Battle of Rocheserviere

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Battle of Rocheserviere
Part of the Hundred Days
Bataille de Rocheseviere.jpg
A scene from the Battle of Rochesevière
Date20 June 1815
Location
Result Bonapartist victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg French Empire Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Kingdom of France
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg Jean Maximilien Lamarque
Flag of France.svg Jean-Pierre Travot
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Pierre Constant Suzannet  
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Charles Autichamp
Strength
c. 6,000 Bonapartists c. 8,000 Vendeans
Casualties and losses
10 killed
60 wounded
100 killed
500 wounded

The Battle of Rocheserviere was fought at Rocheservière on the 20 June 1815, between Vendéan Royalists, who had remained loyal to King Louis XVIII during the Hundred Days, and Napoleon's Army of the West, commanded by General Jean Maximilien Lamarque. The battle ended with the defeat of the Royalist forces. Five days later the Treaty of Cholet was signed, ending the hostilities. [1]

Rocheservière Commune in Pays de la Loire, France

Rocheservière is a commune in the Vendée department in the Pays de la Loire region in western France. The Battle of Rocheservière was fought nearby in 1815.

Hundred Days period from Napoleons escape from Elba to the second restoration of King Louis XVIII

The Hundred Days marked the period between Napoleon's return from exile on the island of Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815. This period saw the War of the Seventh Coalition, and includes the Waterloo Campaign, the Neapolitan War as well as several other minor campaigns. The phrase les Cent Jours was first used by the prefect of Paris, Gaspard, comte de Chabrol, in his speech welcoming the king back to Paris on 8 July.

Jean Maximilien Lamarque French commander of the Napoleonic Wars and politician

Jean Maximilien Lamarque (1770–1832) was a French commander during the Napoleonic Wars who later became a member of French Parliament. Lamarque served with distinction in many of Napoleon's campaigns. He was particularly noted for his capture of Capri from the British, and for his defeat of Royalist forces in the Vendée in 1815. The latter campaign received great praise from Napoleon, who said Lamarque had "performed wonders, and even surpassed my hopes".

Contents

Background

The Army of the West had been formed to pacify the region and support the new French government instigated by Napoleon Bonaparte after his return to Paris at the start of the Hundred Days in 1815. While Napoleon marched north to deal with the threat from the British and Prussian armies during the Waterloo campaign, Lamarque was sent to pacify the Royalist stronghold of the Vendée. Assisted by Michel Silvestre Brayer, he left Nantes with 3000 men on 11 June. By the 17th, his force had increased to 6000 men. He soon learned that a Vendean army of around 8000 men under Charles Autichamp and Pierre Constant Suzannet was concentrating in the vicinity of Rocheservière.

Charles Marie de Beaumont dAutichamp French general

Charles Marie Auguste Joseph de Beaumont, comte d'Autichamp. A brave but ponderous man, he was one of the few Royalist survivors of the War in the Vendée.

Jean Baptiste Pierre Constant, Count of Suzannet French royalist officer

Jean Baptiste Pierre Constant de Suzannet, Count de Suzannet was a Roman-Catholic royalist officer who fought in the War in the Vendée.

Battle

The Vendée Royalist forces were well protected in defensive positions, but were divided into separate armies. Suzannet occupied the heights of Rocheservière, protected to the west by the Boulogne river, which was difficult for an army to cross. Another force under Bertrand Saint-Hubert was in Saint-André-Treize-Voies, nine kilometers east of Rocheservière. As for Charles Autichamp, he was positioned Vieillevigne north-east, 7 kilometers from Rocheservière and 4 km from Saint-André.

The river Boulogne is located in western France in the départements Loire-Atlantique and Vendée.

Saint-André-Treize-Voies Part of Montréverd in Pays de la Loire, France

Saint-André-Treize-Voies is a former commune in the Vendée department in the Pays de la Loire region in western France. On 1 January 2016, it was merged into the new commune of Montréverd.

These positions would be difficult for the Bonapartists to attack, but on 19 June Suzannet's force suddenly withdrew from Rocheservière and occupied Mormaison to the south east. The Bonapartists took the opportunity to launch an attack on the Vendeans. The chasseurs under Jean-Pierre Travot clashed with the Vendeans at La Grolle between Rocheservière and Saint-André. However Suzannet's cavalry were sent in, forcing Travot to retreat. Suzannet then brought all his troops up to La Grolle.

Jean-Pierre Travot French general

Jean Pierre Travot was a French general and nobleman, the son of Philibert Travot and Catherine Guodefin.

The next day, 20 June, Suzannet decided to meet the Bonapartists in battle. He wrote to Autichamp, the commander in chief, asking him to join him, but Autichamp refused to move immediately saying he was securing his position. Suzannet and Saint-Hubert then crossed the Boulogne river and marched to meet the Bonapartists. The two armies met on the moors of the Grand-Collet, South West of Rocheservière. The separate forces of Saint-Hubert and Suzannet were at some distance from each other. The Bonapartists under Travot first entered into contact with the forces of Saint-Hubert. Saint-Hubert's men were taken in the flank by Travot's chasseurs, and were routed. Suzannet arrived too late to retrieve the situation. Seeing the rout of Saint-Hubert, he launched a desperate charge at the Bonapartist lines. In the ensuing fight Suzannet collapsed, seriously wounded by a bullet. Lamarque then ordered his cavalry to attack, and Suzannet's forces broke and fled the field.

At Vieillevigne, General Autichamp was informed of the fighting at Grand-Collet. He immediately marched towards Rocheservière, but only arrived in time to witness the rout of Suzannet and Saint-Hubert. Autichamp then decided to place his men in defense of the bridge over the Boulogne. But Lamarque forded the river, taking Rocheservière, and moved round behind the Vendeans. They panicked and fled, falling back in disorder to the north of Clisson. The next day General Suzannet died of his injuries at Aigrefeuille-sur-Maine.

Aigrefeuille-sur-Maine Commune in Pays de la Loire, France

Aigrefeuille-sur-Maine is a commune in the Loire-Atlantique department in western France.

Aftermath

Though the battle was fought two days after Napoleon's decisive defeat at Waterloo, neither side was aware of this. The first information to emerge about the wider military situation was news of Napoleon's victory at the Battle of Ligny. This led to attempts on the part of the Royalists to negotiate with Lamarque. A treaty was signed five days after the battle, in which the Vendean Royalists agreed to cease operations. [2] When news came through shortly afterwards of Napoleon's defeat, Lamarque convinced the Royalists not to exploit the situation but to allow the area to be occupied by the advancing Prussian troops. [3]

Battle of Ligny battle

The Battle of Ligny was the last victory of the military career of Napoleon Bonaparte. In this battle, French troops of the Armée du Nord under Napoleon's command, defeated part of a Prussian army under Field Marshal Prince Blücher, near Ligny in present-day Belgium. The Battle of Ligny is an example of a tactical win and a strategic loss for the French. While the French troops did force the enemy to retreat, the Prussian army survived and went on to play a pivotal role two days later at the Battle of Waterloo, reinforced by the Prussian IV Corps, which had not participated in the Battle of Ligny. Had the French army succeeded in keeping the Prussian army from joining the Anglo-allied Army under Wellington at Waterloo, Napoleon might have won the Waterloo Campaign.

See also

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The Battle of Coron was fought between Royalist and Republican French forces near Coron during the War in the Vendée. A Republican division from Saumur led by Antoine Joseph Santerre beat Royalist Vendeans at Doué-la-Fontaine on 15 September and at Vihiers on the 17th. However, on 18 September Santerre's division blundered into an ambush between Vihiers and Coron set by Louis Marie de Lescure and Dominique Piron. The Republican column was routed and lost all its artillery. A few days later, a flanking Republican division under Charles François Duhoux was beaten in the Battle of Pont-Barré. In mid-September the Republican Army of the Coasts of La Rochelle under Jean Antoine Rossignol advanced into the Vendée from the south and east at the same time as the Army of the Coasts of Brest and the Army of Mainz commanded by Jean Baptiste Camille Canclaux marched in from the west. In battles at Coron, Pont-Barré, Tiffauges, Montaigu and Saint-Fulgent, the Vendean rebels massed against and defeated each Republican invading column.

The Second Battle of Châtillon was fought between Royalist and Republican French forces at Châtillon-sur-Sèvre during the War in the Vendée. A 20,000-man Republican column commanded by Alexis Chalbos from the Army of the Coasts of La Rochelle was attacked and routed by Vendean Royalist forces led by Louis Marie de Lescure and Charles de Bonchamps. That night a few hundred Republicans under François Joseph Westermann raided the rebel encampment. Before the Vendeans killed or drove them off, the raiders inflicted severe losses on drunken rebel fighters and non-combatant women and children. The Vendeans withdrew toward Mortagne-sur-Sèvre the next day. Republican general René François Lecomte was mortally wounded in the battle, dying a few days later.

References

  1. Chandler, David (1999). Dictionary of the Napoleonic wars. Wordsworth editions, 1999. p. 181
  2. Chandler, David (1981) [1980]. Waterloo: The Hundred Days. Osprey Publishing, p.181.
  3. Robert Gildea, Children of the Revolution: The French, 1799-1914, Penguin, 2008, p.117.

Further reading

Coordinates: 46°56′23″N1°30′29″W / 46.93972°N 1.50806°W / 46.93972; -1.50806