Siege of Mainz (1793)

Last updated
Siege of Mainz
Part of the French Revolutionary War
Die Belagerung von 1793 a.jpg
Date14 April – 23 July 1793
Location Mainz, Republic of Mainz (present-day Germany)
Result German victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg France Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1750-1801).svg  Prussia
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg  Austria
Flag of Electoral Saxony.svg  Saxony
Flag of Hesse.svg Hesse-Kassel
Flag of Hesse.svg Hesse-Darmstadt
Palatinate Arms.svg Palatinate
Flag of Electoral Saxony.svg Saxe-Weimar
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg Ignace d'Oyré
Flag of France.svg Alexandre de Beauharnais
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1750-1801).svg Field Marshal von Kalckreuth
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1750-1801).svg Duke of Brunswick
Strength
23,000 men,
184 cannons
36,000 men,
207 cannons
Casualties and losses
4,000 killed or wounded 3,000 killed or wounded

In the Siege of Mainz (German : Belagerung von Mainz), from 14 April to 23 July 1793, a coalition of Prussia, Austria, and other German states besieged and captured Mainz from revolutionary French forces. The allies, especially the Prussians, first tried negotiations, but this failed, and the bombardment of the city began on the night of 17 June.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

Habsburg Monarchy former Central European empire (1526–1804)

The Habsburg Monarchy – also Habsburg Empire, Austrian Monarchy or Danube Monarchy – is an unofficial umbrella term among historians for the countries and provinces that were ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg between 1526 and 1780 and then by the successor branch of Habsburg-Lorraine until 1918. The Monarchy was a typical composite state composed of territories within and outside the Holy Roman Empire, united only in the person of the monarch. The dynastic capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague. From 1804 to 1867 the Habsburg Monarchy was formally unified as the Austrian Empire, and from 1867 to 1918 as the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Contents

Within the town the siege and bombardment led to stress between citizens, municipality and the French war council, governing since 2 April. The city administration was displaced on 13 July; this increased the stubbornness of the remaining population. Since a relief army was missing, the war council was forced to take up negotiations with the allied forces on 17 July; the remaining soldiers capitulated on 23 July.

Nearly 19,000 French troops surrendered at the end of the siege, but were allowed to return to France if they promised not to fight against the allies for one year. Consequently, they were used to fight French royalists in the Vendée region of France. They left the town singing La Marseillaise (also known as the Chant de guerre de l'Armée du Rhin ).

La Marseillaise national anthem of France

"La Marseillaise" is the national anthem of France. The song was written in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg after the declaration of war by France against Austria, and was originally titled "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin".

The Republic of Mainz, the first democratic state on the later German territory, was subsequently dissolved. Mainz received a Prussian commander to administer the city. The bombardment had left devastating traces in the townscape: some civil buildings and aristocratic palaces like the comedy house, the electoral pleasure palace Favorite, the House of the Cathedral Provost, Liebfrauen- and the church of Society of Jesus had been destroyed, as well as St. Crucis, the Benedictine abbey St. Jacob on the citadel and the remains of St. Alban's Abbey. The cathedral had been heavily damaged.

Republic of Mainz

The Republic of Mainz was the first democratic state on the current German territory and was centered in Mainz. A product of the French Revolutionary Wars, it lasted from March to July 1793.

Democracy system of government in which citizens vote directly in or elect representatives to form a governing body, sometimes called "rule of the majority"

Democracy is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a representative democracy the citizens elect representatives from among themselves. These representatives meet to form a governing body, such as a legislature. In a constitutional democracy the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority, usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech, or freedom of association. "Rule of the majority" is sometimes referred to as democracy. Democracy is a system of processing conflicts in which outcomes depend on what participants do, but no single force controls what occurs and its outcomes.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

The biggest impact of the occupation and siege was that the city's part in the old imperial electoral structure finally came to their end. Thus the events of the year 1793 also marked the end of Aurea Moguntia, the Latin nickname for the city: "Golden Mainz". The city lost its status as the electoral residence.

The shelling of Mainz was widely discussed in Europe. Many people gathered round the town in order to view the siege. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe assisted Duke Carl August of Saxe-Weimar during the siege and wrote a famous book about it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 18th/19th-century German writer, artist, and politician

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His works include four novels; epic and lyric poetry; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; and treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour. In addition, there are numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him extant.

Saxe-Weimar duchy

Saxe-Weimar was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in present-day Thuringia. The chief town and capital was Weimar. The Weimar branch was the most genealogically senior extant branch of the House of Wettin.

Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow Prussian general of the Napoleonic Wars

Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow, Graf von Dennewitz was a Prussian general of the Napoleonic Wars.

Carl von Clausewitz German-Prussian soldier and military theorist

Carl Philipp Gottfriedvon Clausewitz was a Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the "moral" and political aspects of war. His most notable work, Vom Kriege, was unfinished at his death. Clausewitz was a realist in many different senses and, while in some respects a romantic, also drew heavily on the rationalist ideas of the European Enlightenment.

Heinrich von Kleist German poet, dramatist, novelist and short story writer

Bernd Heinrich Wilhelm von Kleist was a German poet, dramatist, novelist, short story writer and journalist. His best known works are the theatre plays Das Käthchen von Heilbronn, The Broken Jug, Amphitryon, Penthesilea and the novellas Michael Kohlhaas and The Marquise of O. Kleist committed suicide together with a close female friend who was terminally ill.

Related Research Articles

Franco-Prussian War significant conflict pitting the Second French Empire against the Kingdom of Prussia and its allies

The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire and later the Third French Republic, and the German states of the North German Confederation led by the Kingdom of Prussia. Lasting from 19 July 1870 to 28 January 1871, the conflict was caused by Prussian ambitions to extend German unification and French fears of the shift in the European balance of power that would result if the Prussians succeeded. Some historians argue that the Prussian chancellor Otto von Bismarck deliberately provoked the French into declaring war on Prussia in order to draw the independent southern German states—Baden, Württemberg, Bavaria and Hesse-Darmstadt—into an alliance with the North German Confederation dominated by Prussia, while others contend that Bismarck did not plan anything and merely exploited the circumstances as they unfolded. None, however, dispute the fact that Bismarck must have recognized the potential for new German alliances, given the situation as a whole.

Helmuth von Moltke the Elder German Field Marshal

Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke was a German field marshal. The chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years, he is regarded as the creator of a new, more modern method of directing armies in the field. He is described as embodying "Prussian military organization and tactical genius." He is often referred to as Moltke the Elder to distinguish him from his nephew Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke, who commanded the German Army at the outbreak of World War I.

Antoni Radziwiłł German general

Prince Antoni Henryk Radziwiłł was a Polish and Prussian noble, aristocrat, musician and politician. Initially a hereditary Duke of Nieśwież and Ołyka, as a scion of the Radziwiłł family he also held the honorific title of a Reichsfürst of the Holy Roman Empire. Between 1815 and 1831 he acted as Duke-Governor of the Grand Duchy of Posen, an autonomous province of the Kingdom of Prussia created out of Greater Polish lands annexed in the Partitions of Poland.

Siege of Paris (1870–71) Siege during the Franco-Prussian War

The Siege of Paris, lasting from 19 September 1870 to 28 January 1871, and the consequent capture of the city by Prussian forces, led to French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the establishment of the German Empire as well as the Paris Commune.

Army of the North (France)

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.

Siege of Strasbourg

The Siege of Strasbourg took place during the Franco-Prussian War, and resulted in the French surrender of the fortress on 28 September 1870.

Battle of Mainz battle

The Battle of Mainz saw a Habsburg Austrian army led by François Sebastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt launch a surprise assault against four divisions of the French Army of Rhin-et-Moselle directed by François Ignace Schaal. The right-hand French division fled the battlefield, compelling the other three divisions to retreat with the loss of their siege artillery and many casualties. The War of the First Coalition action was fought near the city of Mainz in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.

Bogislav Friedrich Emanuel von Tauentzien German general

Bogislav Friedrich Emanuel Graf Tauentzien von Wittenberg was a Prussian general of the Napoleonic Wars.

Principality of Erfurt Napoleonic fief in Germany, 1807–1814

The Principality of Erfurt was a small state in modern Thuringia, Germany, that existed from 1807 to 1814, comprising the modern city of Erfurt and the surrounding land. It was subordinate directly to Napoleon, the Emperor of the French, rather than being a part of the Confederation of the Rhine. After nearly 3 months of siege, the city fell to Prussian, Austrian and Russian forces. Having mainly been Prussian territory before the Napoleonic Wars, most of the lands were restored to Prussia by the Congress of Vienna.

Georg Melchior Kraus was a German painter. A student of Johann Heinrich Tischbein, he was also a teacher himself, as well as an entrepreneur and friend of Goethe. He was a co-founder of the Fürstliche freie Zeichenschule Weimar with Friedrich Justin Bertuch in 1776.

The Army of the Moselle was a French Revolutionary Army from 1791 through 1795. It was first known as the Army of the Centre and it fought at Valmy. In October 1792 it was renamed and subsequently fought at Trier, First Arlon, Biesingen, Kaiserslautern, Froeschwiller and Second Wissembourg. In the spring of 1794 the left wing was detached and fought at Second Arlon, Lambusart and Fleurus before being absorbed by the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse. In late 1794, the army captured Trier and initiated the Siege of Luxembourg. During the siege, the army was discontinued and its divisions were assigned to other armies.

Army of Mainz military unit

The Army of Mainz or Army of Mayence was a French Revolutionary Army set up on 9 December 1797 by splitting the Army of Germany into the Army of Mayence and the Army of the Rhine. Part of it split off on 4 February 1799 to form the Army of Observation, though part of that army then re-merged as the Army of Mayence on 28 March that year. The remainder formed the Army of the Danube. In 1793, the French soldiers captured in the Siege of Mainz were paroled by the Prussians with the promise not to fight against the First Coalition for one year. As their parole conditions did not prohibit them from fighting French rebels in the interior, the troops were sent to fight in the War in the Vendée under the unofficial name "Army of Mayence". This body was absorbed into the Army of the West on 6 October 1793.

In the First Battle of Wissembourg an Allied army commanded by Dagobert Sigmund von Wurmser attacked the French Army of the Rhine under Jean Pascal Carlenc. After an ineffectual resistance, the French army abandoned its fortified line behind the Lauter River and retreated toward Strasbourg in confusion. This engagement of the War of the First Coalition occurred on the eastern border of France about 60 kilometres (37 mi) north of Strasbourg.

Ernst von Rüchel German general

Ernst von Rüchel was a Prussian general who led an army corps in a crushing defeat by Napoleon at the Battle of Jena on 14 October 1806. He commanded troops from the Kingdom of Prussia in several battles during the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793 and 1794. Afterward he held various appointments as a diplomat and a military inspector. In 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars he held an important army command but has been criticized for his actions at Jena. Wounded, he managed to escape the French pursuit, but never commanded troops in combat again.

Capitulation of Erfurt

In the Capitulation of Erfurt on 16 October 1806 a large body of troops from the Kingdom of Prussia under Lieutenant General the Prince of Orange surrendered to Marshal Joachim Murat of France, at the city of Erfurt. The Prussian soldiers were demoralized by their shattering defeat at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt on 14 October and unwilling to put up much resistance. The event occurred during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Erfurt is located on the Gera River about 40 kilometers west of Jena.

Siege of Magdeburg (1806)

The siege of Magdeburg was a siege of the city that took place from 25 October to 8 November 1806 during the war of the Fourth Coalition. A French force, initially under the command of Marshal Grand Duke of Berg Joachim Murat, then a French army Corps under the command of Marshal Michel Ney laid siege and eventually obtained the surrender of Franz Kasimir von Kleist's Prussian force that had taken refuge in Magdeburg, Prussia's second city.

Jean René Moreaux French general

Jean René Moreaux commanded the French Army of the Moselle during the French Revolutionary Wars. He joined the French Royal Army in 1776 and was badly wounded in the American Revolutionary War two years later. After leaving military service, he married and took over the family business. At the time of the French Revolution he was elected second in command of a volunteer battalion. He was rapidly promoted, emerging as a general officer in May 1793. After another promotion, he led a corps at Pirmasens and a division at Wissembourg. He was appointed commander of the Army of the Moselle in June 1794. In November he was sent with three divisions to invest the fortress of Luxembourg. He caught a fever and died during the Siege of Luxembourg. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe.

The Siege of Landau saw a corps from the Kingdom of Prussia commanded by Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen lay siege to a 3,800-man French Republican garrison led by Joseph Marie Tennet de Laubadère. Since the Prussians lacked siege cannons, they tried to starve the French defenders into surrender by blockading the city. In late December, the French Army of the Moselle under Lazare Hoche and Army of the Rhine under Jean-Charles Pichegru defeated the Coalition armies opposed to them, forcing the Prussians to raise the War of the First Coalition siege.

Siege of Mainz (1792) short episode at the beginning of the First Coalition, for the victorious French army of Custine

The siege of Mainz was a short episode at the beginning of the First Coalition, for the victorious French army of Custine who seized the town October 21, 1792, after three days of siege. The French occupied Mainz, and tried to install the Republic of Mainz there.

Rudolf Eickemeyer French military engineer

Jean Marie Rodolphe Eickemeyer, also called Heinrich Maria Johann Rudolf Eickemeyer, was an engineer, mathematician, and general of the French Revolutionary Wars. He was born on 11 March 1753 in Mainz, and died 9 September 1825 in Gau-Algesheim, a town in the Mainz-Bingen district of present-day Rhineland-Palatinate.

References

Coordinates: 50°00′00″N8°16′16″E / 50.0000°N 8.2711°E / 50.0000; 8.2711