|Siege of Condé (1793)|
|Part of War of the First Coalition|
The defenses of Condé included ditches that could be flooded via sluice gates.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
|light||4,300, 103 guns|
The Siege of Condé (8 April – 12 July 1793) saw a force made up of Habsburg Austrians and French Royalists commanded by Duke Ferdinand Frederick Augustus of Württemberg lay siege to a Republican French garrison led by Jean Nestor de Chancel. After a blockade lasting about three months the French surrendered the fortress. The operation took place during the War of the First Coalition, part of a larger conflict known as the French Revolutionary Wars. Condé-sur-l'Escaut, France is located near the Belgium border about 14 kilometres (9 mi) northeast of Valenciennes.
The Austrian victory at Neerwinden in mid-March drove the French occupation army from the Austrian Netherlands. The subsequent defection of Charles François Dumouriez shook the morale of the French soldiers and caused the politicians to suspect most generals of treason. Austria and her Coalition allies moved against the line of fortresses protecting the northeastern border of France, investing first Condé and Valenciennes soon afterward. Meanwhile, the motley French armies, composed of regulars and raw recruits and led by generals fearful of the guillotine, struggled to defend their nation.
On 18 March 1793, Charles François Dumouriez's French army attacked Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld's Austrian army in the Battle of Neerwinden. The French army numbered 40,000 infantry and 4,500 cavalry while the Austrians employed 30,000 foot and 9,000 horse. The fighting on the French right and center was bitterly contested, but the French left collapsed and abandoned the field. After a second defeat near Leuven on 21 March, the French abandoned Brussels on the 24th, their soldiers deserting in large numbers. Dumouriez negotiated with the Austrians and evacuated the Austrian Netherlands in return for free passage for French troops. The French armies took positions behind the frontier. The Army of Holland deployed near Lille, the Army of the Ardennes at Maulde, the Army of the North at Bruille-Saint-Amand, and the Army of Belgium at Condé-sur-l'Escaut and Valenciennes.
Dumouriez was at heart a monarchist and King Louis XVI had been executed on 21 January 1793. He planned to lead the army to Paris and overthrow the National Convention. He negotiated with the Austrians to cooperate by not invading France while her borders were undefended. On 1 April, when the War Minister Pierre de Ruel, marquis de Beurnonville and the government commissioners arrived at his headquarters in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux to demand answers, Dumouriez arrested them and handed them over to the Austrians. The plan quickly unravelled when the plotters failed to seize control of the frontier fortresses. In one incident, Louis-Nicolas Davout's volunteer battalion fired on Dumouriez. While the cavalry and some of the regular infantry might have gone along with the scheme, the artillery and the volunteers, pro-Revolution to the core, refused to follow their general. On 5 April 1793, Dumouriez defected to the Austrians with Duke Louis of Chartres, Jean-Baptiste Cyrus de Valence and other officers. With the plot in ruins, the Austrians resumed hostilities.
Condé-sur-l'Escaut occupies a strategic location at the confluence of the Scheldt (Escaut) and Haine Rivers. The Romans recognized this when they founded a town at the site. Subsequent residents fortified the location so that by the end of the Middle Ages, Condé was defended by a stone wall with towers surrounded by a moat. The Spanish first tried to modernize the defenses in 1654, but the town was captured by the French general Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne the following year. After the French returned Condé by the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, the Spanish converted the town into a fortress. They built a new bastioned trace around the town, outside the old wall which was kept as an inner line. Originally, the new defenses were constructed of earth, but in 1666, the bastions on the west side were revetted with stone. On the south side, a hornwork was built to protect the old town castle. In case of attack, the defenders could easily flood the ditch with water from the rivers. In April 1676 a French army laid siege to the town. Condé was ceded to France by the Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678. Fortifications expert Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban greatly improved the defenses on the east side, adding two demi-bastions and a full bastion. He also constructed sluice gates so that the garrison could control the depth of the water in the ditches and flood areas on the east side. Outside the fortress, Vauban built five square redoubts in order to keep an attacker away from the main defenses as long as possible. The fortress was undisturbed during the wars of King Louis XIV. The engineer Pierre du Buat made some alterations to Condé in the 1770s.
A 6,000-strong Coalition division led by Duke Ferdinand Frederick Augustus of Württemberg invested Condé-sur-l'Escaut on 8 April 1793. The Austrian portion of Württemberg's force included one battalion each of the Infantry Regiments d'Alton Nr. 15 and Joseph Colloredo Nr. 57, two composite battalions drawn from Infantry Regiments de Ligne Nr. 30, Württemberg Nr. 38, Murray Nr. 55 and Vierset Nr. 58, four companies of Tyrolean Sharpshooters and two squadrons of Kavanagh Cuirassier Regiment Nr. 12. The French Royalist contingent was made up of two squadrons each of the Berczeny Hussar, Saxe Hussar and Royal Allemand Cavalry Regiments. The French garrison was commanded by Maréchal de Camp (General of Brigade) Jean Nestor de Chancel. The 4,300 defending French soldiers were organized into four battalions, four independent companies and eight squadrons.
After Dumouriez defected, the French government appointed Auguste Marie Henri Picot de Dampierre to replace him in charge of the Army of Belgium on 4 April 1793.There was a reorganization on 24 April in which the Army of Belgium and Army of Holland were suppressed and the remaining troops were consolidated into the Army of the North with Dampierre in command and the subordinate Army of the Ardennes under François Joseph Drouot de Lamarche. Dampierre knew that his troops needed rest but the representatives on mission demanded action. His army reoccupied the Camp of Famars near Valenciennes on 15 April. Two weeks later on 1 May the French attacked the Coalition army under Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in an attempt to relieve Condé. Though the foot soldiers fought stoutly, the cavalry did not do its duty and the assault failed. On 8 May in the Battle of Raismes, Dampierre attacked again and his left wing made some progress. The British Guards brigade was committed to the action and drove back the French, but were finally stopped by intense fire. However, the French relief attempt failed. The French suffered 1,500 casualties out of 30,000 involved in the action while the Coalition lost about 600 killed and wounded. Coburg's army numbered about 60,000 including Austrian, Prussian, Dutch and British troops, though many of these were not engaged. Dampierre was carried from the field with part of his thigh shot away; he died the next day. Despite his heroic death, he was denounced as a traitor in the National Convention by Georges Couthon. Had he survived, Dampierre would probably have been sent to the guillotine since he was under suspicion. On 10 May the Coalition forces recaptured all the ground that they lost on the 8th and the French army retired to the Camp of Famars.
On 23 May 1793, the Coalition army defeated the French in the Battle of Famars. The Coalition lost 1,100 casualties out of 53,000 while the 27,000-strong French army, now under Lamarche, lost 3,000 killed and wounded, plus 300 men, 17 guns, 14 ammunition wagons and three colors captured.One consequence of the battle was that the Coalition began the Siege of Valenciennes. The isolated garrison at Condé communicated with the French armies via messages sent by balloons. This proved to be a double-edged sword when one balloon fell into the hands of the Coalition along with its message that the defenders were running low on food. Chancel surrendered Condé, its surviving defenders and 103 artillery pieces on 12 July 1793. Coalition losses during the siege are unknown.
Jean Henri Becays Ferrand surrendered Valenciennes to the Coalition on 27 July 1793.At this point the Coalition allies made a deadly blunder. Having seized Condé and Valencienes, they had 118,000 troops concentrated at the gap in the fortress line. Instead, they split their forces. Their next targets were Dunkirk, invested on 24 August, and Le Quesnoy, invested on 28 August. The Siege of Le Quesnoy concluded successfully on 13 September but the Siege of Dunkirk was a failure.
The loss of Condé spelled the doom of then-current French commander Adam Philippe, Comte de Custine. Though popular in the army, Custine was called to Paris, arrested on 22 July and executed on 27 August 1793.Chancel was promoted to general of division on 11 September 1793 but he ultimately suffered the same fate as Custine. Chancel was second-in-command of the garrison during the Siege of Maubeuge. During the Battle of Wattignies, the 20,000-man garrison made an ineffective sortie on 15 October 1793 and was practically inert on the 16th as the battle still raged. After the French victory, Maubeuge was relieved but its defenders failed to pursue the retreating Coalition forces. The blame for the garrison's poor performance was laid on Chancel and he was condemned "with doubtful justice". Chancel died by the guillotine on 6 March 1794.
Condé was held by the Coalition until 29 August 1794 when Franz von Reyniac surrendered the fortress to Barthélemy Louis Joseph Schérer. The 1,500 Austrian defenders were paroled on the promise not to fight against France for one year. These included one battalion each from Infantry Regiments Joseph Colloredo Nr. 57 and Beaulieu Nr. 58, plus three companies from Esterhazy Nr. 34.
The Battle of Hondschoote took place during the Flanders Campaign of the Campaign of 1793 in the French Revolutionary Wars. It was fought during operations surrounding the Siege of Dunkirk between 6 and 8 September 1793 at Hondschoote, Nord, France, and resulted in a French victory under General Jean Nicolas Houchard and General Jean-Baptiste Jourdan against the command of Marshal Freytag, part of the Anglo-Hanoverian corps of the Duke of York.
The Battle of Wattignies saw a Republican French army commanded by Jean-Baptiste Jourdan attack a Coalition army directed by Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. After two days of combat Jourdan's troops compelled the Habsburg covering force led by François Sébastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt to withdraw. The War of the First Coalition victory allowed the French to raise the Siege of Maubeuge. At a time when failed generals were often executed or imprisoned, Jourdan had to endure interference from Lazare Carnot from the Committee of Public Safety. The village, renamed Wattignies-la-Victoire in honor of the important success, is located 9 kilometres (6 mi) southeast of Maubeuge.
The Battle of Jemappes took place near the town of Jemappes in Hainaut, Austrian Netherlands, near Mons during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. One of the first major offensive battles of the war, it was a victory for the armies of the infant French Republic, and saw the French Armée du Nord, which included many inexperienced volunteers, defeat a substantially smaller regular Austrian army.
The Battle of Neerwinden saw a Republican French army led by Charles François Dumouriez attack a Coalition army commanded by Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. The Coalition army of the Habsburg Monarchy together with a small contingent of allied Dutch Republic troops repulsed all French assaults after bitter fighting and Dumouriez conceded defeat, withdrawing from the field. The French position in the Austrian Netherlands swiftly collapsed, ending the threat to the Dutch Republic and allowing Austria to regain control of her lost province. The War of the First Coalition engagement was fought at Neerwinden, located 57 kilometres (35 mi) east of Brussels in present-day Belgium.
The French Revolutionary Wars began in April 1792.
Adam Philippe, Comte de Custine was a French general. As a young officer in the Bourbon Royal army, he served in the Seven Years' War. In the American Revolutionary War he joined Rochambeau's Expédition Particulière supporting the American colonists. Following the successful Virginia campaign and the Battle of Yorktown, he returned to France and rejoined his unit in the Royal Army.
The Army of the North or Armée du Nord is a name given to several historical units of the French Army. The first was one of the French Revolutionary Armies that fought with distinction against the First Coalition from 1792 to 1795. Others existed during the Peninsular War, the Hundred Days and the Franco-Prussian War.
The Battle of Famars was fought on 23 May 1793 during the Flanders Campaign of the War of the First Coalition. An Allied Austrian, Hanoverian, and British army under Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld defeated the French Army of the North led by François Joseph Drouot de Lamarche. The action occurred near the village of Famars in northern France, five km south of Valenciennes.
The Battle of Kaiserslautern saw a Coalition army under Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel oppose a Republican French army led by Lazare Hoche. Three days of conflict resulted in a victory by the Prussians and their Electoral Saxon allies as they turned back repeated French attacks. The War of the First Coalition combat was fought near the city of Kaiserslautern in the modern-day state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, which is located about 60 kilometres (37 mi) west of Mannheim.
Auguste Marie Henri Picot de Dampierre, styled the Marquis de Dampierre and usually known as Dampierre, was a French general during the time of the French Revolution. He served in many of the early battles of the French Revolutionary Wars, and was killed in action in 1793. For him, the name Dampierre is among those inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe.
The Flanders Campaign was conducted from 6 November 1792 to 7 June 1795 during the first years of the French Revolutionary Wars. A Coalition of states representing the Ancien Régime in Western Europe – Austria, Prussia, Great Britain, the Dutch Republic, Hanover and Hesse-Kassel – mobilised military forces along all the French frontiers, with the intention to invade Revolutionary France and end the French First Republic. The radicalised French revolutionaries, who broke the Catholic Church's power (1790), abolished the monarchy (1792) and even executed the deposed king Louis XVI of France (1793), vied to spread the Revolution beyond France's borders, by violent means if necessary.
The Siege of Lille saw a Republican French garrison under Jean-Baptiste André Ruault de La Bonnerie hold Lille against an assault by a Habsburg army commanded by Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen. Though the city was fiercely bombarded, the French successfully withstood the Austrian attack in the action. Because the Austrians were unable to completely encircle the city, the French were able to continuously send in reinforcements. After news of the French victory over the Prussians at Valmy, Albert withdrew his troops and siege cannons. The next battle was at Jemappes in November. The Column of the Goddess monument was completed in 1845 to commemorate the siege.
The Battle of Raismes took place on 8 May 1793, during the Flanders Campaign of the War of the First Coalition, between the French Republican army of the Marquis de Dampierre and the Allied Coalition army of the Prince of Saxe-Coburg, and resulted in a Coalition victory.
The Siege of Valenciennes took place between 13 June and 28 July 1793, during the Flanders Campaign of the War of the First Coalition. The French garrison under Jean Henri Becays Ferrand was blockaded by part of the army of Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, commanded by the Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. Valenciennes fell on 28 July, resulting in an Allied victory.
Jean Henri Becays Ferrand or Jean Marie Begais Ferrand de la Caussade became a French general officer early in the French Revolutionary Wars and led troops during two early actions. From a noble family, he was enrolled in the French Royal Army as an officer in the Normandie Infantry Regiment. At the age of ten, he fought at Lauffeld and Bergen op Zoom in the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1760 during the Seven Years' War, he was badly wounded at Kloster Kampen. For distinguished service, he was promoted to captain.
The Siege of Ypres saw a Republican French army commanded by Jean-Charles Pichegru invest the fortress of Ypres and its 7,000-man garrison composed of Habsburg Austrians under Paul von Salis and Hessians led by Heinrich von Borcke and Georg von Lengerke. French troops under Joseph Souham fended off three relief attempts by the corps of François Sébastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt. Meanwhile, the French besiegers led by Jean Victor Marie Moreau compelled the Coalition defenders to surrender the city. The fighting occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of the Wars of the French Revolution. In 1794 Ypres was part of the Austrian Netherlands, but today it is a municipality in Belgium, located about 120 kilometres (75 mi) west of Brussels.
The Siege of Le Quesnoy saw a force made up of Habsburg Austrians and French Royalists led by François Sébastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt lay siege to a Republican French garrison commanded by François Goullus. After two and a half week siege, the French capitulated after suffering heavy losses. The War of the First Coalition operation was fought at Le Quesnoy, located near the border with Belgium about 27 kilometres (17 mi) west of Maubeuge.
The Battle of Aldenhoven saw the Habsburg Austrian army commanded by Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld attack a Republican French force under René Joseph de Lanoue. The Austrians successfully crossed the Roer River and engaged in a cavalry charge led by Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen which routed the French and inflicted heavy losses. The War of the First Coalition battle occurred near Aldenhoven, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany located about 55 kilometres (34 mi) west of Cologne.
Pierre Raphaël Paillot de Beauregard led a French division at the Battle of Wattignies. A nobleman, he joined the French Royal Army as a cadet in 1755 and fought in the Seven Years' War. He became a lieutenant colonel in 1779, but two years later got into a dispute with a superior officer and was placed on inactive service. The French Revolution and the War of the First Coalition saved his career; he was promoted general of brigade in 1792. He led a 2,000-man column at Arlon in 1793 but irritated his army commander. After his 5,800-strong division performed poorly at Wattignies he was put in prison for 10 months. He was briefly employed again during the War in the Vendée in 1795 before retiring from military service in 1796.
Georg Wilhelm Baron von dem Bussche-Haddenhausen was a general officer of Hanoverian soldiers during the War of the First Coalition who famously led one of the Coalition columns at the Battle of Tourcoing. In 1743 he joined the Hanoverian military service and fought in the War of the Austrian Succession and Seven Years' War, fighting at Minden and Lutterberg. He led a battalion at Gibraltar in the American Revolutionary War. In the War of the First Coalition he led his soldiers at Valenciennes, Hondschoote, Mouscron, Tourcoing and Tournai. On 11 December 1794 while defending the Bommelerwaard in the Dutch Republic, his hand was taken off by a cannonball and he died shortly afterward.