prisoners and some units carried out the brutal order.