Lazare Hoche

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Louis Lazare Hoche
Louis Lazare Hoche1.jpg
General Hoche
Born24 June 1768
Versailles, France
Died19 September 1797 (age 29)
Wetzlar, Holy Roman Empire
AllegianceRoyal Standard of the King of France.svg  Kingdom of France
Flag of France (1790-1794).svg Kingdom of France
Flag of France.svg French Republic
Service/branchInfantry
Years of service1784–1797
Rank Général de division
Commands held Armée de la Moselle
Armée des côtes de Brest
Armée des côtes de Cherbourg
Armée de Sambre-et-Meuse
Battles/wars French Revolutionary Wars
Expédition d'Irlande
War in the Vendée
Chouannerie
Awards Names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe
Other work Minister of War

Louis Lazare Hoche (24 June 1768 – 19 September 1797) was a French soldier who rose to be general of the Revolutionary army. He won a victory over Royalist forces in Brittany. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 3. Richard Holmes says he was "quick-thinking, stern, and ruthless...a general of real talent whose early death was a loss to France." [1]

Names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe Wikimedia list article

The following is the list of the names of the 660 persons inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris. Most of them are generals who served during the First French Empire (1804–1814) with additional figures from the French Revolution (1789–1799). Underlined names signify those killed in action.

Contents

Early life

Born to poor parents near Versailles, he enlisted at sixteen as a private soldier in the Gardes Françaises . He spent his entire leisure in earning extra pay by civil work, his object being to provide himself with books, and this love of study, which was combined with a strong sense of duty and personal courage, soon led to his promotion.

Gardes Françaises regiment

The French Guards were an infantry regiment of the Military Household of the King of France under the Ancien Régime.

Revolutionary army career

Hoche in 1792 by David Lazare Hoche par David.jpg
Hoche in 1792 by David

When the Gardes françaises disbanded in 1789 he had reached the rank of corporal, and thereafter he served in various line regiments up to the time of his receiving a commission in 1792. In the defence of Thionville in that year Hoche earned further promotion, and he served with credit in the operations of 1792–1793 on the northern frontier of France, including serving as aide-de-camp to General le Veneur. When Charles Dumouriez deserted to the Austrians, Hoche, along with le Veneur and others, fell under suspicion of treason. However, after being kept under arrest and unemployed for some months, he took part in the defence of Dunkirk, and in the same year (1793) he was promoted successively chef de brigade , général de brigade, and général de division. In October 1793 he was provisionally appointed to command the Army of the Moselle, and within a few weeks he was in the field at the head of his army in Lorraine. He lost his first battle at Kaiserslautern during 28–30 November 1793 against the Prussians, but even in the midst of the Reign of Terror the Committee of Public Safety retained Hoche in his command. In their eyes, pertinacity and fiery energy outweighed everything else, and Hoche soon showed that he possessed these qualities.

Thionville Subprefecture and commune in Grand Est, France

Thionville is a commune in the northeastern French department of Moselle. The city is located on the left bank of the river Moselle, opposite its suburb Yutz.

<i>Aide-de-camp</i> Personal assistant or secretary to a person of high rank

An aide-de-camp is a personal assistant or secretary to a person of high rank, usually a senior military, police or government officer, or to a member of a royal family or a head of state.

Charles François Dumouriez French general

Charles-François du Périer Dumouriez was a French general during the French Revolutionary Wars. He shared the victory at Valmy with General François Christophe Kellermann, but later deserted the Revolutionary Army, and became a royalist intriguer during the reign of Napoleon as well as an adviser to the British government. Dumouriez is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 3.

On 22 December 1793 he won the Battle of Froeschwiller, and the representatives of the National Convention with his army at once added the Army of the Rhine to his sphere of command. In the Second Battle of Wissembourg on 26 December 1793, the French drove Dagobert Sigmund von Wurmser's Austrian army from Alsace. Hoche pursued his success, sweeping the enemy before him to the middle Rhine in four days. He then put his troops into winter quarters.

The Battle of Froeschwiller saw Republican French armies led by Lazare Hoche and Charles Pichegru attack a Habsburg Austrian army commanded by Dagobert Sigmund von Wurmser. On the 18th, a French attack pushed back the Austrians a short distance. After more fighting, a powerful assault on the 22nd forced the entire Austrian army to withdraw to Wissembourg. The action occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of the Wars of the French Revolution. Froeschwiller is a village in Bas-Rhin department of France, situated about 50 kilometres (31 mi) north of Strasbourg.

National Convention Single-chamber assembly in France from 21 September 1792 to 26 October 1795

The National Convention was the first government of the French Revolution, following the two-year National Constituent Assembly and the one-year Legislative Assembly. Created after the great insurrection of 10 August 1792, it was the first French government organized as a republic, abandoning the monarchy altogether. The Convention sat as a single-chamber assembly from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795.

The Second Battle of Wissembourg from 26 December 1793 to 29 December 1793 saw an army of the First French Republic under General Lazare Hoche fight a series of clashes against an army of Austrians, Prussians, Bavarians, and Hessians led by General Dagobert Sigmund von Wurmser. There were significant actions at Wœrth on 22 December and Geisberg on 26 and 27 December. In the end, the French forced their opponents to withdraw to the east bank of the Rhine River. The action occurred during the War of the First Coalition phase of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Arrest

Before the following campaign opened, he married Anne Adelaide Dechaux at Thionville (11 March 1794). But ten days later he was suddenly arrested, charges of treason having been proferred by Charles Pichegru, the displaced commander of the Army of the Rhine, and by his friends. Hoche escaped execution, but was imprisoned in Paris until the fall of Maximilien Robespierre.

The Thermidorian Reaction is the common term, in the historiography of the French Revolution, for the period between the ousting of Maximilien Robespierre on 9 Thermidor II, or 27 July 1794, to the inauguration of the French Directory on 1 November 1795. The "Thermidorian Reaction" was named after the month in which the coup took place, and was the latter part of the National Convention's rule of France. It was marked by the end of the Reign of Terror, decentralization of executive powers from the Committee of Public Safety, and a turn from the radical leftist policies of the Montagnard Convention to more conservative and moderate positions. Economic and general populism, Dechristianization and harsh wartime measures were largely abandoned, as the members of the Convention, disillusioned and frightened of the centralized government of the Terror, preferred a more stable political order, aimed to assuage the affluent classes. The Reaction saw the Left suppressed by brutal force, including lynch acts which the authorities turned a blind eye to, the Jacobin Club disbanded, the sans-culottes dispersed and Montagnard ideology renounced.

Maximilien Robespierre French revolutionary lawyer and politician

Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre was a French lawyer and politician who was one of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution. As a member of the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club, he campaigned for universal manhood suffrage, and the abolition both of celibacy for the clergy and of slavery. Robespierre was an outspoken advocate for the citizens without a voice, for their unrestricted admission to the National Guard, to public offices, and for the right to carry arms in self-defence. He played an important part in the agitation which brought about the fall of the French monarchy in August 1792 and the summoning of a National Convention.

War in the Vendée

Shortly after his release he was appointed to command against the Vendéans (21 August 1794). He completed the work of his predecessors in a few months by the Treaty of La Jaunaye (15 February 1795), but soon afterward the war was renewed by the Royalists. Hoche showed himself equal to the crisis and inflicted a crushing blow on the Royalist cause by defeating and capturing de Sombreuil's expedition at Quiberon and Penthièvre (16–21 July 1795). Thereafter, by means of mobile columns (which he kept under good discipline), he succeeded before the summer of 1796 in pacifying the whole of the west, which had for more than three years been the scene of a pitiless civil war.

Treaty of La Jaunaye

The Treaty of La Jaunaye was a peace accord signed by François de Charette and Charles Sapinaud de La Rairie, on behalf of the leaders of the Vendée rebels and chouans, and by Albert Ruelle on behalf of the National Convention on 17 February 1795 at the manor of La Jaunaye, at Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire, near Nantes. The treaty brought an end to major hostilities in the War in the Vendée - the rebels recognised the French Republic and in return received assurances on freedom of religion, the abolition of conscription and the right to arm a militia.

Chouannerie French royalist uprising during the revolution

The Chouannerie was a royalist uprising or counter-revolution in 12 of the western départements of France, particularly in the provinces of Brittany and Maine, against the First Republic during the French Revolution. It played out in three phases and lasted from the spring of 1794 until 1800.

Quiberon Commune in Brittany, France

Quiberon is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in western France.

Ireland and Austria

In End of the Irish Invasion; -- or -- the Destruction of the French Armada (1797), James Gillray caricatured the failure of Hoche's Irish expedition. Irish-Invasion-Gillray.jpeg
In End of the Irish Invasion; — or — the Destruction of the French Armada (1797), James Gillray caricatured the failure of Hoche's Irish expedition.

Following this, Hoche was appointed to organise and command the Ireland Expedition, of troops sent to assist the United Irishmen in their rebellion against British rule. A tempest, however, separated Hoche from the expedition, and after various adventures the whole fleet returned to Brest without having effected its purpose.

Hoche was at once transferred to the Rhine frontier, where he defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Neuwied in April 1797, though operations were soon afterwards brought to an end by the Preliminaries of Leoben.

Later career and death

Monument General Hoche in Weissenthurm Weissenthurm, Monument General Hoche 001x.jpg
Monument General Hoche in Weißenthurm

Later in 1797 Hoche was minister of war for a short period, but in this position he was surrounded by obscure political intrigues, and, finding himself the dupe of Paul Barras and technically guilty of violating the constitution, he quickly laid down his office, returning to his command on the Rhine frontier. It was his denunciation during that time that had led to Kléber's removal from command. The compromising letter was found by Jean Baptiste Alexandre Strolz in Hoche's papers. [2] [3]

Hoche's health grew rapidly worse, and he died at Wetzlar on 19 September 1797 of consumption (tuberculosis). The belief spread that he had been poisoned, but the suspicion seems to have had no foundation. He first was buried next to his friend François Marceau in a fort at Koblenz on the Rhine. In 1919, the French Rhine army buried his mortal remains into the 1797-built Monument General Hoche in Weißenthurm near Neuwied, where he had started his last campaign against the Austrians.

Memorials

Statue of Hoche commemorating his victory in Quiberon, by Jules Dalou, 1902 Quiberon - Statue Hoche.jpg
Statue of Hoche commemorating his victory in Quiberon, by Jules Dalou, 1902

He is commemorated by a statue in Place Hoche, a gardened square not far from the main entrance to the Palace of Versailles, and another in the Panthéon. Another statue, the last major work by Jules Dalou, is in Quiberon, Brittany. In Les Invalides where Napoleon's tomb is enshrined, there is also a memorial to Hoche. A station on the Paris Metro is also called 'Hoche'.

Hoche's motto was Res non-verba, which is Latin for "Deeds, not words".

Notes

  1. Richard Holmes, ed. The Oxford companion to military history (2001) p 411.
  2. Librairie R. Roger et F. Chernoviz, Feuilles d'Histoire du XVII au XX Siècle, Tome 6, Paris 1911, p. 332
  3. Lubert d' Héricourt: La Vie du Général Kléber, Paris 1801, p.122

Related Research Articles

The Battle of Neuwied saw Lazare Hoche lead part of the French Army of Sambre-et-Meuse against Franz von Werneck's Austrian army. The French attack surprised their enemies and broke through their lines. Aside from 1,000 men killed and wounded, Austrian losses included at least 3,000 prisoners, 24 artillery pieces, 60 vehicles, and five colors. For their part, the French lost 2,000 men killed, wounded, and captured. The losses were in vain because Napoleon Bonaparte signed the Preliminaries of Leoben with Austria the same day. The armistice halted the fighting so that both sides could negotiate a peace. The action occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars.

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References

Military offices
Preceded by
Jacques Charles René Delaunay
Commander-in-chief of the Army of the Moselle
31 October 1793 – 18 March 1794
Succeeded by
Jean-Baptiste Jourdan
Preceded by
Pierre Vialle
Commander-in-chief of the Army of the Coasts of Cherbourg
1 September 1794 – 30 April 1795
Succeeded by
Jean-Baptiste Annibal Aubert du Bayet
Preceded by
Thomas-Alexandre Dumas
Commander-in-chief of the Army of the Coasts of Brest
10 November 1794 – 10 September 1795
Succeeded by
Gabriel Venance Rey
Preceded by
Jean Baptiste Camille Canclaux
Commander-in-chief of the Army of the West
11 September – 17 December 1795
Succeeded by
Amédée Willot
Preceded by
New organization
Commander-in-chief of the Army of the Coasts of the Ocean
5 January – 22 September 1796
Succeeded by
Discontinued
Preceded by
New organization
Commander-in-chief of the Army of Ireland
1 November – 23 December 1796
Succeeded by
Emmanuel Grouchy
Preceded by
Emmanuel Grouchy
Commander-in-chief of the Army of Ireland
19 January – 9 February 1797
Succeeded by
Discontinued
Preceded by
Jean Victor Marie Moreau
Commander-in-chief of the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse
9 February – 18 September 1797
Succeeded by
François Joseph Lefebvre
Political offices
Preceded by
Claude Louis Petiet
French minister of War
15 July 1797 – 22 July 1797
Succeeded by
Barthélemy Louis Joseph Schérer