Battle of Truillas

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Battle of Truillas
Part of the War of the Pyrenees
B-Truillas.jpg

The Battle of Truillas by Jean-Baptiste Réville
Date22 September 1793
Location
Result Spanish victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg French Republic Flag of Spain (1785-1873, 1875-1931).svg  Spain
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg Luc Siméon Dagobert Flag of Spain (1785-1873, 1875-1931).svg Antonio Ricardos
Strength
22,000 [1] 17,000, [1] 38 guns [2]
Casualties and losses
4,500, 10 guns [1] 2,000 [1]

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.

Army of the Eastern Pyrenees

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.

Luc Siméon Auguste Dagobert French general

Luc Siméon Auguste Dagobert de Fontenille was a French general of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Antonio Ricardos Spanish general

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.

Contents

Background

Since invading French Roussillon in April 1793, Captain General Ricardos and his Spanish army won a string of successes over the defending forces of the First French Republic. The Siege of Bellegarde ended with a French capitulation on 24 June 1793. [3] Since June, the Spanish army maintained itself a few kilometers south of Perpignan, the department capital. In early September, Ricardos made a bid to isolate and capture the fortress of Perpignan by sending two divisions around its western side to cut the road to Narbonne. Meanwhile, he bombarded the city from the south. French troops under General of Division Eustache Charles d'Aoust and General of Brigade Jacques Gilles Henri Goguet attacked the positions of Spanish Lieutenant General Jerónimo Girón-Moctezuma, Marquis de las Amarilas at Peyrestortes and Lieutenant General Juan de Courten at Le Vernet. The resulting Battle of Peyrestortes on 17 September was an important French victory. The badly shaken Spanish army regrouped near Trouillas. [4]

Roussillon Historical province in Pyrénées-Orientales, France

Roussillon is one of the historical counties of the former Principality of Catalonia, corresponding roughly to the present-day southern French département of Pyrénées-Orientales save Fenouillèdes. It may also refer to Northern Catalonia or French Catalonia, the first used by Catalan-speakers and the second used by French-speakers. A 1998 survey found that 34% of respondents stated they speak Catalan, and a further 21% understand it.

Siege of Bellegarde (1793) siege

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.

Perpignan Prefecture and commune in Occitanie, 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.

The day after Peyrestortes, General of Division Luc Siméon Auguste Dagobert was appointed commander of the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees. Desiring to take advantage of the recent victory and urged on by Representative-on-mission Claude Fabre, Dagobert decided to attack Ricardos in his camp at Trouillas. [2]

Peyrestortes Commune in Occitanie, France

Peyrestortes is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.

Battle

War of the Pyrenees, Eastern Pyrenees Eastern Theater Pyrenees War 1793 to 1795.jpg
War of the Pyrenees, Eastern Pyrenees

Trouillas nestles in a plain on the Canterrane stream at an altitude of about 100 meters. Mas Deu, an establishment founded by the Knights Templar in medieval times, is located 2.4 km to the east. Thuir lies five km to the northwest. Ricardos defended these positions with a force of 17,000 soldiers and 38 cannons. The second battalion of the Barcelona Infantry Regiment arrived, but this reinforcement did not make up for the heavy Spanish losses suffered at Peyrestortes. Dagobert attacked the Spanish defenses with 22,000 soldiers. [2] The French order of battle included the 7th, 61st, 70th, and 79th Infantry Demi-Brigades, as well as the National Guards of Gers and Gard. [1]

Knights Templar Western Christian military order; medieval Catholic military order

The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, also known as the Order of Solomon's Temple, the Knights Templar or simply the Templars, were a Catholic military order recognised in 1139 by the papal bull Omne datum optimum. The order was founded in 1119 and was active until 1312 when it was perpetually suppressed by Pope Clement V by the bull Vox in excelso.

Thuir Commune in Occitanie, France

Thuir is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.

National Guard (France) 1789–1872 military reserve and police branch of Frances military

The National Guard is a French military, gendarmerie, and police reserve force, active in its current form since 2016 but originally founded in 1789 after the French Revolution.

Dagobert preferred to envelop the Spanish position from the west, but Fabre and the other generals persuaded him to make a frontal attack. So he sent General of Brigade Louis Antoine Goguet's division to assault the Spanish left flank at Thuir while sending a flanking column to attack that town from the west. D'Aoust's division was ordered to attack the Spanish right flank at Mas Deu, while Dagobert led his own division in an attempt to pierce the Spanish center. Believing that Thuir was the focus of the main French effort, Ricardos posted General Crespo and only 3,000 men to defend the Spanish right. He shifted the troops of LG Pedro Téllez-Girón, 9th Duke of Osuna and LG Luis Firmín de Carvajal, Conde de la Unión to hold Thuir. Dagobert's attack pushed back the Spanish center and forced its way into the main camp at Trouillas. Meanwhile, Goguet ran into a concentration of Spanish infantry and artillery on the west flank at Thuir and was beaten. Ricardos personally led a cavalry charge to break up the flanking column, then he returned to the crisis of the battle in the center. D'Aoust merely skirmished with Crespo near Mas Deu and never mounted a serious threat to the Spanish right. This allowed Ricardos to mass his cavalry against Dagobert's division. After disposing of Goguet, de la Unión marched to Trouillas to take the French center in reverse. Three French demi-brigades were surrounded and many prisoners taken. After an all-day battle Dagobert retreated northeast to Canohès. [5]

Pedro Téllez-Girón, 9th Duke of Osuna Spanish duke

Pedro de Alcántara Téllez-Girón, 9th Duke of Osuna, Grandee of Spain, , was a Spanish nobleman. He led Spanish troops during the French Revolutionary Wars.

Luis Fermín de Carvajal, Conde de la Unión became a general officer in the army of the Kingdom of Spain. In 1794 during the French Revolutionary Wars, he commanded the Spanish Army in a mostly unsuccessful effort to hold back the army of the First French Republic. He died in battle fighting the French.

Canohès Commune in Occitanie, France

Canohès is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.

The Spanish victory was also helped by disorganization and poor logistical arrangements on the part of the French. [2]

Result

Though Dagobert admitted only 1,500 casualties, historian Digby Smith notes that the French actually suffered 3,000 killed and wounded, with 1,500 soldiers and 10 artillery pieces captured. The Spanish army lost a total of 2,000 killed, wounded, and missing. De Courten and General Diego Godoy also fought for the Spanish. [6] Representatives Fabre and Raymond Gaston removed the unsuccessful Dagobert from command of the army on 28 September and temporarily replaced him with d'Aoust. Dagobert returned to the Cerdagne with his division and sacked the Spanish town of Camprodon on 4 October. [7] Though Ricardos gained the victory at Trouillas, he soon found it expedient to withdraw to the Tech River. On 3 October, the Spanish commander and 15,000 troops repulsed d'Aoust and 16,000 Frenchmen at Le Boulou on the Tech. In that action, 1,200 French soldiers became casualties against only 300 Spaniards. [1]

Footnotes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Smith, p 57
  2. 1 2 3 4 Prats, Trouillas
  3. Smith, p 48
  4. Prats, Peyrestortes
  5. Rickard, Truillas. Rickard provides all the tactical details.
  6. Smith, p 57. Smith also lists Louis-Nicolas Davout which is incorrect.
  7. Prats, Dagobert

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