|Siege of Bellegarde (1793)|
|Part of the War of the Pyrenees|
Bellegarde fortress chapel
|Commanders and leaders|
|1,536, 48 guns||6,000, 34 guns|
|Casualties and losses|
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.
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.
The Fort de Bellegarde is a 17th-century bastion fortification located above the town of Le Perthus, in the Pyrénées-Orientales département of southern France.
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.
King Louis XIV of France built Fort de Bellegarde after 1678 according to a plan drawn up by Sébastien de Vauban. This strong masonry fortress defended the Col de Le Perthus which crosses the Pyrenees at an altitude of 305 metres (1,001 ft). The pass is the most important route from Spain into France in the eastern Pyrenees. As Vauban noted, "Nothing overlooks this place", and the fortress is situated on the highest ground in the area.
Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who reigned as King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. Starting on 14 May 1643 when Louis was 4 years old, his reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history. In the age of absolutism in Europe, Louis XIV's France was a leader in the growing centralisation of power.
When Spain went to war with revolutionary France in mid-April 1793, Captain General Antonio Ricardos faced a strategic problem. With Bellegarde dominating the main road into France, the Spanish commander had to surround, besiege, and capture the place before he could use the main road as a supply route for his invading army. Accordingly, Ricardos crossed the Pyrenees 20 km to the southwest with 4,500 soldiers and descended on the village of Saint-Laurent-de-Cerdans. In the first skirmish of the War of the Pyrenees, the Spanish evicted the 400 French defenders. Continuing his left hook, Ricardos' 4,400 troops fell upon a French force at the town of Céret on the Tech River. The French, 800 regulars and 1,000 National Guards with 4 cannon, panicked and fled. Between 100 and 200 Frenchmen became victims of Spanish musketry and steel, while another 200 drowned trying to cross the Tech. Ricardos reported only 17 men wounded. During the initial operations, the Spanish commander placed a detachment near Bellegarde to keep Boisbrulé and his garrison from raiding Spanish supply convoys.
Saint-Laurent-de-Cerdans is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.
Céret is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France. It is the capital of the historic Catalan comarque of Vallespir.
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.
With the seizure of Céret, Ricardos placed his army nearly in the rear of Bellegarde. After receiving some reinforcements, he advanced farther to the northeast to the vicinity of Trouillas. At this location, the 7,000 Spanish troops were confronted by the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees led by General of Division Louis-Charles de Flers. At the Battle of Mas Deu on 19 May, Ricardos defeated de Flers with the loss of 150 killed, 280 wounded, plus three cannons and six ammunition wagons captured. The Spanish lost 34 killed and an unknown number of wounded. The demoralized French soldiers retreated north to the department capital of Perpignan, where a battalion of National Guard mutinied and had to be disbanded. Rather than press on, Ricardos turned back to besiege Bellegarde, which overlooked his main supply route back to Barcelona.
Trouillas is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.
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.
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.
Concurrent with the siege of Bellegarde, Spanish General Antonio Ricardos attacked two French fortresses along the Tech River associated with Fort de Bellegarde, Fort les Bains at Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda 16 kilometers to the northwest and Fort de la Garde at Prats-de-Mollo-la-Preste 31 kilometers to the west. Fort les Bains was sieged on 23 May and the garrison of 350 men surrendered on 3 June after bombardment. The 200 man garrison of Fort de la Garde surrendered on 5 June after the fort's water supply was cut off.
The siege of Bellegarde and its garrison of 1,536 French soldiers began on 23 May. The garrison's firepower included at least 41 cannon and seven mortars. For several weeks the Spanish siege guns pounded Fort de Bellegarde until a breach was made in the main wall. By this time, 42 of the 50 French artillery pieces were dismounted.Facing the prospect of an assault with his defenses compromised, Boisbrulé formally surrendered Bellegarde on 24 June. The remaining soldiers of the garrison marched into captivity. During the month-long siege, the French suffered losses of 30 killed, 56 wounded, and 1,450 captured. Spanish losses are not known.
With the Fort de Bellegarde secured, the Spanish army became able to use the Col de La Pertus as a supply route. Ricardos lunged at the capital of Rousillon but suffered a stinging repulse at the Battle of Perpignan on 17 July 1793. De Flers' French suffered 800 casualties out of a total of 12,000 troops. The French also lost one cannon and had 600 desertions. Out of 15,000 soldiers,the Spanish lost approximately 1,000 casualties. De Flers had used the month in which Ricardos reduced Bellegarde to train his green recruits and surround Perpignan with field fortifications. The French turned back Ricardos again in the Battle of Peyrestortes on 17 September, but the Spanish turned the tables on their opponents in the Battle of Truillas five days later.
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 Sant Llorenç de la Muga was fought on 13 August 1794 between an attacking Spanish–Portuguese army led by the Conde de la Unión and a French army commanded by Jacques François Dugommier. The local French defenders headed by Pierre Augereau and Dominique Pérignon repulsed the allies. The Spanish garrison of Fort de Bellegarde surrendered a month later.
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.
Jacques François Coquille named Dugommier was a French general.
Le Perthus is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France. Natives of Le Pertus are called Perthusiens and, in 2016, there were 586 inhabitants.
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.
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.
Pierre François Sauret de la Borie led a combat division under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte during the Castiglione Campaign in 1796. He enlisted in the French army as a private in 1756. During the Seven Years' War he fought at Hastenbeck and Rossbach. He became a first lieutenant in 1789 and a lieutenant colonel in 1792. Assigned to the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, served with distinction during the War of the Pyrenees against Spain. He was promoted to general officer in 1793 and became one of three infantry division commanders in the field army. He led his division at Palau, Boulou, Collioure, Black Mountain, Roses, and Bascara. He transferred to the Army of Italy in 1795. Bonaparte called him a very good soldier, but unlucky. He retired from active military service in order to enter politics.
Eustache Charles Joseph d'Aoust was a general officer during the French Revolutionary Wars.
The Battle of Peyrestortes 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.
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.
The Siege of Roses or Siege of Rosas from 7 November to 5 December 1808 saw an Imperial French corps led by Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr invest a Catalan and Spanish garrison commanded by Peter O'Daly. After a siege lasting a month in which the haven and town of Rosas was captured and the nearby Trinity Castle invested by over 13,000 French and Italian infantry, artillery and cavalry with heavy siege trains on the hills above, the Citadel was surrendered to the Napoleonic forces. Roses (Rosas) is located 43 kilometres (27 mi) northeast of Girona (Gerona), Spain. The action occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars.
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.
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 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.